Taking MY Animals To Visit THEIR Animals...

After our "relaxing" day, we were ready to hit the road running on Day 2 in San Diego! The plan we had come up for was a visit to the San Diego Zoo. Touted as one of the BEST zoos in the states, it was a "must" for our little varmints and I must admit that young and old alike were super excited to get there.

Getting there...now THAT was the first challenge of the day. The baby was dressed, we were dressed, diaper bags, cameras, bottled water, snacks...ALL were ready to hit the road when...the phone started ringing. I have grown accustomed to this "phone factor" and can truly say that it doesn't bother me as much as it did in the beginning. Being a small business owner, we take our business along with us EVERYWHERE we go via cell phones and computers...it's just a part of doing business. So, as we entertained Parker Ann and waited around for Robby and Justin to finish their business calls, the "natives" became restless...well, ONE "native" in particular; Ryan. Tired of waiting around, he began playing the grand piano in the living room. Don't think that would be a problem? Did I fail to mention that he does NOT play the piano? NOW you see my little problem. He was playing (banging...) the piano, I was telling him to STOP, Mimi was telling him he was making his Pa-Paw's blood pressure go up...and HE was laughing and flailing his head around saying, "This is how Stevie Wonder got his start, Mom". OH MY GOSH!!! I had to do something FAST! I walked outside to see if Robby was finishing up with his call and began easing him toward the door. FINALLY we all got loaded up and started down the road toward The San Diego Zoo.

Once on the road, the phone rang again, Robby answered it and THAT'S when we realized that we did NOT know where we were heading! Throwing Caitlin the i-pad, Robby motioned for her to find the directions to the zoo. I was frantically looking for the address in my Frommer's as Robby was bobbing and weaving through traffic and eventually pulled over to stop(in a TURNING LANE...) to wait for the directions to come up. Up they came and we were on our way again. I'm here to tell you...THAT WAS A SCARY RIDE on the freeway. A business deal might have been ironed out, but we almost were too!

One of the reasons the race was on to get to the zoo quickly was because w had to rent a scooter for my father-in-law. He was recovering from heat exhaustion and, although the weather was cool, he could not exert himself. When we called to reserve one, we were told that they were on a first come first serve basis. We had ordered our tickets online for a couple of reasons: they could be picked up at a kiosk and we wouldn't have to stand in line AND we got a discount. After the tickets had all been passed out, we ran around the corner to find the scooter rentals. We made it! He got his scooter and we were ready to roll now!

The San Diego Zoo is FABULOUS!  The trail leading to each habitat is lined with trees and plants of all varieties and the climate is so mild that one can actually spend an entire day wandering through it without becoming uncomfortable.  What was MY favorite part?...WHY the panda bears, of course!  As a young child, I had a stuffed panda bear (that I STILL have...).  Apparently, it was one of my favorite toys, because his fur appears to be worn.  I had never seen a "real" panda bear, so this was something that I was really looking forward to.  We made it through the line and even took a family photograph where the pandas were cropped into the background with us.  Upon entering their habitat, I had to remind myself that this WAS California as the lady regaling us with information about the pandas began to speak.  One VERY IMPORTANT thing to her was that we keep our voices very low (although there was construction going on right next door...) because the pandas were not used to the tone of our voices.  They recognized hers since she had been working with them for the past 15 years.  Hmmm...THIS might be a problem with my BIG, FAT LOUD FAMILY; I hope we didn't get thrown out of the panda exhibit!  With only a few "loud moments" and Parker crying, we were able to view those pandas.  They were very pretty...and I must say, didn't seem to be bothered by our voices (but what do I know...I'm not a "panda expert").  Next, I wanted to see MORE BEARS...The Polar ones!

Somehow things got a little mixed up at this point since my father-in-law's scooter couldn't make it up the escalator.  Robby walked with him around an alternate way, while we went straight up the side of the mountain to see the polar bears.  Boy was I glad that we didn't have to WALK up that incline!  Just as we reached the top, someone's phone rang.  Robby and his dad could not get to where we were, so we needed to come down and meet them.  Justin led the way.  And THAT was the mistake we made...letting him be the leader; Ryan told him that his privilege had been revoked.  OH, we followed him alright.  Down the side of the mountain and halfway around the park to find them.  THEN, we realized (after Ryan got his map out...) that we could have just walked around the corner to meet them.  Huffing and puffing and out of breath, we stopped for lunch.  THEN we saw the polar bears!  They were awesome!  Huge and white and oh so playful.  It had been a full day and we were ALL ready to head back home.

Robby prepared a wonderful dinner (OK...so you've noticed that he does all the cooking?  He's SO much better at it than I am...) and we gathered around the huge dining table for dinner.  For some strange reason, my tummy just wasn't feeling it and I could only eat a couple of bites of my food.  Afterwards, when I felt a little better, I wandered down to find something to eat.  Caitlin was in the kitchen preparing creme brulee' for the next evening's dessert.  Almost EVERYONE ended up around the counter watching (and assisting..) her.  All the "real" food had been eaten and all that I found to eat was a huge pan of brownies.  OK...so, brownies are a pretty good dinner if I may say so!

At the end of the evening as we all retired to our respective rooms, I could feel the slight pain of most likely the beginning of shin splints...could one get those down by their ankles too?  Oh well, Robby and I talked about our plans for Day 3 as we laid there.  It should prove to be another "Fun in the Sun Day"...I couldn't wait!

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