We arrived at the zoo in one piece, but Mama looked like a cranky marathoner. San Diego was experiencing some kind of heat wave that left temps soaring in the low 90s with like, 120 percent humidity. (that may or may not be an exaggeration). We were dripping with sweat by the time we got to the entrance. (Ironically enough, my clothes were wicking away the moisture). Brian and I were determined to show the Bear a good time, so after suffering through the bug house and the snake house, we set off on the Monkey Trail. We figured monkeys first, then hippos, and we'll cap it off with the tigers. I take great pride in my navigational skills and with our trusty zoo map, we were set.
Forty minutes later, we had seen three angry monkeys and not much else. Either the map was wrong or I was losing my eyesight. Everything that was there was supposed to be someplace else. The signs in the park were ambiguously pointed in various directions. Brian and I turned the map upside down, sideways, backwards...nope, nothing worked. We could not find the hippos to save our lives. We passed the gorillas, went through the restaurant, up several flights of stairs, and through the Aviary like, six times but no f'ing hippos. My arms ached from pushing the stroller, my legs were sore from the hills, and my mood had soured even more. And why the hell were we still in the Aviary?! I don't even like birds.
We were literally lost in in the Lost Forest.
By the third pass through the restaurant, Brian muttered, "We're lost. We are never going to find the hippos. I think the zoo won," and handed me the map.
"Oh heeeeeell no," I hissed at him. (Scotty was looking at the double decker buses with interest and completely ignoring us at this point.) My inner Clark Griswald was starting to emerge. "This is family fun time. We are here to have fun. We are going to have fun even if it kills us!"
What you don't know is that ever since a rather unfortunate incident involving coloring Easter Eggs several years ago, Brian likes to tease me about my desire for "family fun time." This more often than not involves putting my family in what appears to be nice photographic opportunities, despite the fact we are all miserable and no one is having fun. He likes to fake-yell at me during such events and say things like, "Shut up! We're having fun! Smile, dammit! Now go! Have! FUN!"
God, I did it again. Stupid zoo.
I, however, was in no mood for contemplation. I was just getting revved up and tenacity is my middle name. "The zoo may have won this battle, but it has not won the war!" I shouted at him. "We are bigger than this zoo! Be MORE than the zoo!" I grabbed the map and stalked off to the nearest zoo employee.
I'd like to think I didn't make a scene, but I'm sure we did. People were pulling their children away from us at an alarming pace. The nice women with the highlighter was happy to point out where we had gone so terribly wrong (you're supposed to go through the Aviary twice?) and even offered some road markers ("man with a hot dog cart") for added detail. I'd like to thank my husband for having the patience and flexibility to roll with the punches. I know, however, we weren't the only people lost because when a woman pushing a stroller with a sleeping baby and an overly-active toddler asked me where the tigers are and I told her, she promptly burst into tears. I think she was tired of the Aviary, too.
And just in case you are wondering, the hippos were dead asleep by the time we got there. Because honestly, only people having family fun time were dumb enough to be traversing through that heat.