My husband and I took our kids last week to Chicago. While there, we spent a day at the Brookfield Zoo. It truly is a fantastic zoo - - very clean, incredible array of animals, and a wide variety of exhibits. While there, we saw an impressive dolphin show, took a tram around the zoo, and rode the carousel. There were other things to do as well, such as visit the petting zoo and walk through a butterfly display, all of which, of course, involved tacking a lot more money onto your tab. We decided to stick with the basics for this visit. My kids always beg to visit the petting zoo at our local zoo, but then complain the entire time about the amount of goat poop they are stepping in, and end up spending most of their time there trying to avoid it. We thought it wise to just skip it altogether and forego their lilting manure avoidance dance.
I would be remiss if I failed to mention one thing that I just could not get over while at the zoo - - the amount of beer stands. It seemed that every time we turned a corner, there was another beer stand. OK - perhaps that is being a bit over the top, but I was quite surprised simply by their presence there in the first place. The zoo isn't exactly the first place that comes to mind when you think, "you know, I could really use a cold one."
The Brookfield Zoo has two really nice play areas with playground equipment for the kids to play on. It offered a nice break for us to sit for a bit while the kids had a chance to run around and "blow some stink off." (thanks for the addition of that phrase to my vocabulary, Mom.) Close to the play area are of course, the obligatory food stands that are strategically placed so that the kids can beg you for an ice cream cone or a pretzel the moment they stop to take a breather from the play equipment. And located, for your convenience, right between the ice cream stand and the nacho stand? Not one, but TWO beer stands. Parents! Had enough of looking at the elephants and the rhinos? Well grab an incredibly overpriced semi-cold beer in a plastic cup and recharge those old batteries!
Having previously taught elementary school, I had visions of school groups descending on the zoo en masse during the spring for those age-old teacher-torture tests, better known as "field trips." I could just envision a teacher, weary from a long day with thirty little kids who act as though they have never been in public before, eyeing that beer stand with just a slight bit of envy.