Somehow by circumstances, it was just going to be me and my 2 girls for this field trip. At first Nel and Jo were a little disappointed, hoping that some friends might join them, but we made up our minds that we were going to enjoy this family time, just us.
Both girls had their backpacks, notebooks to jot down interesting stuff, a camera and a bottle of water. I also gave them pocket money for the day and told them that the amount would be for souvenirs or ice cream or food, and they would have to spend it wisely.
Jo was the most excited amongst us, going up to every enclosure with such excitement, taking lots of photos and asking questions like a journalist or zoo inspector. Most of the questions she asked though was about the well being of the animal. At one point, I heard her talking loudly to this elephant.
She said "Mr. Elephant...I'm so sorry you're stuck here. I know you're shaking your head left and right, and people think you're happy when you're actually sad. I hope one day you'll get to be free."
As for Nel, she was more interested in photography. Her shots have improved and she was just enjoying it when we decided to take a break for lunch. Somehow, after lunch her camera went missing. We looked around the restaurant, in her pockets and in her bag but couldn't find it. I was upset, and so was she. We walked on with me nagging her. She began writing in her notebook, and later I noticed that she was leaving notes in random places with a message saying "If you find a missing camera please call this number...."
To cut a long story short, we continued happily, and three quarter ways into the trip, Nel discovered a lump in her bag, in an undiscovered corner, and shouted "My CAMERA!!!!" Haha..such joy. And another short talk ensued about blah blah blah. I know, I just have to be a "mother." heh heh..
We truly enjoyed our time alone, discussing things along the way like suitability of the enclosures, characteristics of the animals, food, the weather and things in general. :)
After several hours of walking in great weather, we decided to watch the 3pm animal show. We barely sat for 5 minutes when it began to rain. We ran for shelter, and Nel said "But Mum, I want to stay, in case they restart the show." Jo replied "Mum, are you INSANE? The best thing to do now is to rush to the car before it starts to storm!"
Can you imagine, my 7 year old talking to me that way? Well, we decided to wait. The show restarted. After a short performance by a sea lion it began pouring again! this upset Jo, while Nel was willing to brave the rain in order to continue watching.
Finally I told Jo "Look, why don't I hang on to your things, you go forward and enjoy the show. Just pretend you're swimming." So she went along. We were all drenched, but Jo said "This was one of the best part of the day mum, getting wet!" haha...
There were other good lessons learnt. Nel spent her money very wisely, always calculating before spending and weighing her decisions. Jo was more rash, impulsive and regretted her expensive ice cream, coz that meant less money for a souvenir.
As for the zoo, I'd say, much can be done to improve it. I won't say much more about it, this is not a review anyway. The girls have some favourite animals such as the tiger, giraffes, capybara, penguins (although we agreed that they looked really sad to be cooped up in the zoo), the pony and the zebras. Girls were also very fascinated by these really huge tortoises,
this very busy busy hedgehog
and these sleepy, cute Wallace Flying Frogs.
Most important lesson
To conclude, our cameras protected in waterproof bags, we walked back to the car in the rain, drenched. The girls kept saying "Thank you mum for a wonderful day."
We learnt that we don't always need the company of friends to enjoy a field trip out, and that family time alone can be equally enjoyable and satisfying, like warm soup on a cold day. :)
Nel enjoying photography.