Pud and I were reading last night and looking at animal pictures and we realized that we hadn’t been to the zoo for awhile. When I said, “hey, we haven’t seen our giraffe friends in awhile. Should we go visit tomorrow?” he said, “Ja!” (yes), so we got up and headed over there this morning, and I asked him, “who do you want to see first? Giraffes, tigers, bears, gorillas?” “giraffes!” he signed. We spent probably 30 minutes with his giraffe friends, especially Amani and her mom, and watching the keeper clean the stalls so they could all go outside. I think he could have stayed longer, but frankly- Mama’s allergic to alfalfa and hay, which they were getting for breakfast. By the time he was ready to go, my throat was getting pretty scratchy…

I asked Pud if he wanted to see the tigers, elephants, or bears next, and he signed bears, so we spent 45 minutes watching and interacting with Qannik the baby polar bear as she played in the big pool. At one point she snuck up out of the water right into his face and surprised him- he was definitely startled & stared to cry and look to me for reassurance, so I said, “oh my goodness! What a surprise! Qannik, you startled us, you silly bear!” and he started to laugh, so the next time she pulled that trick, he jumped but he laughed and reached his hand out palm up towards her. I have been working with him on this move- safe ways to say hi to dogs- so I laughed and said, “thanks doing remembering to put your hand out! Such good manners. But even though Qannik looks like she would be so much fun to play with and pet, she is very big and strong and has sharp teeth and claws, so we couldn’t play with her in there…”

and mental note: time to start teaching him “Make like a tree” when strange animals approach

Then, we spent 45 minutes relaxing with the gorillas, after stopping by to say hello to the Amur tiger (he just learned to sign “tiger” this weekend). When we got in there and sat with a snack of crackers, Taki (a female) came right up to us & we were eyeball-to-eyeball for a good minute. We showed her our snack, which satisfied her curiosity, so she got herself some celery and sauntered off to munch, which left space for Helen to come hang out by us and take a nap on her back with her legs crossed and propped against the glass/wall- just like Pud & I do! He thought that was funny.

The best times to hang out at the zoo are when it’s cool and/or rainy. It’s these times that you really get to spend time learning who’s who and what each animal likes/doesn’t like! so thankful to have a membership.