Then Bret came home Thursday afternoon to speak at a youth event in Granbury, planning to spend the long weekend with us. And then as he drove home, several phonecalls came in and it became apparent that a long weekend at home was not going to be possible. He was going to have to head back north early the next morning. We had all been looking forward to the long weekend at home and were really bummed - until we realized that THIS was our perfect chance.
So we went to the youth event, got home late, stayed up even later getting everyone packed and ready to go, got up early the next morning, and began heading north on 35. The boys were really, really excited to get to see Oklahoma City, where Daddy had been spending so much time. Especially Conner and Micah, since they had just driven through OK on the way to Illinois with Yogi and BooBoo. (Where they had proposed to "just drive all around the whole state until we find Daddy.")
Driving into OKC was very exciting - there were lots of skyscrapers. I don't know what was so different about these from the FW and Dallas ones, but apparently they were quite a bit more impressive. (Micah was very concerned - "Does the sky need a band-aid?")Bret took us into his apartment, introduced us to his roommates, and showed us around. Hands down, the boys' favorite part of the apartment was (Bret's roommates') inflatable chairs.Then we got to see some of the roofs he had been working on...and then sadly, we were reminded that this was not a just-for-fun vacation and Bret had to get started on his work.
...So the boys and I went to the Oklahoma City Zoo! We were very pleased to find out that the OKC Zoo is the proud home of a brand-new, really cool children's zoo. There was, of course, a great petting zoo. One of my few complaints about the Fort Worth Zoo is the lack of a good petting zoo. So even as much as we go to the zoo, this was a rare treat! There was also a little water garden that the kids got to play in - and yes, even though I wasn't prepared with extra clothes and such I let them get just as wet as they wanted to. :)
Love that pic.
There was also a walk-in parakeet feeding/petting place and a special section to view underground animals - underground. The boys got to go down a big slide to get down there, and then climb rope ladders to get out. (The stroller and I used the ramp.)After that, we decided that we would make our way to Aquaticus, the aqauarium. We were on a bit of a time crunch, so we figured that we could stop and look at the things we passed, go through the aquarium, and then it would probably be time to go.
If you were to enlarge that picture of us at the front entrance of the zoo, you would see that it proudly states that they've been there since 1904. So when we got to the herpetarium (reptile house), one of the boys' favorite parts of the FW Zoo - especially since they recently opened their impresseive Museum of Living Art - I tried to warn them.
Yes, it's the reptile house. Yes, you love reptile houses. Yes, it's got snakes and lizards. But I promise you, it won't be as cool as the MOLA. Are you sure you want to spend our time going in here? Wouldn't you rather go see some things that we don't always get to see?
Mom, we want to go in here!
I gave in...and the boys weren't disappointed at all. Apparently a snake is a snake and a lizard is a lizard no matter how you package it. Even Joey, who often has a hard time finding whatever it is we're looking for had a great time. In fact, his favorite reptile was a stick that he was convinced was actually a snake that he had found all by himself. :)
I, however, did not think it was very cool. Quite the opposite, in fact. Apparently this buiding had been there since around the time of the birth of the zoo itself...and there was no a/c. It was soooooo hot! The boys didn't seem bothered, but it felt like every bit of the water I kept chugging just immediately came right back out of my pores.
The butterfly gardens were very nice. To be back out in the 100+ degrees was a treat, and any little hint of a breeze was divine. The boys treated me to walking through it very nicely so that I could actually enjoy the butterflies and flowers, too.And then we found a surprise - a mother peacock with a couple of babies roaming freely through the foliage. Very cool.Finally we found Aquaticus. And once again...the building was ancient. Probably even older than the herpetarium...and definitely hotter. Seriously, I didn't even go to the windows to look at the fish with the boys. I stayed in the middle of the walkways under the ceiling fans, trying to stay cool enough that I didn't pass out. The boys though...the boys didn't seem to be bothered much. They liked the fish, and they loved the sea lions.When we emerged, it was time to make our way back out. We chose a different route, hoping to see some other animals. But we ended up being on the restaurant/meeting rooms/back of the children's zoo path. Not many more animals. Except for the caterpillar we happened to see on the sidewalk.
This wasn't the plain ol' green or brown caterpillar that we normally see. This one was beautifully striped in green, yellow and black.Of course, we stopped to take a closer look. Conner wanted to touch it, but I told him we probably shouldn't. (I actually did a little bit of caterpillar research back in the spring when we were finding woolly bears everywhere. I had once thought that it was the fuzzy caterpillars that would sting you. But I learned that it's actually the brightly colored ones - especially the brightly colored ones with fuzzy spots - that you had to watch out for.) But he kept asking...so I shared with him what I had learned. I also told him though, that I had learned that most caterpillar stings will sting a little but won't really hurt you. Then I let him choose if he still wanted to touch it or not...and of course, he touched it on the head.
We were all shocked when the tail of the caterpillar suddenly sprouted two bright yellow prongs and shot up toward Conner's finger, much like a scorpion trying to sting! It was the craziest caterpillar we'd ever seen! So we collected ourselves, made sure it hadn't gotten Conner...and did it again. Sure enough, the yellow things poked out again and it was obviously trying to sting these giants that were invading its personal space.
It only took twice, and we were convinced that if we kept our fingers on its head, the tail couldn't reach us. So we sat there and took turns terrifying that poor caterpillar. This random caterpillar that we had happened to come across on the sidewalk turned out to be one of the coolest and most memorable parts of our OKC Zoo trip!
And then it was time to go.
So we went and got Bret. He had finished his work, and now he could play with us. So we went and got some pizza,then topped it off with some frozen custard, and then went back to Daddy's cool apartment to watch some Backyardigans and go to bed. How's that for livin' it up? :)
I never thought my summer vacation would be taking my kids to another state to see the apartment my husband had been living in and meeting his roommates that I'd been hearing about. But we just never know what life's gonna bring, do we? I'm so glad to have gone now though, to be able to visualize Bret in his room when I'm talking to him on the phone, to have some faces to put with names, to see some of the projects he's been working on, to be counting down the weeks until he'll be at home with us again...and to have gone to the OKC Zoo to boot!