Sunday, August 18, 2013


For Tyson's GOLDEN Birthday, we decided to let him participate in Camp Zoo. 
When he was 2, he would watch Planet Earth and cry when the wildebeast would get eaten by the crocodile, and then he would bounce on the edge of the recliner and YELL, "GO, GO, GO, GO, GO!" to the caribou being chased by a wolf.  Let's not forget to mention last year's smashing success of a BUG MUSEUM.  Now days, he watches Animal Planet without fail every time he gets a chance at G'ma & G'pa Tenney's while I need to work in their office. 
This child ADORES animals.  So, we decided to let him do a Zoo Camp, and boy did he love it.  I think my favorite quote of all came when he was telling Grandma Borden about his Camp Zoo experience.  She asked him, "Do you want to be a Zoo Keeper, now?"  And without hesitation he responded, "Nooooo!  That's way too much!"  Apparently he'd much rather like to be on the Safari's catching the animals instead of taking care of them.
This was the only picture I got of Tyson while he was there.  He had exclusive access to the animals and learning with his group, so I didn't get up close pics of anything to document his experience, but boy did he learn!  He got to...
  • Feed flamingos IN THE CAGE
  • Feed the Tortoise and pet him IN THE CAGE
  • Feed the elephants IN THE CAGE
  • Throw bags of food into the monkeys
  • Throw stinky things into the Coati cage as an experiment
  • Make animal crafts
  • Meet a black widow & tarantula up close
  • Learn that the head of a spider is called a "cephalathorax"
  • Learn that the 4 types of webs are funnel, blanket, orb, and...sphere?  I'll have to ask him for sure when he's awake. :)
  • Learn about bird nests:  cavity, cup, ... and there are other kinds
  • Read books about animals like pack rats & make pack rat art
  • Have a WILD time
    While Tyson was off experiencing Camp Zoo, Emmett, Miles & I had our OWN Camp Zoo...5 days in a row!  We had a lot of time to kill waiting for Tyson, and since there were going to be 5 full days, we took the Zoo at an extremely leisurely pace.  Miles can't talk, yet, so Emmett got to choose EVERYTHING.  By the end of the week, I felt like the entire nature of my mother-son-relationship with Emmett had changed for the better.  It's like he trusted me more, he had the kind of attention he needed from he, he was less whiny, and he could reason better when I enforced rules or told him no if I needed to.  It was awesome!  It reminded me of the conference quote that LOVE is really spelt T-I-M-E, and I'm so grateful for that time we had together, because it truly did make a difference.

 Don't let this picture fool you.  He didn't actually feed the Stingrays.  He just took a picture like he was going to and then he made ME touch the dead fish with the fish eyes STILL STARING AT US as the stingrays vacuumed it out of my hands.  Yikes!  It was fun and super gross.

 Tyson's awesome tortoise craft.  It makes me giggle!  Isn't that ruby like a tongue sticking out at you? I love it!
 Miles' first experience at the Petting Zoo...maybe it was Emmett's first time, too.  :)

 That fish is so BIG!

Okay, we got Miles to look cute.
And here's a "good" one of Emmett.

No one I invited was interested in killing time with us at the Zoo, even though it was FREE for them with my extra pass, and even though there was a Splash Pad to help us stay cool, EXCEPT for Jodi.  She wasn't afraid to brave the Zoo with me in the dead of Summer on one of the days.  Haha!  Gotta love her!  (Side Note:  I should probably mention that Tina DID spend time with us, and totally went out of her way to meet us at a Harkins Theater where we could have A/C and enjoy the Summer Movie INSTEAD of staying the entire time at the Zoo waiting in the heat, which I TOTALLY appreciated.)  But essentially what I'm trying to say is that I was a little bit surprised when the reality sank in that when it's 110+ degrees outside, no one really cares if there's a Splash Pad, or if it's FREE, or if you're the "coolest" person in the world to be with, they just want to STAY OUT OF THE SUN so they won't shrivel up & die like a raisin.  :)  So for the most part, we just braved it ourselves, and Emmett got to call all the shots every day.  We survived the heat, and now we have some awesome memories, too.

Miles has opinions about taking pictures when he just wants to look at the animals.  :)
"Mommy & Me" time at our OWN Special Camp Zoo.
The Phoenix Zoo has remodeled in recent years, and now the only way to exit is THROUGH the Gift Shop.  That's a little annoying when you have 3 kids who are enamored with the gifts in the gift shop and when you have to pass by all the shiny toys EVERY DAY of Camp Zoo before you leave.  I told the boys that if they were good, and if Tyson listened for his teachers, that on the LAST day they could pick something from the gift shop.  Boy, was that final trip through the gift shop a fun adventure!  Tyson got a lantern to go with this Safari Backyard Adventure Gear that he got for his b-day, and Emmett got this pack of animals.  He wanted to take a picture of them by the Gilbert Temple.  I actually went to the Gilbert Temple that day to get pictures of the boys, but after a week of eating, sleeping, and dreaming at Camp Zoo, is it any wonder that we would have to do a photo shoot with the animals, too?  Besides, maybe it's a little symbolic of the Creation--animals pay tribute to the Creator, and have a part in His great plan, too.  We are so fortunate to have a world that is so beautiful and edifying.  I know there is a God, and everything about Science and Nature just reinforces the truths of His majesty and glory to me.  I'm so grateful for the gift of this Earth, for all the animals in it, and for the way it blesses my little family.
Yay for Camp Zoo!