Minnesota winters are tough. Below zero temps, whiteout snowfalls, and a wind that cuts right through even the puffiest puffer coat make it tough to get out of the house – let alone with a baby in tow. But every single time I make the effort, I find it’s completely worth it. Particularly if I stop at a Starbucks along the way.
For my challenge, I chose number 37, Visit a Pet Store, except my son, Eli and I visited a place you can’t purchase any animals from – the Minnesota Zoo. (So really, I did Activity #193, Meet a Monkey at the Zoo.)
A friend of mine has a family pass, and she can bring one additional adult for free, and kiddos under age two are free as well, so we thought it’d be fun to get together on a random Monday morning to check out the indoor parts of the Zoo.
Eli is nine months old, and of course the morning of our zoo visit, he woke up about an hour earlier than his usual wake-up time. Because my little ticking time bomb only has about two and a half hours of max wake time between naps, I knew we were in for a tired – and probably fussy – morning.
I didn’t want to change our plans, although I definitely considered it because a tired and fussy baby is never any fun, but I knew it’d be worth it for me and Eli to get out of the house, even if we just spent 10 minutes at the Zoo. After all, it was free.
When we arrived, I could tell Eli was excited. He loves looking and touching – well, everything – and I could already hear him oooo’ing and grunting with excitement as soon as we walked in. My friend has a two-year old and a five-month old, so we stopped at a lot of the exhibits to let the two-year old run around and point at the animals. Each time, I’d push Eli right up to the front of the viewing area so he could get a good look at everything that was moving around. And at a few exhibits, I’d pull him out of his stroller so he could get a better look at everything, touching the trees and beating on the railings. At one point, he was craning his neck and back so much, I nearly dropped him right into the Komodo dragon exhibit.
By the end of it, Eli was pretty tired and he has a really tough time falling asleep in his stroller – so I knew a nap wasn’t happening while we were out. While I was planning on staying about two hours at the zoo, we only spent an hour and fifteen minutes. (And I had to use LOTS of crackers and cheese to buy me those additional fifteen minutes!) I wanted to stay and catch up with my friend – because conversations with kids take at least six times as long as normal – but I knew I needed to get him home for a nap.
Of course, he fell asleep in the car ride home, which meant he had a fifteen minute power nap that made him think he was no longer tired once we got home – but that’s another matter – it was still worth it. My friend and I plan to make it a regular thing and as Eli gets older, I know he’ll love it more and more each time – plus it’s free. Gotta take advantage of generous friends while you can, right?
Related post: Marry your friend for a museum membership
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