Two years ago I took the kids to the Bronx Zoo for the first time. I took them on a Wednesday, which (unbeknownst to me at the time) is the free day, and the whole entire world goes then, and the trip didn’t exactly go as planned.
It took me a while to build up the energy (and desire) to take them again.
When we went two years ago my parents had given us a family membership so we could go whenever I wanted.
I decided not to renew it be cause we didn’t use it at all after that.
With so many of us though, it’s pretty pricey to take everyone (or even just most of us) to the zoo.
But since I have decided that this spring break would be a break of adventures, I willingly and knowingly took the kids to the zoo yesterday. On Wednesday. The free day.
And I’m pretty sure that will be our last trip to the Bronx Zoo for at least, um…
I had visions of an Instagram-worthy or reality show worthy (i.e. totally fake) trip. The kids would all have fun, they’d be mesmerized by the animals, they’d cooperate, and we’d leave with dozens of fond memories.
In reality, things were much different than what I had envisioned.
I knew better though. Most family trips are about 70% fighting/whining/arguing/complaining and 30% Instagram/Facebook worthy. If we’re lucky.
But this one was more like 90/10.
We did start this trip off much better than the one we had taken two years ago.
I knew where I was going this time and we got to the parking lot an hour after we left. I had packed lunches for the kids to eat, and they ate in the car on the ride there. We were meeting some friends too, so that made the trip a little more exciting.
We got out of the car and everyone had a full stomach and was excited to be at the zoo.
For like five minutes.
We stopped at the bathroom by the entrance before we did anything else.
There was a decent line to get into the zoo, but it moved quickly, and ten minutes later we found our friends.
It started raining as soon as we saw them, so we headed directly into the World of Birds.
It was about 4 million degrees in there, and every single person who had gotten to the zoo in the last twenty minutes was inside that exhibit to avoid the rain.
As soon as we walked in the door, Number 6 sat down and started crying.
“What’s wrong?” I asked him.
“MY FOOT HURTS!” he yelled at me.
Then he sat on the floor and refused to get up.
“HOW MUCH LONGER ARE WE GOING TO BE HERE???” he yelled.
“We’re only staying in this exhibit until it stops raining. It’s just a passing shower,” I told him.
“NO! NOT IN THIS PLACE!” he yelled.
HOW MUCH LONGER ARE WE STAYING AT THE ZOO???
We had literally been there for fifteen minutes.
“Um… we just got here,” I said to him.
“I HATE THIS PLACE!” he cried. “I TOLD YOU I DIDN’T WANT TO GO HERE!!!”
Yikes. It was going to be a long afternoon.
I took him out of the building, sat him on a bench and looked at his shoe.
“NOW MY PANTS ARE WET!!!! AAAAAAGGGGGHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!! WHY DID YOU GET MY PANTS WET?
I TOLD YOU I DIDN’T WANT TO GO TO THE ZOO!
THIS IS THE DUMBEST. PLACE. EVER!!!!!!!!”
The rain had stopped so we headed toward the seals. The seals are always a crowd pleaser.
“I HAVE TO PEE,” Number 6 said.
What. The fuck.
“You just went to the bathroom ten minutes ago,” I said to him.
“WELL I HAVE TO GO AGAIN!” he said.
“IT’S ALL YOUR FAULT BECAUSE YOU GAVE ME GATORADE!!!”
Kill me now.
I set the other kids up with my parents and my friend and headed off to find a bathroom.
It took all my restraint to not rip Number 6’s arm from his socket.
After five minutes of dragging Number 6 around in circles, we finally found the bathroom.
We made it back to our group and continued on.
“CARRY MEEEEEE!!!!” Number 6 whined.
“I’m not carrying you,” I told him.
“WHY WAS THIS SO MUCH FUN THE LAST TIME BUT THIS TIME IT’S
I was beginning to get a headache from clenching my jaws shut.
Around this point, Number 7 got an Incredible Hulk-like burst of energy.
She had a minor bike riding accident a week or so ago and she landed on the handlebars of her bike right on her chest. She gave herself a good burn/scrape.
She pulled up her shirt and yelled,
“LOOK GRAMMY! MY BOO BOO IS ALL BETTER AND MY NIPPLE DOESN’T LOOK LIKE SALMON ANYMORE!!!”
Oh my God.
Then she started doing cartwheels.
I didn’t let myself think about what exactly she was putting her hands into. I was just glad her shirt was all the way on again.
Now Number 3 and Number 4 were getting on each other’s nerves and Number 6 was on his seven thousandth sit-in.
“I’M NOT WALKING. CARRY ME.”
I couldn’t take him anymore.
Fully aware that what I was about to do was contributing to the problem, I told him I’d give him a piggy back.
That helped for about three minutes.
But his shorts were too slippery and he kept sliding down my back, and that was pissing him off and now he was whining again but now I was actually sweating and out of breath.
So I put him down.
Unlike our last trip, there was no grand finale. There was no final exhibit or ride or display that turned everyone’s attitudes around.
Between the crying and the whining and the refusing and then the kids giving each other flat tires and pushing and shoving and annoying, we came to our senses and decided it was time to go.
I forced everyone to take a picture before we left.
This pretty accurately depicts our trip:
I really wanted my kids to be those kids who LOVE going to the zoo (why, I’m not sure, but still, I wanted them to love it) but you know what? Most of them don’t.
And what Remember whens will they have from this adventure?
I’m not sure, but one thing I am pretty sure of is that we are done with the zoo.
I mean, why drive an hour to the Bronx?
It’s apparent we’ve got plenty of wild animals right here at home.