Posted in fun

Is that a hippo?

I forgot to include this great moment from my trip to the zoo the other day.

As we walked around the African loop on our way to see the ostrich and rhinos, we spied a man fully outfitted in scuba gear, just about to enter the brown, muddy, murky, duckweed-covered water below. As he put on his mask and regulator, I couldn’t help but wonder, “What can he see down there?” I have no idea what was down there that needed repair.

Anyway, once we got a nice close-up view of one of the rhinos, we started walking toward the giraffes and saw lots of bubbles coming up from the brown, muddy, murky, duckweed-covered water. I knew it was the diver, but a few other people didn’t. I heard them wondering out loud, “What’s down there? What animal is that? Is it a hippo? I think it’s a hippo! Look, it’s a hippo!”

I kept my chuckles to myself. I guess they haven’t seen many hippos. They wouldn’t have seen them here since the Jacksonville Zoo doesn’t have any. And hippos don’t breathe underwater. If they are in the water, they typically wade or lay around with their eyes, nostrils, and ears just above the surface. Otherwise, the ones I’ve seen like to lay at the edge of the water.

I have seen hippos at other zoos and in the wild. We saw them on safari in Kenya. Since they are one of the most dangerous animals in Africa, armed guides kept an eye on them as we took pictures. If the hippos decided to get aggressive, we’d be escorted out of there. When they began bellowing at us, it was time to leave.

Now those are hippos

I did not spoil their fun and tell them about the scuba diver.

Posted in fun

Hit me baby one more time

I forget who came up with the genius idea to “pie the pastor,” but it turned out to be a great youth fund raiser about twenty years ago. My youngest daughter, perhaps four years old at the time, clearly enjoyed the experience. I think we charged a dollar a pie. Many members of the congregation kept giving her dollar bills, a little reluctant to throw the pies on their own.

Yep, same little girl only 16 years later (I think) with yet another pie in her hand and many on my face!

I think I’ll do this one more time. I think we may have yet another new generation of pie throwers ready to hit the bull’s eye!

Posted in family, fun

Animal Kingdom

We were up and out the door at 6 am this morning, on the way to Disney’s Animal Kingdom with my daughter, son-in-law, and two of our grandsons. For the little guys, Elijah and Daniel, it was their first Disney experience, so we were all very excited.

The drive through Orlando wasn’t too harrowing, even through rush hour. It’s pretty much one big construction zone the whole way, though. The crowds pouring through the gates were formidable from the minute the park opened.

First stop was the Festival of the Lion King, a wonderful music and dance performance by some extremely talented folks. Eli’s a big Lion King fan, so it was a hit. 

Next stop was a fast pass appointment with Mickey and Minnie!

Eli rode the Triceratops ride at least five times. 

The weather wasn’t too hot, but still perfect for a nice, messy, sticky strawberry popsicle. 

Pluto spent a lot of time dancing around the bone yard…

…while Eli made a lot of trips down a big spiral slide. 

A random nice person gave Eli a long stuffed purple snake won at an arcade game!

Eli capped off his day by scoring a really cool bubble wand. 

We also enjoyed the “It’s Hard Being a Bug” show, the safari, and the “Finding Nemo” musical.

A few tips for those headed to Animal Kingdom in the future:

  • The app lets you know all the wait times. Great resource.
  • The park was most crowded in the morning, then thinned out in the afternoon. Going later is a good idea.
  • A 210 minute wait for the Avatar ride? Three-and-a-half hours? Better use your fast pass or forget it. It must be an amazing ride. (We didn’t even go to that part of the park.)
  • There’s a Starbucks on property! It’s worth going just to see how quickly they can crank out the lattes.
  • Dress your child in a red shirt if you are going to let them eat the red popsicle. And the frozen chocolate covered banana is plenty big to share.
  • It’s OK to bring your own water into the park.
  • You can eat paleo at the park. Grilled chicken salad for lunch.
  • The bars have a nice selection of beers. For $10 each! I didn’t drink today.
  • Even though it takes longer to load up the dinos than the ride itself, the Triceratops ride never gets old. Like the Dumbo ride at Magic Kingdom.
  • Animal Kingdom feels more relaxed than the other parks I’ve been to.

I hadn’t been to a Disney attraction in years. Taking the little ones made it worthwhile.