We went to the Phoenix Zoo yesterday, pretty much right after it opened. It was perfect: not too many people were there yet, those that were had kids near Drew's age in tow, and the weather was cool and pleasant with cloudcover to keep the sun from draining us too much. This was Drew's third trip to a zoo, the second one with Mark and me. On his first trip, he apparently found the giraffes fascinating. On his second trip, he tried to climb every fence in sight and wasn't too interested in the animals overall. On this trip, he couldn't get enough of running the trails, pointing out the animals, watching them climb and run and move, and, of course, climbing every fence in sight.
It's really amazing how much he's changed in the past year, and how much he's stayed the same. He didn't want to be in the stroller much last year, and we didn't even try to bring it with us this time. However, last year, he took his release from the stroller as permission to run far away as fast as he can because it was fun to have Daddy give chase. This time, he ran ahead because he wanted us to get to the next area quicker, but mostly he stayed close to us. Of course, the obvious change in these two visits was how much he talked and pointed and understood what he was seeing and how it connected with his animal puzzles, the books we read to him, his stuffed animals, and the shows he watches. Our kid's brain is on the go.
But the highlight of yesterday's trip was watching Drew ride a camel. It wasn't exactly cheap to have him and Daddy hang out on a camel for a quick walk, but Drew's wide grin was well worth every penny. Daddy reported that Drew, in addition to grinning madly, spent the entire ride saying, "It fun!" over and over. We'll have to print out copies of the picture I took of them.
It's amazing how much fun it is to watch your kid have fun. My enjoyment of the zoo really had very little to do with the zoo itself (although, watching a tiger climb down from the top of a very tall tree was awesome), but I can't wait to go back with my son.