We have been wanting to take the kids to a nice zoo, (Philadelphia, for example) for a while now, mainly to show them that we still love them immensely and know how to be fun parents despite being busy. ;o) But to be honest with you, Philadelphia Zoo is just plain EXPENSIVE in my mind, especially with two young kids who will last 3 hours max. (Sorry, Philly...I just can't justify spending almost $80 for just a couple hours of animal-gawking. Nope. Can't do it.)
Alas, Hubby came to the rescue with an awesome suggestion: leave for the day (or most of it) and go to Lake Tobias Wildlife Park. Just a little over an hour drive from our house, $4 per person to get in (and my crazy 2 year old was still free!), free parking, a $5 safari ride...how could it get any better?
So, we packed up the kids and headed out on our little adventure. We listened to a sermon and praise and worship music on the way out (between Caedon's continuous crying...more on the not-so-joyous car rides we have with our son at a later time), stopped for a quick brunch (my children ordered hotdogs at 10:30am...yeah, we thought it was gross, too...but they SO wanted them and ate almost all of their food, so we went with it), and arrived to find it was Wild Days Weekend. Children could get balloons, free pony rides, a $5 coupon for the gift shop or concession stand, see animal parades, and more! ALL INCLUDED.
(Doesn't that teenager look so excited to walk that pony around with my son on it? I think he just loves his job, don't you? I should send him a copy.)
We walked around the entire place for about 2 hours while safely navigating our two "we love to nap" children through their routine nap time. Deciding whether or not to push nap time back is a dangerous line to cross, let me just tell you. But they had PLENTY of animals to see and keep their minds occupied.
(That paper floating in the water would be our map that my son so lovingly shoved through the fence, got a warning to not throw it, thought about the warning, and threw it anyway. He's wearing his two-year-old colors ever so proudly these days.)
Anyway, then on to a 45-minute Safari ride, which we all loved! Animals that come right up to the bus and want to eat out of your hand and hit the bus with the pointy things on their heads? C'mon now...who doesn't love that?!
What the...how did that last one get in there??? Sorry...I'll try to keep this G-rated. Moving on...
In the end, we thought it would be great to go back to Lake Tobias once each summer, jumping on board with the "staycation" trend that seems to be big this summer. Really, spending less than $30 for a day of walking around a mini-zoo and going on a Safari ride is a great deal and is much more affordable and kid-friendly than most getaways out there.
And, yes...while we did push nap time back and have somewhat cranky kids at the end of the afternoon, they did, in fact, fall asleep on the way home and are now taking a late nap. Hey, it's better than nothing!