Tag Archives: travel

Boo-Hoo Zoo

I was a horrible role model on Thursday when I pulled my daughter from preschool for the day to take a trip 2 hours away to the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo. We live in Northwest Ohio and my parents live in Northwest Indiana. Fort Wayne is a good halfway point to meet up for a day trip. Every year we plan to meet at the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo, but this is the first time we’ve actually attempted it.

Lily was super excited about our trip to the zoo. She talked about throughout the whole ride there and was angry when I stopped at Fort Wayne’s Glenbrook Mall to meet my mom and sister for lunch before we headed to the zoo. “I don’t want lunch. I just want to go to the zoo with Nonni and Emi!” Lily wailed. I was anxious to get to the zoo too, but TGI Friday’s food trumps zoo food.

So we all had lunch together, piled into my mini-van to save on parking and headed for the zoo. And as we got closer we saw a big sign that said “Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo Opens April 23″.

It was April 7. Uh oh.

“That can’t mean it’s closed. Zoos are never closed! It must mean that the Children’s Zoo doesn’t open until April 23,” we said.

Except as the title might imply the entire Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo is, well, a children’s zoo.

We pulled up to a lot filled only with employee cars to find all sorts of construction, training and presumably animal care going on, but a zoo that was closed to visitors. No! We had all driven 2 hours to go to this zoo! How could we be so stupid to not check to see that it was open?

None of us had ever considered the fact the zoo might not be open. We’d never heard of a zoo that wasn’t open year round! But apparently the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo is only open part of the year. It makes a little sense because the children’s zoo at the Toledo Zoo is only open about 6 months a year too, but that’s only a portion of our zoo. We’re talking about a whole zoo that only functions 6 months a year. Where do the animals go in the winter? What’s the point of staying closed? I don’t understand.

Either way, we were out of luck. When I got home, I went back to the zoo’s website, which I had visited several times prior to our trick. To my horror, I discovered the front page had big bold letters announcing the zoo was opening April 23! I had missed it during several website visits and am the dumbest web user ever.

That said, I might have seen that it said the children’s zoo opens April 23 and not realized the zoo itself was closed. Maybe it should have said “Zoo CLOSED until April 23″. I might have been more inclined to notice that.

Whatever the case, we were out of luck and ended up at Fort Wayne’s Science Central instead. Science Central sucks. It’s crowded, and most of the displays are missing major components. We still had a great time because the main point was to hang out with family, but man, I wish that zoo was open. We played hookie to go to that zoo for nothing!

On the way home, Lily said “What happened to the zoo?” When I explained how we weren’t going, but might try again later this summer when it’s open, she said “I don’t want to go to the Indiana zoo. I just want to go to our zoo. Our zoo is open.”

Yes, it is.

Seriously, I never heard of a zoo that wasn’t open all year. I’m having a hard time getting my mind around the shock of it all. Why, Fort Wayne, why?!


Leave a Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The Climber

This isn’t a story about kids or toys. This is a story about my dog. Since my dog is 7, perhaps he qualifies as a kid?

Whenever we travel with the dog, we make plenty of room for him to sit in the van, even with our insane amount of luggage. We always clear out a  special place for him and I’m not sure why we bother. He never ever stays where he belongs. He tramples our luggage and crushes our snacks. He wrinkles any dress I might have hanging in the back by lying on it. He’s a good dog and he’s doing his best to stay calm and comfortable during long car rides, but really? Must he lie THERE?

This past trip, my husband made a special place for Lumpy to lie and then purposefully piled the luggage so high that he said it was protected and there was no way Lumpy could get up there.

He was wrong.

The highest spot in the car is clearly the safest and most comfortable.

Short of forcing that poor dog to ride in a kennel on our trips, would take up even MORE space in our packed van, there’s nothing we can do to stop him. He wins at car domination. He is unstoppable. At least this time he didn’t try to sit on the baby (that’s also happened).



Filed under Uncategorized

On Travel

How many much luggage does it take a family of four to get out of town?

Let’s just say we’d be screwed if we didn’t have a mini-van. Every time we travel, I swear we’re going to pack less stuff, but my children apparently haven’t gotten the message. You’d think they’d need less as they got older, but it’s actually 3-year-old Lily who requires the most luggage.

Her sleep accessories alone take up a whole laundry basket. We can not go anywhere without her five blankets and four stuffed animals.

She also requires that we bring a pack-n-play for her to sleep in even though she’d be far more comfortable in a bed. We’ve been encouraging her to sleep in a bed when we travel just like she does at home, but she’s gotten it into her head that she MUST sleep in a pack-n-play while we’re on the road. Times we’ve attempted to put her in a bed while traveling have gone horribly wrong. If I forget so much as her favorite pillow case, hysterics are involved at bedtime. We also need to bring certain toys for Lily or she’ll lose her mind. “WHERE’S WOOF WOOF?!”

Rose, on the other hand, can travel with just a pack-n-play, her clothes and diapers.

I’m trying to imagine a day when this gets easier and it’s just not coming to me. For now, packing requires long checklists and so much headache that I am baffled when I read that any family with small children actually enjoys travel. If our families lived nearby, we’d probably never do this to ourselves.

Please tell me I’m not the only one who dreads these roadtrips.



Filed under Uncategorized

For the Love of High Chairs

Over the weekend, my family took a trip to my hometown four hours away. When you travel the tollway with two little kids, those rest stops become like a second home. A home you hope to never see again, but know you are destined to spend hours at during each trip.

This trip, we spent a hellish hour-and-a-half at the Hardee’s/Red Burrito/Gloria Jean rest stop outside of LaGrange, Indiana. During our time in toll road oasis purgatory, I went out to the car three times and visited the restroom no less than seven times. My 3-year-old cried for at least an hour of our time there. It was about as awesome as you can imagine.

After our sixth trip to the bathroom, my daughter informed me she needed a pull-up because it was dark outside. That time I didn’t even open a stall for her. She just changed in the common area by the sinks. I had had it! If it were 10 degrees warmer, that would have been a car change!

While I was trying to manage the tantruming 3-year-old, I was also hunting for a high chair. Usually at a rest stop, there are plenty of high chairs to go around. At this rest stop, I couldn’t find even one. No one else was using one. I have a 1-year-old. A high chair is kind of a must.

I looked everywhere. Everywhere. No high chair. I looked again. No high chair.

How can a rest stop on an tollway not have high chairs? The restaurants were serving kids’ meals, but no high chair. It boggles my mind!

We set Rose up on just a chair and she did a pretty good job, but I was baffled the whole time we were there. Finally another family came in and asked me about the high chairs. They couldn’t find them either, so I felt like less of an idiot. They asked at the Hardee’s if there were any high chairs. The employee said “We’ll try to find one for you.”

As in, even the restaurant employees didn’t know where the high chairs were.

How does this happen?!

FIVE minutes later, FOREVER at a fast food restaurant, the employee brought a high chair out to the family from a mysterious hidden location.

Who the hell hides their high chairs? High chairs should be out for public use! It should not take five minutes for an employee to “FIND” a high chair!

I don’t understand!

The only reasonable explanation is that they might have been replacing their old high chairs and the new high chairs were expected within the next 24 hours.

Even this is idiotic. Why not keep the old high chairs out until the new high chairs get there? It’s a busy rest stop. I’m sure hundreds of people need high chairs there a day. How can you just not have them out?

It just doesn’t make any sense.

We won’t be stopping at THAT rest stop again. Or maybe we should so we can figure out this high chair mystery.


Leave a Comment

Filed under Uncategorized