We were toying with the idea of taking a trip to the Tulsa Zoo the weekend of both Colt's birthday and Father's Day. And we've been a little worried about it since Toddlerhood's number one lesson for us has been to expect the unexpected. We had no idea if he would love it or hate it – or if it might be just a little early for him to be interested.
So we did a dry run. To Gentry. Northwest Arkansas doesn't have a zoo – per se – but just west of town there is an area of almost 200 acres that operates as:
Complete with random, roaming peacocks. (Yep, real peacocks. Just hangin' out at the entrance.) Gentry's Safari was perfect for our Zoo Dress Rehearsal, so we loaded up after naptime on Saturday and headed for the wilderness.
There are a few different portions of the park: the drive-thru safari, various caged exhibits, and an open area for a petting zoo. We walked around a bit and I loved that Colt was all about the animals, though he more or less ran from cage to cage – not spending much time in any one place. (This is a calf. He was trying to feed it some rocks. How thoughtful.)
He LOVED the monkeys. He sat and watched the monkeys longer than anything else. In fact, the biggest problem we had that afternoon is that he is completely fearless of the animals. Most of the cages had two sets of fence – thank goodness – because he would happily stick his entire arm through the wire to get closer!
Colt wasn't the least bit intimidated by them. We've been working on our gentleness lately… and this was one of those real life lessons – with teeth! But these had to be the most patient donkeys EVER. They were so sweet and let Colt stroke their fur and touch their ears and poke his finger in their noses…
After we survived the donkeys, we took a snack break then headed to the drive-thru. We obeyed the rules of staying in the car with our windows up – so no pictures from that part. But it was amazing! Tigers, lions, cougars, rhinos, hippos, water buffalo, bears, alligators, warthogs, all kinds of deer, llamas, camels, wolves — it was really cool. Colt liked watching the animals from the comfort of his seat – but some of them were a little hard to see, laying down or sleeping in their cages.