Saturday, April 11

Easter at the Zoo

Abby's birthday fell on Easter Sunday this year, which she thought was pretty special. Gramie often visits us for Easter, so it was great that she could be here for Abby's birthday too this time around. Our kids rarely have extended family present to help celebrate their birthdays, so it's always a special treat to have one of them with us.

Since Abby loves the zoo and we haven't been for quite about a year, we decided to buy another membership and take her to the zoo for her birthday. Though it was forecasted to rain, we managed to see what we wanted to and were just leaving as the rain begain to fall.

It was more crowded than when we usually go, but we still managed to have a good time and saw all the animals Abby wanted to see. Because it was Easter weekend, the zoo had special "Easter" activities planned, both for the people and for the animals.

We got to the Sun Bears just in time to see them come out and hunt for the Easter eggs the keepers had put out for them. They had filled them with something mixed with honey, and the bears loved it! They aren't very big bears, and they looked so cute holding the eggs with all four paws.

After visiting the stinky penguins (always a must for Abby), we headed to the ampitheatre at the heart of the zoo. They were having candy hunts on the grass for the kids, so the kids got in line to wait their turn, which turned out to be just a few minutes.

We didn't come prepared with Easter baskets like many of the kids did, but the zoo gave us bags and loaned Ryan a basket to use during his hunt.

The zoo volunteers entertained the kids while they waited for the hunt to begin. One told jokes and stories and another had them do warm-up exercises, but all of them seemed to be enjoying interacting with the kids.

Finally, the hunt began, and it lasted all of about 30 seconds. The candy was gone in the blink of an eye! I had to laugh when I looked at my pictures later, I was hurriedly trying to get pictures of both kids, but all the boys in Ryan's group were wearing a red jacket and I snapped photos of the wrong boy.

After the candy hunt we registered to win the contest to be able to hide Easter eggs for the elephants. Abby was so hoping we'd win because the elephants are one of her favorite exhibits, but we didn't win so we contented ourselves with just watching the new baby elephant and his mom for a while. Isn't he cute?

After watching the elephants for a while we decided to snack on some elephant ears. So while Daddy waited in line, the kids played on the grass for a bit and Gramie helped keep them entertained.

As we were walking past the polar bears we noticed that they were going to be giving them their Easter treat soon, so we decided to hold our front row seats so we could watch the whole thing. We waited for about 20 minutes, but it was worth it. They set up the whole habitat with hidden eggs, fish treats, large stuffed rabbits, and even Peeps!

We definitely chose the best window to watch from. The whole show took place right in front of us. The bears wasted no time finding all the goodies, and we were amazed at how gently they lifted the Peeps right out of the box. They are such powerful animals, but they can be very gentle if they want to.

Of course we also saw how easily they tore up the props too! Their paws are enormous, and they moved huge logs around like it was matchwood.

After the polar bears we decided to start heading back to the parking lot. We took a couple of side trips on the way out though. The kids were dying to play in the barn, so we let them jump on the hay bales and play on the tractor for a bit before walking up the hill to see the black bears and eagles.

We've never seen the eagles in the closest nest before, so it was neat to see them only a few feet from us. They are huge and gorgeous birds!

The last bear we saw had apparently eaten too many Peeps and was crashed out next to his stuffed rabbit!

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