The Columbus Zoo is great. Don't get me wrong, this is the first zoo I've visited outside of Minnesota, it isn't like I'm the zoo expert of America. But the park is large, and offers a variety of animals separated into geographical sectors. And it is unbelievably well-kept. They have people designated as poo catchers in the petting zoo; so while your child meanders around the goats combing, petting and admiring, there is someone just a step away with a broom and a bucket on the lookout for fresh feces. Brought to life by Jack Hanna, the Columbus Zoo is the home to a baby elephant, grizzly bears, gorillas, lions, tigers, manatees, a historic carousel, the largest play area I've ever seen, an adjacent water park.... I could go on and on.
You always hope that when taking your children to the zoo they enjoy themselves in addition to learning a little something. As it turns out, they did. And so did I. I learned that there is such a thing as a maternity Ohio State t-shirt, gorillas fart up to 400 times a day, not all Homo sapien moms wear bras, and not all moms approach parenting with the same gentle touch. While some mothers diligently distribute hand sanitizer to their offspring, others can be heard shouting, "I don't care what people think of me. If you don't get over here I'm gonna kick your ass." Of course it could be a long day had gotten the best of that boisterous mom, but judging by the hole in her Married to the Mob t-shirt, and the additional hole in her gum line, that just might be how she rolls.
While the girls took a break from animal observing to amuse themselves in the play area, Geoff and I spent the time observing people. If there is one thing that was obvious it was that parents of youngsters wear their emotions all over their face. Most parents were pleased to see their children enjoying themselves. Many were exhausted. Some wore unmasked frustration. Others blissfully enjoyed the beautiful day.
Thanks to two relatively well-behaved little girls, I think I was in the blissful category. We took the right approach to the day. As we entered the park we each chose an animal to look for; so when the crabbies started creeping in all one of us had to say was, "Let's see if we can find those elephants," and it was mission on. We laughed a lot, the girls cried just a little, and when we left the park we were all just happy to be together.