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Monday, June 9, 2014

We went to the Zoo...

Eight weeks have come and gone and it's time for me to head back to work.  Thankfully my Dad Boss was kind enough to allow to spend an extra two weeks at home with my family before officially jumping back into the whole "Working Mama" thing.  We've been working hard trying to finish up some projects and spend as much quality time together as we can before Monday rolls around!  Soooo…..we decided to go to the Zoo.

Yes, the Zoo.  

With a two year old and a one month old.

In June.

In 85 degree Midwest humidity.  

I'm pleased to report, that it was MORE than a success!  I did some major planning before hand.  We wanted to keep things budget friendly, comfortable for the baby and fun for the toddler!

The plan was to prepare lunches, snacks and plenty of water and drinks the night before.  I had my cooler ready to be loaded by the fridge.  The diaper bag was packed and ready.  All of our clothes were set out.  Breakfast was prepared, in the fridge and ready to eat on the go.  We basically had to wake up, feed Baby G, load the truck and hit the road.

I made sandwiches, bagged chips, froze water bottles, had ice bags ready, fruit chews, cheese sticks, fruit, candy bars, and any other possible snack the hubby, toddler or baby might need!

I was prepared.  
Very prepared.  
Or so I thought…..

Have I ever told y'all that we make some good sleeping babies!?!?  KNOCK ON WOOD. 

Like clockwork, Guthrie goes to sleep around 9PM and wakes up around 6AM every. single. day.

My plan was to use Guthrie as my alarm clock, as I have every day for the past 7 weeks, feed her, load the cooler and bags, get dressed, wake up Paisley and head to the Zoo. All in that order.

So, it's Zoo day and I've prepared my butt off the night before.

Morning comes.

I hear Guthrie start to move around so I roll over and glance at the clock.

It said 8:12.


Don't start judging, y'all!  I absolutely refuse to complain about my 7 week old baby sleeping for 11 hours straight!  Not gonna happen.  That sweet girl is is a Godsend and I know how lucky and blessed we are! 

Sleep away, Baby G!

So we continued with the plan.  Fed Guthrie, packed the bags, got dressed, loaded the truck and hit the road.  Two hours behind schedule.

It was 10 AM.

We live two hours from the Zoo.

We stopped for gas and grabbed some fuel for Mama and Daddy, too!

We arrived at the Zoo, found parking and loaded the big ol' double stroller.

We walked into the Zoo.  
It was 12 PM.  
Time for lunch.

Then….finally…it was time to check out some animals!!!

We started with an animal show which Paisley really, really wanted to participate in….

We rode the train…

Stopped for Dip N Dots regardless of the fact that I had packed every snack ever created....

Checked out more animals...

Took a few naps….

And then....

a big ol' animal took a dump right in front of her precious little eyes!

and, "Mama! It was yucky!!!"

Oh..that face...

The face of a successful zoo trip.  Poo Poo and all. 

Charlie and I were so pleased with the day's success, that we even treated ourselves to a beer! 

Here's our best "Zoo on a budget, with two young kids" tips!: 
  • Pack your own lunch, snacks and drinks
  • Don't pay to park, if possible.  Our zoo has free parking in numerous places around the zoo entrances.  
  • Arrive earlier than we did to get better, closer, free parking!
  • Check out the Zoo website before you go and know your potential expenses and savings.  We bought safari passes which were $12 each.  That let us ride the train and the carousel as many times as we wanted, plus passes into the children's zoo, movie, 4-D simulator and stingray exhibit. All of those things were $3-$5 per person, otherwise. And, considering Paisley rode the carousel about 175 times, we came out ahead for sure.
  • Grab a map once you arrive and plan out your day.  You don't want to make the trip only to see half the zoo and walk in circles all day.
  • We even saved money on gas by using our Kroger Card points and scoring $0.40 off a gallon!
  • Take sunscreen and bug spray! 
  • Take breaks.
  • Take your time.
  • Allow your kids to truly take in every moment.  Even the poo-poo ones!
  • Don't keep the little one strapped down to the stroller the ENTIRE time.  Let them explore.  This also means you will need to take turns chasing them.
  • HAVE FUN!!!

We had such a great day!  We laughed till we cried and made some really great memories!  

And, Paisley is still talking about the stinky poo-poo….

What budget friendly, kid-friendly trips do y'all have planned this summer!?! We'd love to hear your tips and tricks to making them successful!  

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