Spending time with Papa has worn my little man out big time. For the past week he has slept in until nearly 8 a.m. If you are a regular reader of my blog you know this is nothing shy of a miracle considering little r is an early riser by trade. I barely got him to kindergarten by 9 a.m. on Friday, managed to sneak a chat with Dad and Mary before they took off to Prague, and then had a nice long yoga practice.
I had that itch though. You know that itch you get when you really just want to get out? Having slept so late, I knew naptime for little r would never happen, and I was busting to take little r out for some fun. There are a million amusement parks within an hour of us. It's quite frankly a kinder haven, and I'm not even exaggerating. Growing up here must really spoil you. Being that we only had half a day, and I knew since it is summer break for the German kids that most of the parks would be crowded, I decided that the zoo in Nuremberg could be just the outing I was searching for.
We have been to Tierpark Nuremberg before (even though I'm certain I posted a blog about it, I can't find it to save my life - sorry!). It is easily the best, most amazing zoo I have EVER been to. All the animals look healthy and happy, and the environments they created for all of them are vast and comfortable. The zoo has everything from a dolphin habitat and show to an incredibly awesome petting zoo with hilarious goats.
Our first time to Tierpark Nuremberg, little r wasn't quite two years old and it was a really warm day. We enjoyed our visit, but there were definitely moments that warranted an eye-roll or a sigh. Little r was interested in the animals, but at that age, his attention span was lacking, to say the least, so it was a bit of work.
This last visit to the Tierpark could not have been any different. The weather was perfect - not too hot, not cold or rainy - little r was ecstatic about every animal that we saw. All of the animals were active and enjoying their day. It was a perfect day for the zoo.
The giraffes greet you right at the start of the zoo, and little r was SO excited to see the giraffes. He immediately asked me to take his picture with them. He also insisted that he stand in this exact place on a rock, so the giraffes aren't exactly in the picture. Haha, but he made a cute smile for the camera and was very proud...
He also served as our navigator through the zoo the entire afternoon. He took his job very seriously...
As a parent, do you find yourself constantly viewing things from the eyes of a child? I see the world so differently these days, and the zoo is hardly an exception. I'm not sure I even remember what I would have noticed about the zoo had I visited it before I had little r. But let me tell you, this zoo is especially perfect for children of all ages. The petting zoo is too much fun. The goats are always a favorite. They are docile and friendly, and these creatures actually appear to enjoy the attention they receive from all those little baby fingers. I think it goes without saying, this is easily little r's favorite part of the zoo.
Adjacent to the petting zoo is a huge play park for the kids. It has several of those jungle gyms that we would never in a million years find in a playground in the US. Rope ladders, rock climbing walls, bouncy bridges... very cool. My brave little man tackled it all and even went down the huge slide. I was too busy keep an eye on him to take any pictures, so just imagine pure fun for the little ones.
It was a full afternoon watching all the animals play and interact. The sea lions battled each other for "king of the rock" (hilarious entertainment with a soundtrack to boot), the dolphins played ball with each other, the tigers and lions were sleeping in the sun, and the baboons were having a ball playing around their habitat with the new baboon babies. All of the animals seemed to be enjoying the day as much as we were.
Our afternoon concluded in only the best way: a train ride on the local "steam" engine. I had one very excited little man.
It was all too much fun for both of us. I'm glad I got the itch to get out of the house and go for a little adventure. Little r barely made it five minutes and was asleep before I got to the autobahn. Such a perfect day.