Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Riverbanks Zoo - Field Trip

For each of the children's birthdays, we offer the children an outing or a birthday party.  The mass majority of the time, the kids desire an outing with the family.  S's 7th birthday was no different... so to the zoo we went.

The Riverbank Zoo is in the process of adding new exhibits.  It recently built a bigger/better bear exhibit, along with an otter exhibit.  The otters are the first place we stopped!  The laughter that was heard from my children as they watched the otters play, still brings a smile to my face!

We then headed back to the African Plains to feed the giraffes.  A actually fed them this time, rather than throwing the greens at them!  Have you ever taken the time to really look at a giraffe's skin?  They are actually quite wrinkled animals!

We also stopped to see the zebras and ostriches.  We always find the animals' colorings fascinating... male ostriches are black and white, while the females are light brown!  And zebras are actually said to be black with white stripes and underbellies... Not white with black stripes!

After we left that area, we headed back over towards the farm animals.  We HAD to spend some time checking out the alpacas.  Ever since finding out what great protectors these animals are of others, including sheep and goats, I have really had an interest in possibly owning some.

We also decided it was time for E to have her first train ride... The driver was an absolute delight.  He actually seemed to enjoy his job, rather than being ho-hum about it!

One of my favorite animals to see are the koalas.  These marsupials are often called bears, but they are not within that family at all!  But here is also a picture of my little bear... just because ;)

The next stop was W's favorite - feeding the lorikeets.  Unfortunately numerous people had already fed the birds earlier in the day, so they were not overly hungry.  With that said, though, we still got a few to drink some nectar.  The one poor little fellow looked like he was bullied by some of the others :( W took extra good care of him though.

S wanted to go see the cats... So off we went to visit the tiger and lions.  While in the area, we saw the monkeys and bears.  The bears were pretty nestled into shallow holes, sleeping the cold windy day away.

The elephants, apes, and kangaroos are always favorites for us as well.  There is something fascinating about walking through the wallaby and kangaroo exhibit, with no walls or fences between you and them!  For those not sure of the difference, the wallaby is the fluffier smaller one curled up on the ground, while the kangaroos are the two sleeker looking ones in the other picture!

We headed to the small mammal area next.  In that area are lots of different types of monkeys, as well as the fishing cat, red tree kangaroo, and the tamarins, which I happen to love!

We also visited the bird house and aquarium, but for some reason I didn't take any pictures of those this time.

Overall, it was a fantastic trip to the zoo, though more crowded than we are use to!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Patriots Point - Field Trip

Patriots Point 

The first field trip of 2016 for us was to Patriots Point.  While we are not yet "there" in our history studies, my in-laws were down and this is where they desired to go.  What a fantastic trip!!!  They started the tour without me, so that I could feed E, but thankfully got some pictures for us!  Be forewarned... this post will entail LOTS of photos!

We then headed onto the USS Yorktown.  The USS Yorktown, also know as "The Fighting Lady" is an aircraft carrier.  The one exhibited was commissioned in 1943, and was named after the one that was lost when fighting against a Japanese fleet in 1942.  Not only was this carrier instrumental in the fighting in the Pacific against the Japanese and their ultimate defeat, but also served in the Vietnam War, as well as recovering the astronauts of Apollo 8.


There were five tours you could take once on the USS Yorktown, as well as the Hangar Deck.  We didn't quite get to all of them, as we were carrying around a sleeping 2 yo about halfway through, and I had to feed E, but we were able to go on most of them.  We first went up to the flight deck... gotta check out the aircrafts!!!

Then we went below... I'll post some of our more favorite/intriguing areas and pictures...

 Heading to the Chapel

I can just picture the men all lined up shaving for duty...

Seriously close sleeping quarters! 

 Dentist anyone?

That is a whole lot of ingredients and cookies!!!

We also went on and toured the USS Laffey.  This Destroyer, also known as "The Ship That Would Not Die" has a fascinating history!  It was named after the original one, which was sunk in 1942.  The one we toured was not commissioned until 1944.  It was attacked by the Japanese in 1945.  She was hit by three bombs, as well as two suicide kamikazes wrecking into her, and yet, she did not sink, and survived!  

The USS Clamagore was next.  This submarine was commissioned shortly before the end of World War II.  I was unable to tour this one, due to feeding E, but again they took pictures for me :)  What struck them the most was the tiny doorways and close quarters!

The oval in the middle of the picture is the DOOR!  Seriously!

For the final time we were there, we toward the "Vietnam Experience."  My kids have a huge interest in this time of history due to my father being wounded during the Vietnam War.  It is said to be set up in a manner as authentic as possible.

And as a final photo, I just had to add this gorgeous picture of the bridge as we got ready to leave :)

If any of you are in the area of Patriots Point, I would highly recommend you take the time to visit.  It can add up quickly, cost-wise, but is well worth it, especially for the history buffs!