Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Zoo at Los Verdes

Isabel was such a great help on our outing today

For the past year I have toyed with the idea of taking our kids to the zoo at "Los Verdes" and finally today I did. Before I describe the experience I must first explain the irony of the name. "Los Verdes" literally means "The Green Areas" and is called thus because there are a few scraggly trees here and there, and even one semi-private picnic area with a couple of swimming pools. The area is not, however, truly "green" nor is the zoo itself "green" - it couldn't possibly be since we are talking about a zoo in the middle of the driest desert in the world!

What it is, is very hot. The sun is fierce and so bright that it's hard to see some of the animals in the exhibits because the glare blinds you. And whether or not the zoo is hospitable to its animals I can't say, but it is definitely quite hospitable to its insects!

In one [disgusting] word ... FLIES.

Hundreds of them. Biting bare skin and congregating on my little boys' stroller, especially in the sippy cup holder. Ewww! I hadn't gotten twenty feet from the entrance before I turned around, took Ian and Alec out of the stroller and stashed it - unfortunately along with many of its flying visitors - back in the trunk of the van. From there on the little boys walked or were held, but I just couldn't stand the idea of their little hands touching the hordes of nasties that were glued to that stroller. (Needless to say the stroller underwent a complete disinfection upon our return home!)

the parrots pleased the kids by saying "hola"

Despite the unfortunate beginning it was still a good visit, as some of the animals were actually very beautiful and interesting. A new black bear cub, about seven months old, entertained the kids with his climbing antics and playful wrestling with his momma bear. The small zoo had around six mountain lions (most of them rescued from northern Chile apparently.) A puma, an ostrich and some llamas rounded out the bigger animals and then there were ducks, rabbits, parrots, small monkeys, lambs and roosters to observe.

visiting Mr. Ostrich

who incidentally has the hugest creepy eyes

Besides our five kids I also had Kari Spink, our colleagues' daughter, who is one of Eva's best friends. The two of them claim to be nature lovers and have great plans to become veterinarians someday. They, along with Owen, kept up the faster pace at the zoo while Isabel and I managed the little guys (although Ian seemed to think he was quite capable to be counted as one of the big kids and did his best to keep up!) Isabel was a great help with Alec, patiently holding his hand as he waddled behind the group and carrying him when the going got rough. She was also my backup photographer and thanks to her I even managed to be in a picture or two on this trip!

good friends Kari and Eva

Isabel wanted a picture of the bunnies

Owen seemed to enjoy the visit to the zoo even though he unfortunately fell into an "in between" spot in the group, not quite big enough to chum around with the girls but too big for his little brothers. On a couple of occasions he tried to help discipline Ian and Alec by swatting their hands when they came too close to an animal's fence, but that only resulted in reciprocal swats and a trio of angry little boys!

Owen taking a break

All in all it was an okay experience, although one that I don't imagine we will repeat too soon. Perhaps I am more germophobic than I realized because every time my little guys stuck their hands into their mouths I cringed thinking of everything those little fingers had come into contact with on our walk around the zoo. But I am glad we gave it a try and look forward to introducing the kids to a bigger and better experience someday elsewhere. :)

Mommy with the little boys


Santiago & Ruth Arteaga said...

I know this is a random comment, I'm Ruth Arteaga, missionary in Quito, Ecuador (found your blog via Lauren Tomas who requested prayer for you guys after the earthquake in Haiti). And now I read your blog, even though I don't know you! :-) Just so you know - our little zoo here in Quito is the same way - little gnats that bite you (have to go with long pants and long sleeves) and flies - ewwww! I don't think you're a germophobe at all! I'd be the same way - your family is adorable!!! blessings to you!

Life with Kaishon said...

I loved your zoo outing :) Kaish is all about zoo's! Oh Stephanie? Germs bother you? Get out of here. I think they used to bother me too but now, you should see where I work when I am court. Oh my gosh! The germs are SO overwhelming. I try not to think about it!

I am not a huge fly fan either.

Thanks for praying for Kaish. It was a very traumatic day. Very, very traumatic.