Sunday, August 7, 2011

Day Three - Philadelphia

Monday we woke up, ate some granola bars (yes, there's a reason I usually get hotels with free breakfast--there was nothing around ours!), and got ready for a day at the zoo...once again in miserable heat.  We actually ended up heading first to Lincoln Financial Field, the home of the Philadelphia Eagles, to check out their store.  Craig grew up liking the Eagles (and the Bills, of course), and enjoyed browsing their store.  The stadium was impressive, even if we only got to see a tiny fraction of it. 

The zoo is the first zoo in the U.S., and it definitely had some older elements that made it charming, in much the same way as at the Buffalo Zoo--stone structures, etc.  One of the first things we saw was a bat that climbed up the side of the cage--creepy but fascinating.

Elsewhere in the same building were some interesting monkeys I had never seen before--Douc Langur monkeys.  They're sort of cool and unique-looking. 
Little did we know that we'd get to meet a talking one later.  The zoo did a collaboration with the Jim Henson folks to create a bunch of puppets based on extinct or endangered animals that were featured in a short movie and puppet performances at stations around the zoo.  They were really cute, and one of them was "The Douc" (pronounced like "Duke"), whose show we happened to catch.  Jacob sat on the floor with all of the other kids, and we couldn't help but giggle as he gave in to peer pressure and raised his hands as The Douc and the zoo worker asked questions like, "Who has a cell phone?" and "Who recycles?"  So cute.  Jacob loved him and Craig could do a pretty good version of his voice, which made Jacob laugh all week.

Here's a cute shot from outside the reptile building.  Shortly before this shot, a peacock jumped up on a wall just a few feet from Jacob.  They freely roamed the zoo and we happened to see a bunch of them after that.   

And here's Jacob showing some love to the giant stuffed gorilla in one of the shops...

Shortly after that, we saw some real gorillas.  They had a bunch of them, and one was in a perfect spot for a great picture...

The highlight of Jacob's day may have been playing in this little fountain near the polar bears.  He really got into it and had a wet shirt and shorts for the rest of the day...which probably wasn't such a bad thing since it was so stinkin' hot. 

We saw a ton of great animals--giraffes, rhinos, zebras, hippos (underwater), tons of monkeys, strange reptiles (ever seen an alligator snapping turtle?  Freakish.), penguins and more.  We also saw a bizarre series of violent bronze animal sculptures and some lovely fountains.  It wasn't a bad day, but the heat was starting to get to us. 

Jacob fell asleep on a lengthy drive through the city back to the hotel.  We wanted to go back into the city for dinner and sightseeing, but things just didn't work out.  There just wasn't a solid plan that would work out--and on this trip, if we didn't have a plan, it got messed up--so we ended up just going to a restaurant in the baseball stadium for dinner.  We were going to walk there, but second-guessed it when we walked back out of the hotel into a stiff wind and dark clouds.  The thunder and lightning sealed the deal, and we managed to drive there and park the car just in time to make it into the restaurant and watch a hardcore thunderstorm blow in.  Wind, crazy lightning, hard rain...all with Lincoln Financial Field as the backdrop.  We also happened upon some sort of Temple University booster party, which was sort of funny to see and scared us a bit thinking the whole restaurant would be closed to outside business.  Thank goodness it wasn't.  Jacob was a bit difficult at this dinner, as well, but other than a scrape on his arm from falling face-first out of his chair right in the front of the waitress, we made it through unscathed.  Oh, and we managed a dry day all day as well, other than a bit of an accident on the way home from the zoo when he fell asleep.  But while he was awake, he was dry.  On the way back to the car we tried to get a picture of Jacob with one of the cool statues outside the stadium, but I rushed it a bit because there was still lightning in the area.  Because everything was backlit, that picture didn't turn out great, but I do like this one...

Here's a view of the post-storm aftermath from our room.  That's the baseball stadium in the distance.

I was disappointed that we didn't get to go into the city, but things just didn't work out.  We tried to get Jacob to sleep extra early that night, turning off the lights before 9pm and hoping we could turn them back on after he fell asleep.  But he fought it for two hours and the lights never came back on.  So, for the third night in a row, he went to bed late and I didn't get the good post-bedtime laptop time I had been craving--hence the lack of blogs during our trip.  Ugh.  Instead I was always the one up early and getting computer time then--but even then it was merely catching up on email, blog reading, and Facebook

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