In England · Parenthood

I Took Two to the Zoo

Banham Zoo tractor

I transfered the contents of the diaper bag to a backpack last Friday night. It was decided: I would take the two boys and GO somewhere.

A friend we were to meet at a farm had to keep her ill son home, so I made the last minute decision to go to the (closer) Banham Zoo instead. Visions of Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo danced in my head when I wasn’t admiring the yellow shocks of flowering rapeseed fields along the country drive. A mild panic settled upon me. It was Saturday. It was just me. Taking two tinies to the zoo. WHAT WAS I THINKING?! This was going to be nothing like our first family trip to a zoo.

Ultimately, that day was a perfect gentle entrรฉe into adventurous solo parenting of two. The day was overcast and cool. The parking lots were far from full. I ignored the “no buggies in the [toilets/restaurant]” signs because there weren’t enough people around to cause a traffic jam and Bertie was asleep most of the time. I could let Walden run ahead without fear of losing him in the crowd. There was no crowd.

Though far from the experience of Omaha’s zoo (recently ranked the “largest” zoo in the world), the Banham Zoo was quite nice. It was clean and well-presented, and it had the giraffes and seals Walden wanted so desperately to see.

Banham Zoo Train

Best of all? The zoo road train. It was a perfect bribe for getting my toddler to use the toilet. He sat so patiently waiting for the ride to begin. The look of delight on his face as we pulled away from the station was the highlight of my day.

Overall the trip was fairly smooth. The baby’s diaper didn’t leak, there were no (public) ugly meltdowns, and no one got hurt (no thanks to the kids at the playground).

I couldn’t be that goofy parent with the camera glued to my face, trying to capture every moment. While I wish I had more photos, I’m glad to have had more attention to give to our time together. I just wish someone would have snapped the moment when two goats jumped on me like dogs while another nibbled my leg, all while another ate a map in the bottom level the stroller and Walden was reaching out to touch another one totally unsupervised. Lesson learned.

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