One thing is for sure about the Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia, South Carolina in June: it's hot. Blazing, body is a constant puddle of sweat, clothes are not dry, hot.
And when it's hot and you're at the zoo, with all of its zooey smells...
The Ropko clan met our Charleston folks (with their two children, 11 and 3) at the zoo at 10:30am. We were there for four and a half hours, which is stunning. I didn't think we'd last for three.
We went to the potty multiple times. We chased down wayward children. We ate a picnic lunch. We rode the train. The kids got in and out of the wagons, repeatedly. The kids complained about wanting things, needing things, and not getting what we needed or wanted. And I think, I think, we saw some animals.
And really, every time I took a look at the animals, I felt incredibly sad and somewhat guilty. Don't worry, I really don't have an opinion one way or the other about zoos and their rightness or wrongness in our world, but maybe I do. The flamingos seemed lethargic. Most of them weren't even perched on one leg, they just seemed to be lying in a murky pool of water, their pink feathers diminished of any vibrancy whatsoever. The lions seemed bored. The grizzly had totally given up. And the monkeys didn't have a bit of spunk about them. (Although Mark claims to have a couple of them engage in a physical tryst, but I missed that little show.)
Riding the teeny-tiny train was a big hit for all the kiddies (and mamas), but I'm thinking the small choo-choo compartments put us over the edge in terms of being pretty well done with that sweat box of a ride.
We meandered our way through the barnyard area, where Heath milked a pretend cow. Stella gave a goat a gentle pat on the back, moved on to a hen house where she became a bit territorial and gave a child a bit of a gentle shove. The mother of the shovee grabbed Stella's arm, gave her a firm No, ma'am. And as I swooping in to hopefully salvage the exchange, Stella got out her vampire teeth and moved in for the bloody kill. I got her up before she could take a chunk out of any body part. Got an excellent What's wrong with your child? glare. We exchanged some words. (I will say I was relatively polite. She was relatively not.) But she moved on before a barnyard rumble could really take place.
And just when you think it was going to be a friendly visit to the zoo between old friends, it seems that it was much, much more for Heath. Our friend's lovely eleven year old was followed around by Heath like a love-struck puppy. She let him jabber on about the weather and front loaders and dumpsters and pottys and anything else that crossed his mind. She let him sit beside her during our picnic lunch. She let him hold her hand (I mean, hold hands. He NEVER wants to hold hands. With anyone. Ever.)
And he was thrilled that they followed behind us and came back to Whistlestop Road.
What on earth will we get into tomorrow? For now, it looks like we're getting into the ice cream.
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- ▼ June (29)