Sunday, January 4, 2009

Jacksonville Zoo

Last year, we got an annual pass to Sea World and enjoyed visiting the park several times over the year so much that we decided to repeat the experiance. However, this year, we downsized a bit and became members of the Jacksonville Zoo.

We went on January 2nd for the first time. My brother, Jack, was visiting and came along for the trip. He is not an early riser but we convinced him to get up at 9 to join the fun.

The zoo is a nice size, not to big or too small. In addition to the animal exhibits, you can do all sorts of neat things like feed the giraffes, pet the stingrays, ride a train or carousel. We didn't do most of this our first time out. Have to pace yourself you know.

They also have several areas dedicated to children. Including a play area in which you can care for goats by brushing them. Will had a great time brushing the goat. I'm not quite sure how the goat felt about it but they were very patient with the children running around.

Christmas Day

On Christmas morning Will woke up to find that Santa had come, eaten all the cookies and left him presents. He had fun uncovering the treasures in his stocking. He is now okay to share his cookies.


Earlier in the month, Chris and I started talking about Santa with Will. We'd tell him that Santa would bring him presents and that we needed to leave him cookies.

Once we asked Will if he was going to leave cookies for Santa. Will got very upset and told us that no, he wouldn't leave cookies, Santa couldn't eat his cookies. He was appalled at the suggestion. Fortunately, we discussed sharing our cookies and as you can see in the picture, he left cookies for Santa and didn't even sneak a bite.

Christmas Eve

We celebrated Christmas Eve this year by going to the early service at church and then coming home for chili and presents. We continued the usual tradition of opening presents on Christmas Eve and Will quite enjoyed it. He was a very lucky boy this year and received lots of neat gifts.

Some of his favorites were his Lincoln logs, a petting zoo play set, play tools, play doh, a Thomas the Train phone and best of all, a Gator football! Chris and I had way too much fun watching Will tear into his gifts.

Sea World.... one last time

On December 20th, we made one last journey to Sea World before our annual pass expired. As always we had lots of fun.

We have gone to the Shamu show each visit this year and each time it is a little different. This time, Baby Shamu came out and briefly performed. It was very cute. He came out with his mom and both waved to the crowd. The trainers then asked both to turn in a circle. Mom turned around in a circle and Baby waved. The trainer went back to Baby and asked again and this time he turned around. Then the trainers asked both Shamu's to come up on the platform like they are in the picture. Mom, of course, did it right away but Baby just waved. The trainer asked again and both did a perfect pose for the camera.

We also took a ride on the flamingo paddle boats because it looked like fun. The tickets were an additional charge but we thought, why not. Will was very excited and put on his life jacket and was ready to go running down the dock. As we got into our flamingo, the lady told us to return the flamingo in twenty minutes. There were no timers on the flamingo, so we were concerned about how we would know it was time to return the boat.

It turns out that that wasn't really a problem, because, you know, paddleboats are hard work. Chris and I were peddling our little legs off, sweating like crazy in our foam life jackets. Will was sitting in between us having the time of our life. We most definately returned the boat within our aloted twenty minutes.

We also found these drums in the kid section. Will ran right up and started banging away. He kept running from drum to drum. I thought he was wanting to try each one. Chris pointed out that he wanted to bang on the yellow drum but other kids were playing on the two yellow ones. Eventually one of the kids left and Will ran straight to the yellow drum and stayed there. Happy to beat on his favorite color.

The end.

Oh Tannebaum!

We got a live Christmas tree this year. I think it is about the biggest we have ever gotten (still only about six feet) and it takes over about half of our small living room. However, it is just beautiful and Will loves it. He helped to put the ornaments on the tree. He took it very seriously and worked very hard to place each ornament carefully. Over the next few days, he continuted to rearrange the ornaments until he decided that the placement was just right....or, more likely, the novelty had worn off.

Morningside Nature Park

Back on November 16th, Chris, Will and I met up with Will's friend from school, Lucas, and his parents at Morningside Nature Park in Gainesville. Morningside has a living history farm with the original farm buildings and animals. We went to a program at the park where the kids can come and feed the animals.

Will was not too keen to actually feed the cow. We think that the first time he gave Penny, the cow, some hay Penny licked him. He was convinced that she bit him and we could not convince him otherwise. He did have more fun feeding the chickens. Mostly because he was encouraged to throw the corn at the chickens. The farm also had pigs, sheep and goats. We didn't feed them all as there were quite a few kids there and it was getting chilly. We did get to visit each of the animals and delight in their existance.