Saturday, May 4, 2013

Pretend with Me

We all know the weather has been fairly rotten around here.  We had those 2-3 nice, warm days, but wind/rain/snow has been the mix for far too long.  Today we decided to go on an adventure where we could pretend the nasty elements did not exist.  We went to the Como Park Conservatory.

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And, for the record, I don’t think this picture resembles any of my children.  Especially Austin’s sort of “evil” look.  But, it’s the only picture I had where they were all looking at me and it was sort of a crowded path so I didn’t think it was appropriate for me to hold up the line any longer.

We started off by examining some aquariums in the Children’s Discovery Center.  Austin never ceases to amaze me with his retention for animal facts.  We were looking for some poison dart frogs in one aquarium (they are often hard to find amongst all the tropical plants) and he excitedly found one and said “Oh!  These are the Panamanian Gold Dart frogs {don’t quote me on that}.  They are REALLY rare, thought to be extinct!”  I just kind of grinned and nodded.  Then I read the small print up above and he was completely right.  He said he thought maybe he heard it on an episode of “Nature” once.  Who says TV rots the brain?

We wound our way through the fern room and into this room.  I can’t remember what it was called but it smelled heavenly!

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Just ask Riley, who couldn’t stop herself from smelling everything!

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We decided we would plant some snapdragons this year.  They are fun little flowers!  I doubt ours will grow this tall, but they’re still fun!

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Ellie really loved the flowers above (azaleas?)

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The kids probably would have sat at the Koi pond for much longer, but we eventually had to drag them away to make room for the other kids who wanted a peek.

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The conservatory also had a bonsai tree exhibit going on.  I’m not sure if it’s always there or if it was a special exhibit but I really liked it.  Something about bonsai trees fascinate me.  This particular tree has been in training since 1955.  That person must have a very green thumb.  Incidentally, there is an “app for that”.  You can get an app on you smartphones where you can prune and take care of your own little digital bonsai.

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I thought our last stop would be the Tropics Trail.  It’s a beautifully humid area full of snakes and frogs and all sorts of creepy crawlies.  It’s well over 90 degrees in there.  Delightful.

And only at the Como Zoo will you find a Red Boa in a nasty old cooler with a thin layer of plexi glass being the only thing between you and him.  It’s my love hate relationship with the place.  Definitely close encounters with the animals, but the animals sure get the raw end of the deal.

At this point I would have been perfectly content to head home with my bones all warmed up from the hot steamy rooms.  But, we decided it was kind of dumb to drive all the way down there and not visit the attached zoo.  So, off to the zoo we went.  It was cold and miserable.  Only a few animals were out.  The rest were inside.  And the small buildings of the Como Zoo do NOT smell good.  Nonetheless, we got up close with a lion and a few other animals.

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Shortly after this we did convince the kids it was time to go.  I could have used one more quick trip through the tropics zone to warm up but we headed to the car instead.

It was a nice distraction from the dismal weather.  Hopefully we won’t need to pretend much longer.

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