Recently, our family took a day trip to the Houston Zoo. Jaden and Cody are at a fun age for zoo visits. I love their ability to identify most animals and their high level of enthusiasm about pretty much every animal we see. The boys had a surprising amount of energy that day and hardly rode in the stroller at all during our 4-hour visit. We let them be our guides, and they took this role very seriously ("Follow us, Mommy and Daddy, so you don't get lost!"). Their first request was to see the monkeys.
After seeing the primates, we visited the elephant barn and arrived just in time to see the elephants getting a bath. Cody and Jaden loved seeing how the elephants were bribed with apples. The boys thought it was just great when the elephant swallowed a full apple!
We didn't realize it before planning our zoo trip, but the day we visited was one of the Zoo Boo days. Many kids came to the zoo dressed in costume. Even though Jaden and Cody weren't dressed up, they were still allowed to trick or treat at various stations throughout the zoo. Not surprisingly, they loved the candy treats! Also, we stopped by the "pumpkin patch" station where the boys could select a small pumpkin to paint.
We had never used these paint markers before. It was a very handy way to decorate the pumpkins since the paint dried so quickly.
We're not in a great stage for posing for pictures, so here's our best shot of the boys with their completed pumpkins.
Then, we were off to see a variety of other animals.
Our boys loved getting to push the buttons outside some of the exhibits. This particular group of buttons taught us about the various ways rhinos communicate. The boys often got very giggly listening to the sounds and wanted to push the buttons over and over and over again.
We found a wonderful shaded spot near the Children's Zoo for our picnic lunch.
After lunch, we attended part of a show where the zoo keeper chose kids from the audience to complete certain zoo challenges. Neither of our boys wanted to volunteer for anything, so they quickly lost interest in this show.
But they perked right back up when we went to the petting zoo. Cody and Jaden loved using the brushes to pet these small goats.
The prairie dog exhibit was a big hit too. What fun to feel like we were (kind of) part of the habitat!
Daddy and the boys even went for a short carousel ride.
We ended our visit by playing in the zoo's splash pad. It felt very unusual for these former Montana kids to be playing in water in mid-October! The cool water felt great, though.
On our way out, we noticed that the sea lions were displaying their talents, so we stopped for this little show.
Jaden and Cody thoroughly enjoyed their zoo visit, so it made for a fun family day!