Tuesday, March 29, 2011

SA Zoo

I am starting to feel the commenting love... Absolutely makes my day!

I am a little behind on blog posting, but stay with me because the posts are coming!

On Sunday, after a visit with Shamu and all of his sea water friends, we decided that we could not leave San Antonio without paying a visit to all our favorite land animal friends at the zoo.

It was the perfect day for the zoo because it was hot enough to wear shorts, but overcast enough so that the animals were out roaming their cages instead of hiding in the shadows. We love our very own Houston zoo and there are so many animals to see and activities to explore, but there is just something about the SA zoo. Something about walking hills to view the animals and the realistic environment created through trees, rocks and natural made stairs. Viewing the animals while being surrounded in a more natural habitat made it exciting. Having to check your body for butterflies before exiting the exhibit or squeezing through narrow walkways and entering passages through caged doors so the animals didn't escape (birds mostly) made it feel like you were truly entering their world.
The first exhibit gave me butterflies... literally! Pappa could tell by the twinkle in my eye that I had reverted back to the days when I had a thing for monarch butterflies so he raced into the shop to buy tickets for entry. And keeping with the childlike spirit, he brought cotton candy! My fav!
I have always had a thing for caterpillars and butterflies. And talk about being an incredible mom. We took book reports quite seriously in our household even driving outside the city limits in search of milkweed for our monarch caterpillars to eat. Making visits to the Dallas butterfly garden and trips and trips to the library. She was such a cool mom that we captured, fed and watch as our crawling friends as they transformed from caterpillar, to chrysalis to cocoon to a beautiful butterfly that we released into the wild. I always thought that everyone had a hands on mom and that it was normal to participate in all things creative. I have since learned that I was incredibly blessed to have such an amazing mother who's world revolved around the growth, experiences and happiness of her children and I will forever be grateful. It is because of her that I am who I am today. Maybe Liam's first birthday was inspired by this love for butterflies and it is those memories that bring on the fears of a working mother.
We were given the rule to not disturb the butterflies if they were on a flower as they were feeding, but it was perfectly okay to offer a finger to crawl upon if they were simply resting on a leaf. Piece of cake right? Luckily the butterflies confused Liam's red shoe and my red shirt as flowers...
Only Daddy had the steady, calm hand and patience to capture one of these fluttering beauties.
I could have stayed in the butterfly garden all day, but delicate wings and little boys under the age of 2 don't really go well together. We took a few photos in the displays and moved on to bigger beasts!
We started off with Liam's favorite. The SA zoo has the largest variety of monkeys I have ever seen! Which of course triggered the "ooh ooh ooh, ahhh ahhh ahhh."
Several of the monkeys were super playful and actively put on a show for us. They were just as curious about us as we about them I am sure.
Monkey Business? Noah showed frowns and smiles!
Pappa bear took Liam to get a closer look at the brown cuddly guys playing with the ball in the corner and Liam was very interested these guys!
We circled underground to get a closer look at the large grey boulders. And to Noah's surprise...
We discovered that they were not boulders at all but Hippos! I was thrilled! I had never seen a Hippo that close before.
Noah's favorite was the alligator and he showed us exactly how he 'Chomped Chomped Chomped!'
Liam seemed more interested in the animals and their silly sunglass games outside of the cages, so we headed off for a quick lunch break.
Lunch included animal crackers, chicken nuggets, and of course a twirly monkey straw!
We explored all kinds of interesting creatures in their habitats including this peculiar little fellow that was a cross between a giraffe and a zebra. You are in the wrong show sir... the circus is on the other side of town!
We experienced elephant trunks, fighting zebras, pouncing tigers and a very hungry rhino. All of the animals were out to play and we had so much fun.
Liam was worn completely out and as we hugged the Kerr's goodbye, Bill and I couldn't resist a trip through the bird feeding cage. For a mere $3 you were able to feed these colorful birds nectar from a cup in your hand. Sounds like a marvelous idea right?
That is until several birds have a peeing contest because all they have had to eat is nectar and have been over-served and then you get attacked and pecked by those with empty bladders!
We took our tired little boy and plush monkey that GiGi bought us and headed home. We had an amazing trip. It helps when you are with wonderful friends!
And the best tour guides around. GiGi and Pappa were such troopers. It brought back memories of our own little family trips to the SA zoo when I was little. It doesn't seem that long ago that I was standing at that very fence while the heat melted my icecream cone down my arm and now we have come full circle and we are experiencing the zoo through Liam's eyes. We had an amazing trip and will be back to the Johnson Resort for riverwalk and aquarium vacations! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for everything!


  1. Such a sweet post. What a blessing to have a fun, creative teacher for a mom...absolutely love the butterfuly story! Fun to see you all at the SA Zoo as I also have many childhood memories there. That and countless hide/seek games with my brother and cousins at the Sunken Garden, trying to hold my own as the one girl! You are already building a special, fun filled memory bank as a family and the blog is a gift to us all...way to go!

  2. You speak so highly of your mom. Makes me want to meet her!

    ES zoo is great. Can't wait to take my boy. Your pics are so awesome. I must know auto or manual?

  3. I have to agree with Ellen...such a gift to us! I have so much love for you! I fight with myself not to live in the past, but to enjoy the present and be thankful...I still have to fight back the tears, though, remembering those wonderful times...remembering how, I too, questioned myself as a mom...some day you will know what a wonderful mother you are...Liam will remind you when he has his own children...sounds like a lifetime away doesn't it? You are an amazing mom! xoxo

  4. Oh, I forgot to mention how awesome your photos are! Just beautiful! xoxo

  5. Great post Kate! It made me super excited as we are moving to SA this summer! Can't wait to take my animal-obsessed girlies to the zoo!!!

  6. Alison Wylie WilliamsMarch 30, 2011 at 1:27 PM

    Love the pictures! But I must say that honestly, feeding birds from my hand does NOT sound interesting and/or fun. I do not like birds and they give me the heebie jeebies.

    I totally understand that fear of being a working mom. My mom was a stay at home mom and I will never forget how awesome it was to have her around all the time, ready to do whatever I needed. It's hard, but you know what? You're not the first working mom, you're not alone, and you won't be the last. :-)

  7. Kim, my mom is pretty awesome! and the answer to your camera question is both. Some are in auto and some are manual. If i change locations too fast or hand off the camera, it is always in auto. I am not fast or good enough to change settings perfectly without a test shot!
    Anonymous... you are pretty incredible yourself.. love you mommy!
    Erin, you will LOVE SA and we should totally meet up when you get there. How much fun!
    Alison... thanks for the support... I guess it is all about balance - and the birds were pretty funny! But... after a few minutes, I had had enough!