Friday, October 2, 2009

The growing vocabulary

We made a run to the Minnesota Zoo today. I had finally gotten free passes at the library and decided today is as good as any to go. It is cold and rainy but most of the exhibits are indoors so it is the perfect way to spend a yucky day.

I have fond memories of going out there with Jake in the winter to get out of the house. We would go to the dolphin show and eat our little lunch while we watched a really great show. Then go through the tropics trail where we would see lots of fun animals and then literally run through the Minnesota trail because part of that was open to the outdoors and we had put our coats in a locker.

So Isabelle and I headed out and I had her all excited to see a big dolphin show. As I am walking in I mention this to the ticket desk who informs me they no longer do dolphin shows because the dolphins are too old and the newer dolphins are too young. They don't know when they will be bringing them back. OK we were still able to look at the dolphins.
Then off to the tropics trail to see all the old animals. Well turns out they are completely remodeling this part of the zoo and so most of the animals I was used to seeing were gone and half the trail was closed for remodeling. I was starting to feel a little down on the zoo and glad I got in free. But then we got to the Minnesota trail which has already been remodeled. It was fantastic. Still open to the outside so it will be a run in the winter but I felt warm and relaxed as we walked the trail.
This is the raccoon display. There is a little log cabin front and an old metal garbage can which one was actually sitting on top of when we walked up. Can you see him on top of the wood pile? Sorry the picture is so bad. I don't understand my camera and think I accidentally changed the setting and couldn't figure out how to fix it.

That was a hour and I was ready to head home. We sat down for a snack but Isabelle insisted we walk the outdoor trails. I told her it was raining but she went out the door and announced it had stopped. I did dress warm and had my gloves in the bag so I agreed to head into the wet cold and see a few animals.

We headed around and saw a few cool exhibits, tiger, coyotes, moose and played on the indoor farm exhibit(although I didn't walk all the way out to the farm).

Finally the drizzle is starting to pick up a bit and I am trying to power back and right before we return to the building is a whole new outdoor exhibit that is again fantastic. Otters, Grizzly Bears and others. I couldn't help but slow down to see them.

Eventually we made it back to the main building and back home. What started out as a ho hum zoo experience definitely improved and has me looking forward to many years of hanging out at the zoo with Isabelle and getting to know the new animals and the new exhibits they are creating.

OK so that is the overview of the experience. But there has to be a couple cute stories with a 4 year old. Today seemed to be about vocabulary and outside education. So we see an aquarium with a bunch of turtles in it which she is excited about. All of the sudden a turtle floats by and she says, "OH! Look! It's a painted turtle!" (she says everything in an exclamation, she is 4) I look down and sure enough that is the kind of turtle it is. "How did you know that?", I ask. She learned it at the Nature Center. Oh yes I do recall something about you looking at turtles in your little class last week. OK money well spent, that $7 has equipped my child with the name of a very common Minnesota turtle. Pat myself on the back.

Then we are looking at the grizzly exhibit. It is very nice and they have a few fake volcanoes steaming and then water shoots out of a hole. "Look! A Geyser!" OK the name of the painted turtle was impressive but Geyser? Where would you learn that? So I ask her and she tells me she learned it from the show "Ruff Ruffman" on PBS. Of course, where else would you learn that kind of random information when you are 4? Should I pat myself on the back for letting her watch TV? Then she says to me, "what's a geyser?" She can use it correctly in a sentence and yet still has no idea what it is. Yep she is a smarty.

you can see the geyser in the background of this photo.

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