Sunday, June 17, 2012

Zoo Montana. Literally.

If you ever decide to visit Montana, you can drive around and see these animals in their natural habitats, or you can hit Zoo Montana for a one-stop-shopping for all your animal-viewing needs.

I've known people to have problems with zoo's, I am not one of them. I believe they serve an important purpose. And as long as the animals are relocated for species survival, they might as well be viewable by people who might never get to see and learn about such animals otherwise. Like I said, though, Zoo Montana doesn't really fall into the exotic-animal-zoo category.

The first time I hit up Zoo Montana was with my mom during my first summer in Montana. It took us about half an hour, then we hip up The Montana Brewing Company for some booze.

I've wanted to go since Zoey was a newbie but then it didn't make much sense. It was difficult to find people to go with me, and then I eventually forgot because Zoey grew out of being a newborn and my life got way busier.

Now, with the weather so nice and Zoey's insatiable appetite for running here, there, and everywhere, my last week of part-time mom status was as good a time as any to hit up the state of Montana within a 5 mile radius. So we gathered the essentials - i.e. everything under the sun - and were off in search of animals.

 For her part, Zoey could hardly wait to get out of the car. She just about climbs in and out by herself, and tries to buckle herself in.

 Us girls in our shades.

What you don't see is that 5 seconds after this picture was taken, I - Mom of the Century - pulled one of these:

I tripped on a crack in the sidewalk and almost made us fall flat on our faces. Somehow I managed to recover so neither of us hit the ground but, I swear, it was the scariest 10 seconds ever. What made it even more special was that a delivery man happened to witness the entire thing.

 Showing me the leaf she found, already this trip to the zoo was off to an exciting start.

 I make fun, but it's all in good fun. In fact, Zoo Montana's size and relative un-busy-ness is what I most appreciate about it, especially since I'm now one of those mothers who can't control their toddler. Unlike Denver or San Diego, the zoo isn't packed with millions of people and their five double-sided strollers, so Zoey could have a little freedom to run and explore. I won't lie, though, it was a lot of work for 'ole Mom.

 On our walk with the animals.

 Just pretend my face is in the other hole. I'd photoshop but I'm not that slick. Plus, why should I do the work for you?

 Like every other zoo I've been to, this one was crawling with peacocks. This fine gentleman took a shine to us and followed us all around the compound.

 Love this picture.

 She was desperate to climb up it.

I tried to get her to walk away and said, "'Cmon, let's go see the animals," and she thought these were it.

 The bald eagle exhibit.

 This is where the grizzly bear lives.

 We just learned the grizzly bear is against the side wall sleeping and if we walk to the left a little, we'll get an up-close view. Sorry, there is no picture. It was a battle between me and the end of the memory stick all day.

 Notice Mr. Peacock back there.....

 What's up, Mr. Mountain Goat?

Zoey checkin' out Mr. Mountain Goat.

 I'm pretty sure this was the river otter exhibit. On the other hand, I could be completely wrong.

 Either way, he was pretty entertaining. Zoey loved watching him run back and forth along the fence, Lord - and science - only knows what he was doing (I don't know much about either).

 Found some more leaves.

 The White Wolf exhibit. Most of the animals weren't sleeping, just lounging; it was late morning.

 Afterwards, we decided to rest on the grassy knoll with a fruit pouch.

 For some reason, she crouched down and yelled, "Cool baby!"

 Writing about her various adventures on her own blog.

(In reality, clicking a lot of things that needed to be un-clicked)

The zoo was fun, offered a different from the norm, and was extremely exhausting. Next time, don't be a hero, Breanne. When they offer you a stroller, TAKE IT! It may not be as big as Denver or San Diego, but running around with a toddler can sure feel like it.