lions, and tigers, and peacocks? oh my!

About a month ago, I came across a LivingSocial deal (which is very similar to Groupon) for the Capital of Texas Zoo. Sold! While J-man is here with us, we are trying to expose him to as many positive experiences as we can. And well, every kid deserves a trip to the zoo. Growing up in Cincinnati, visiting the zoo was a definite family favorite. I hope that J can look back on his pictures that we will send off with him and smile. Even if he doesn't actually remember, maybe he can reminisce through pictures.

So Bart and I sit down to map out our route for the trip. I had “MapQuested” it and had come up with a completely different route than Bart had suggested. Bart is the directionally-sensible one in our marriage, so I knew to trust his instincts. I looked more closely at the coupon that we had purchased and realized that it did not have “Austin Zoo” listed, but “Capital of Texas Zoo”. Austin has TWO ZOOS! Who knew!

So off we headed to Bastrop County. If you’re not from the area, you probably know as much about Bastrop County as most Austinites. There is not much there, so naturally it’s not a popular destination. Here we are driving through Texas farmland and driving down back roads following semi-homemade signs directing us to the zoo. Once we arrived, this is what we see:

the elaborate entrance to the zoo

We had to laugh. This wasn’t quite what we had expected. (Remember, I’m from Cincinnati.) Once we paid for our cup of feed for the feeding zoo, we were free to explore. Once inside, we were pleasantly surprised! This almost seemed to be the creation of someone who retired with a lot of money and decided to turn his land into a zoo for the fun of it. And I must say, he did a very nice job! The animals’ habitats were very well kept and designed to be very similar to their natural habitats. All the caged areas were built into the landscape, so it was almost as if you were seeing the animals in the wild. Visitors followed a walking path which led you to the different animal exhibits, allowing you to be pretty up-close-and-personal with the animals! The animals themselves seemed to be very healthy and happy. This was $8 well-spent!

J-man seemed to enjoy himself! At first, he had a little trouble actually seeing the animals since they were so camouflaged, but you could tell that he enjoyed listening to them! There were times when he was more entertained by the water bottle that he was holding in the stroller, but hey! Whatever makes him happy!

Here are some of the animal highlights...

mom and baby prairie dog munching on some celery. do they eat this in the wild?

the tiger. the favorite among the auburn fans in the family.

happy pig with his mud. he didn't make the same sound as j's toy pig at home though?

king of the zoo.

the lion wannabe.

The one animal that definitely grabbed his attention was the peacock. The boy could have starred at him for the rest of our visit. We weren’t really sure why the peacock was displaying himself since there were only a bunch of guinea pigs around him, but we sure did enjoy the show!

J-Man slept hard during the car ride home. So much to process and take in!

Once Bart and I got home that night and were reliving the memories of the day, we couldn’t help but get choked up remembering again there is a chance that J-man may one day not be a part of our every day family. Bart mentioned it’s wonderful days like these that will make saying good-bye all the more bittersweet. But that day hasn’t come yet, thankfully. And we have many more memories to make, Lord-willing.


j-man's musical heritage

Bart and I have our favorite regular weekly TV shows that we enjoy watching together when we can: Frontline, Modern Family, Chicago Code, Dancing with the Stars (oops, that one was mine), and 60 Minutes.
Tonight's episode of 60 Minutes struck a chord in me. I couldn't help but to think of J-Man's rich heritage of gospel music and spirituals.
Here are the links to 60 Minutes' featured organization: Gospel for Teens, which lives in Harlem, New York.
Part 1
Part 2