Yesterday morning, Parker and I met up with some friends at Como Zoo for a fun morning out! Parker always gets so excited to see Bella, and of course, Michelle and I always enjoy the "mommy visits." We met another girlfriend of hers and her children there as well...all in all, with the extra neighborhood children that had tagged along with Chelle and Nicki there were 11 children and 3 adults (one of which had to skip off to the bathroom 7 times during the almost 3 hours we were there...here's a hint...it might have been the pregnant one.) To say that the entire morning was complete an utter chaos wouldn't hit it close; I would be lying if I said we didn't have a blast though! The kids loved every minute of it; although we didn't see all the animals and exhibits that we intended on seeing, those children were running around with smiles on their faces the entire time we were there and that's what's most important.
After spending the first few minutes of the morning at the playground and picnic area, we entered the Como Conservatory area to view the Blooming Butterflies exhibit. This "indoor, temporary exhibit" is where one can see hundreds of butterflies "flying freely" from 5 different continents. "The screened structure resembles a caterpillar from the outside and encloses close to 3000 square feet of garden butterfly habitat. Como’s Blooming Butterflies exhibit features a variety of butterfly species and the native flowering nectar plants that sustain them." I managed to capture a few pictures of several of the beautiful, winged creatures in between watching to make sure all the two and three year olds followed the rules by not "throwing items at or trying to capture the butterflies." ;)
Michelle and I managed to get Parker and Bella to pose for a few pictures...and snag a few random shots like this one in between. These two were practically inseparable the whole morning. Where one went, the other followed. When one beckoned, the other responded. I love watching their friendship grow each time we get together.
Another popular feature of the Como Zoo today was Sparky the Sea Lion show. The kids had great seats where they chowed down on snacks while watching the tricks and adventures of Sparky. I can't say whether or not it was a great show (although I would guess by the reaction of the crowd it was) because I was too busy swatting this annoying bee that kept flying around the kids heads and passing more food to the front of the kid zone...running to the bathroom, wiping dirty hands, etc.
Sadly, we had to leave shortly after the Sparky show to head home, but before calling it a day at the zoo, we did get to see some gorgeous plants and exotic wildlife at a portion of the Tropical Encounters exhibit, where Parker was most into the anaconda and the colorful fish. Along with these enthralling creatures, we viewed pink flamingos, ducks, giant tortoises, zebras and a few other important creatures. I was disappointed to miss the polar bears, the new baby giraffe, and a few other exhibits, but I've decided we'll just have to make another trip out there soon. Although we went to Como Zoo a couple of times last year, this was our first experience with it this year...one that will definitely have to be repeated in the upcoming weeks!
Como Zoo is a fascinating place --one that we are blessed and thankful to have near our home that we can visit whenever we want. The history and story of Como Zoo and Conservatory and its beginnings are quite captivating. I have been told that it is the only "free" zoo and conversatory in North America today. I appreciate the many members and donators who still contribute heavily today to maintain its original missions and goals.