Thursday, October 29, 2009

Jax Zoo Spooktacular

The Jacksonville Zoo runs a special after-hours event called "Spooktacular" in the two week before Halloween. It's Thursday though Saturday starting at 6:30 pm (zoo closes at 5), gates close at 9pm, but the park closes at 10. General admission is $9, or $8 for members, but you can save an extra buck each if you buy tickets online. There was a huge line of traffic to get in, so I recommend getting there right as it starts.

They close off some areas, but most are left in a winding path around the whole zoo. If your kids are little, I highly recommend a stroller because it is a long trail. The zoo asked the locals to donate jack o'lanterns to line the paths. Music and spooky lights make the theme complete. Candy stations along the way kept kids moving.

The indoor Amazon section was very nicely draped with spiders and webs. Just outside they had free facepainting (they asked for donations). Very cleverly they would stamp the outline on the cheek and them paint it in.

The pavilion field had four inflatable bouncy gym thingies. Staff members very kindly let Nicholas go to the head of the line after he had to leave it to go potty. There were also several snack stands along the way, and the main restaurants were still serving.
Along return of the loop were the Frog Prince and his Princess, an Egyptian tomb with a mummy, and (the kids' favorite) a pair of grumpy trolls with their hut under a bridge walkway.

The alligator section was crawling with pirates.

The kids had a great time....

Friday, October 23, 2009

Connor's: Even Better Than Last Year!

Last year I talked about Connor's A-Maizing Acres, and we went back on Saturday. Our last visit was during the last public weekend, and it was cold and drizzly, but we had a great time. This time the weather was gorgeous and the place was hoppin' so we got to see even more stuff. As most of the general info is the same, I'm just going to talk about the new-to-us experiences.

The corn maze was a good time- my double-wide jogging stroller made it through everything with no problems. There are 2 high wooden platforms with staff members supervising and to help find lost kids, and this year's clues were about 4-H which is celebrating a big anniversary in Florida. However, we weren't the only ones the clues didn't seem to work for. No matter, I just went where the kids wanted to go and once they got tired of walking in circles, we made our way back out.

One thing we definitely missed out on last year was the pig chases. You could register for one of the contests by age group and take your chances at a nabbing a squealer. Winners got a bag a chips. Miriam now says pigs go "WEEEEEENNNT!!! WEEEEEEEEEEEEENT!!!!!!"

These water pumps are used for rubber duck races:

The kids got a big kick out of climbing on (and jumping off) the huge hay bales put together to make tractors.

The cow train was again a big hit. The driver makes the ride pretty long, not just one of those puny circles.
At the barn you could feed the animals- 2 dixie cups of feed for 25c. To my amazement, Miriam didn't even hesitate to stick her little hand up to the cow's mouth.

We also got some pumpkins which were reasonably priced, considering they were shipped in from New Mexico. The joy of carving will be next week...

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Welcome to Indianapolis: Here's Your Sign

This past week I flew back to my hometown. While the circumstances that drew me there were not happy (a very dear to my heart Great Aunt had passed away), it was wonderful to see so many of the people and places from my childhood. Sweetening the deal was the 5 hour drive to Ohio with my parents and sister, just like the good ole days minus the fighting in the backseat. And also Brit's usual tendency to be carsick 30 minutes after the boredom got to her enough that she would attempt to read.

Also I left the kids back home with Mike- Buwahahaha!

Anywho.... Flying into Indianapolis International Airport and House of Pancakes is always a treat for me as I try to pick out the old landmarks. Some are more obvious than others. For instance, the woman behind me leaned over her travelling buddy during our descent and I heard her say (and I SWEAR I am not making this up):

"What is that? It looks like some sort of racetrack. Is that a racetrack? Oh my Gawd it's HUGE!"

Ya think?
Now if you'll excuse me, I have 8o loads of laundry to catch up on.