Monday, August 10, 2015

The Trip that Almost Didn't Happen, Day 2

We leisurely got up and around on Friday, ate the cereal that I brought from home for us, and got on the road to the Erie Zoo.  When we asked Carter what he wanted to do on vacation, he said, "Animals", so we had to include a zoo!  The zoo didn't look too big, but it had some good animals and we were excited! 

Right inside the gate was a beautiful old building with beautiful details.
The stonework was beautiful, and above the arched window is an elephant head holding a light fixture by the trunk.  So pretty!
Inside was a handful of animals--a few small lizards, a small cat, naked mole rats, meerkats, some birds, and these sleepy lions, both with their tongues hanging out...

We admired a red panda on our way to the next exhibit, and then came into a cool building themed like an old Asian temple.  Inside were the orangutans, and they were so fun to watch!  This one was hanging out when we came in...
He was so close and so big, and I almost felt guilty for standing there staring at him.

And then the baby joined him...
They all seemed fond of their blankets and sheets, and the handholding was so sweet!
 This one was hanging out up above...

The baby's face was just so sweet!  It reminded me that it's been a while since I've seen the baby at our zoo, though she's now pretty big, too!

We saw a tortoise, a couple very active monkeys, and some sleeping red pandas, too.  And here's the outside of the temple ruins theming.  So cool!

After that we saw a leopard, a jaguar, some carnivorous plants, some farm animals, and a live camera of three lynx kittens nursing with their mother.  At the tiger exhibit, Craig was silly and decided to pose for this picture, with his willing assistant...

Their African exhibit was pretty cool with its African outpost theming, too.  We saw a warthog, African wild dogs, rhinos, and zebras.  We then came to my favorite animal, the giraffes!  I just think they're so amazing--they look so clumsy but are so graceful.  They have gorgeous eyelashes and such complex bodies.  Strangely, the two giraffes were alternately eating from their box on the wall and then licking the wall.  No idea why. 
Check out that tongue!
Back in a more central area, they had a lovely model train setup that Carter liked, of course!

We crossed a pretty bridge to the other section of the zoo...

We saw some small penguins like we have here in Rochester, and I must say, this one was my favorite...

They had some fun kid activities in this section, including this cute spot where kids can jump on these squares and they chime.  Carter loved it!

Inside their discovery center, the boys tried to create their own zoo exhibits with animals and walls and railings...

After they played there and we checked out some tamarins, lizards, and a giant snake, back outside we saw llamas and alpacas and some kangaroos!

The weird part about that exhibit was that it was just barely roped off, so in theory the kangaroos could come right up to you!

Craig is not a fan of aviaries, and the boys all ran ahead of me while I took pictures, so they missed out on seeing this gorgeous bird up close!
(No, that's not my arm!)
We had a quick lunch at the zoo.  Of course, with Jacob's restrictions it's hard so we were a little lenient on what he got to eat (read: crap) but he was happy and the rest of us ate fine.  Carter's healthy wrap meal even came with a free animal baseball cap (we picked a tiger!)!  The gluten stuff really does make eating on the go very hard.  I have to do a lot of research, but in the end we do end up eating a lot of fast food and snacks that I brought with us.  I wish he'd get into healthier options to make it a little easier, but no luck so far.  Of course, on vacation there's always the added challenges of time and money, so even the best research doesn't get us far.  Anyway...you do what you can.

On our way out of the zoo, Jacob checked out the little pond...

...and I caught a beautiful butterfly nearby!

We did a second check of the otter exhibit on our way out, since our first stop yielded nothing, butthis time only saw a tail sticking out of the one hole!  Boo.  We made a quick stop in the store (sigh, it's vacation) and headed out...
One of the two pretty mosaics near the entrance
Overall it was a really great zoo.  It was an easy zoo to navigate by stroller (and it seemed like Carter could see almost everything from his stroller), and the exhibits were well done.  I was rather impressed! 

We went back to the hotel for the afternoon, with hopes that Carter could nap.  Of course, when we got there, Carter was wired and wouldn't go down no matter what we did.  Jacob wanted to go to the pool, so I finally took him there and hoped that Craig could model napping for Carter while we were gone.  Jacob and I spent a half hour down at the pool, mostly in the hot tub!  We had a nice chat and some quality one-on-one time, which we don't get much since he's addicted to Daddy and Carter is usually around.  When we came back up, both Carter and Craig were sleeping.  We had some nice quiet time on our electronics, and finally got Carter up to head to dinner and the baseball game!  We tried Chick-Fil-A since we don't have those around us and they have a grilled chicken nugget option and dedicated fryers for their fries.  Jacob wasn't really a fan, but it was worth a shot.

How we'd never ended up at an Erie Seawolves game, I have no idea.  I feel like we've hit up every minor league team between Rochester and all of our vacation destinations, but apparently not.  Craig had been to the stadium once when it was first built, but a lot had changed since.  It was a beautiful night for a game, and we were pretty excited about the ticket package we'd bought.  It was an awesome value.  For only $38 (including fees), we got four tickets, four hats, and four coupons for free meals at McDonald's.  Our entire lunch the next day cost just over $6!  It was such a great deal!  I had also snagged great seats, and it turns out that the first base upper deck seating where we were was named the #5 best seat in minor league baseball.  Not too shabby!

Outside the stadium I snapped a picture of the boys with a baseball frog statue.  I'm guessing these frogs were Erie's animal series at some point, because we saw a few of them around.

I thought it was interesting that the word "Erie" near the top of the scoreboard was spelled out with nautical flags.  And yes, former Pittsburgh Pirates manager Jim Leyland was there signing autographs.

This was the view from our seats.  I never got a good picture of our direct view of home plate, but as you can see, it was a nice overview.

This is a picture looking toward where we sat.  We were in the second section in of the upper deck.  It was an interesting stadium in that the space constraints of the city block caused them to put an upper deck on one side and a normal bank of seats on the other.

Carter was very antsy that night, so we had to take a lot of walks.  During one, we tried to find the mascot, C. Wolf, but came across their other mascot, Perry, a giant inflatable fish.  He was definitely a bit of a prankster.  He'd loom over people from behind or head butt them.  Here is Craig giving him a high five...

...and if you look closely here, you can see him with a fabric lunch bag in his mouth that he snagged off the table nearby.

Jacob did extra well at the game because they had a jersey giveaway for kids over 4, and with his free hat, he was all decked out!

Here's a view from our seats looking the other way.  Notice, no upper deck over there!

On another walk with Carter, I snapped this shot with the setting sun in the background.

Carter and I finally tracked down C. Wolf and watched his antics up close...

And after a fun game, we found out that the kids could run the bases.  So, down they went!  All I could catch of Jacob was a blur...

And Craig did his best to keep Carter moving...though at home plate he pulled the same thing Jacob did around the same age, trying to run back on to the field.  Of course, it was a much bigger deal in Pittsburgh than in Erie!

We made a last minute stop at the souvenir stand (after I changed Carter into his PJs in hopes that he'd fall asleep on the drive back--no luck), and he was cracking me up with this giant foam claw and his roar.  I did get it on video and I will share it when I can.

Jacob also got C. Wolf to autograph his hat!

The boys had a tough time going to bed again even though it was so late, but overall it had been a good day.  One more day was left, and it was our "wild card" day.  We had some loose plans, but nothing specifically scheduled, so we were just going to roll with it and slowly but surely make our way home...

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