Sunday, June 12, 2011

Hanging out at the Zoo

Last week  Jim and I  joined our daughter, Jessica, son-in-law, Dave, and granddaughter, Lily, on a two hour drive to downtown Chicago.

We had to get an early start. And Lily takes after her mother, who takes after HER MOTHER, who is not a morning person!

First stop - The University of Illinois (UIC) Chicago Hospital for a special blood test that my daughter needed to have done. (future post)

Papa and I waited with Lily outside at a park across the street from the hospital.

Papa helped Lily put on her "crocodiles" (what we call her shoes since she can't pronounce "cr" and calls them her "cocks"!)

This is Lily's beloved George. He goes everywhere with her.

Lily was awestruck with the sounds of the city. The elevated train tracks were half a block away, and trains came by frequently. Lily is used to the sounds of trains since they run through her home town, but they are a combination of freight trains AND Amtrak and they have whistles. These trains did NOT have whistles. That seemed to puzzle her. There was a lot of activity happening; buses and cars driving by; people walking down the sidewalk. Some people joined us where we were sitting and Lily was quick to yell out "HI!" and wave her tiny hand. An ambulance came rushing down the street with the sirens blasting, but Lily felt safe in Papa's arms. She is familiar with sirens because the fire department is not too far from her home. Lily says when she hears a siren that "they are going to help" and that "someone has an owie".

Soon Jessica was done and we headed off to our next stop - Brookfield Zoo.

The day was overcast when we had left home, but by the time we got to the zoo it was sunny. And hot. And humid. Temps got to in the 90's and the humidity was high. Yeah!

I was happy to see some of the animals in open areas with grass.

I don't know why he's so hot; he should be used to this weather!
My FAVORITE animal at the zoo!
Here are the polar bears.

Looking through thick glass
Polar bear half in/half out of water; Lily and Jess in foreground.

I took this next picture while standing outside but there still was a thick piece of glass and/or plexiglass separating us from the polar bear. It was feeding time and there was this big hunk of meat sitting on the log. I was able to get a photo right when the bear grabbed the meat.

This grizzly bear had the right idea in the oppressive heat. His brother just looked on in the background.

Recent addition to the zoo were these injured pelicans who can no longer fly.

We saw the true meaning of Mother Goose! She had 16 babies!

I grew up going to Brookfield Zoo. I took my kids there when they were little. The last time I was there was probably 8 years ago. I was dismayed to see how rundown it seemed. Yet it cost $20.50 for admission that included three additional options - we chose the petting zoo, dolphin show, and the tram.

Some of the exhibits were closed, some were being remodeled, and some we were appalled at what the animals were kept in.

Take the baboons, for instance. I remember there being many, many baboons running up and down the fake rocks. There was a moat running along the bottom.

On this particular day, there were only 3 or 4 baboons. There was no moat.

And this baboon was chewing on plastic water bottles! I was really upset by this!

This one was playing will a long piece of red plastic.

We went into the monkey house and saw more fake rocks and fake trees.Where was the natural habitat? How about some grass? Trees? Leaves?

These gorillas had a very small space to live, again with just fake rocks and trees. It was so sad. This is the baby gorilla. He seemed so bored.

This is the adult male. This isn't a great photo, but he just rolled around on the hard cement. No grass!

The best part of the zoo was the dolphin show. It wasn't air conditioned in the pool area, but it was out of the sun. Here's a sweaty Lily and Papa. I was calling and waving to Lily, trying to get  her to look my way when the man behind began waving and yelling "hi"!. Lily spotted HIM and waved! I turned around and looked at him - he was an older man and smiled sheepishly at me saying, "Hey, I look like a Grandpa!"

Stay tuned for photos from the dolphin show and more!


Anonymous said...

Ive always found that zoo to be one of the best anywhere...and chi town, well its just magical...looks like a good time was had by all :)

Brian Miller said...

oo...great trip to the the polar boys love their crocs as well...cant wait to see the dolphins!

Lynda said...

A wonderful day with precious family! So sorry to hear about conditions at the zoo though. Sounds like prayers are needed for someone to come and direct who knows how to get funding and good help.

Eva Gallant said...

I'm glad you had a good day. Hope Jessica is alright. Lily is too precious!

The Bipolar Diva said...

The best zoo I've ever been to is the Fort Worth Zoo. Most all of it has as close to the natural habitat of the animals that it can. The Portland Zoo, however, is horrible. The kids and I get sad whenever we have to on school field trips.
I can't wait to see the dolphin pics. And I hope that Jessica is ok..

SquirrelQueen said...

It looks like everyone, especially Lily, had a great time at the zoo. I love to see all the animals but like you Pat it disturbs me to see the conditions sometimes. There is a wildlife park in OR where some roam free and the more dangerous ones are in very large open cages with real grass and trees. That's the way it should be.

I hope your daughter's blood test comes back with good results.

Betty Manousos@ Cut and Dry said...

looks like great fun! what a wonderful day you/yours had!

amazing photos of those beautiful animals!

happy week ahead!

betty xx

Betty Manousos@ Cut and Dry said...

...your granddaughter is soo cute!!

Ruth said...

I love this post. Partly because I recently found out I'm gonna be a gramma. :-) Ohh, Lily, and poppy seed (what I call my little baby-bean for now).

Bossy Betty said...

You made the most of this day! Lily is such a cutie!