Updated: May 15, 2020
The problem is my husband really. He embodies the word saunter and takes it to another level. He walks like a snail in molasses I often joke. My children have inherited the same trait. So when we set out to join other foster families on an outing to the Greater Vancouver zoo, last summer, we had no idea what we were in for. We probably should have turned around as soon as we got to the parking lot and noticed other families unloading their bicycles for their excursion through the zoo. I've never been to a zoo that permitted personal bikes. That was a big indication on the size of the zoo...that and the train that we could board to go through it.
I knew I didn't have the strength to pedal one of the four person bikes that were available for rent. So, armed with a double stroller, three children and a good set of walking shoes, I aimed to get my money's worth on this outing. It was our first time at the zoo. While we have been spoiled by some international conservatories, we had no idea what to expect at this local gem.
The zoo was spacious. It was easy to spend the whole day here. We decided the best plan would be to follow the animal exhibit tours that went from one animal to another with a guide and a show. This lucky plan ended up giving Denzel the opportunity to volunteer to feed the Lemurs.
Watching the lions being fed and the raptor birds of prey swooping overhead, left a lasting impression on the children.
We moved along to gentler experiences and enjoyed the giraffes, showcasing their black tongues as they were fed in close range
The kids enjoyed climbing on the giant animal structures and learning all about the wildlife I raised in Africa as a child.
After making it through most of the zoo, my children began to really slow down. So slow, in fact they just sat on the walkway. I could have hurried them along with bribery, but I'm learning to be still and watch the magic of patience happen.
Sure enough, in no time, I looked over and discovered they were building their own zoo out of pebbles. The pine cones became animals we had just seen and the grass was their food. Their play reiterated the words we had heard from the zoo keepers and from shows like the Kratt Brothers. It was magical to see the beauty of embracing my husband's daily mantra "just go with the flow". I was no longer jealous of the families on bikes that whizzed by. There was something inspiring about moving as fast as a snail in molasses.
I found myself joining in by stacking stones.
Once they were done, we made our way over to the petting zoo and Denzel went down the large inflatable slide they provided for children.
It was a big day for everyone. We bought food at the concession, and even though we were all tired, I still had to drag the children away from the playground at the end.
Next time we go, we will try this experience with our bicycles.