I don't remember mine, the first real memory I have of the Zoo is going to the Dublin Zoo when I was seven, and as my Granny and Pappy took us, I'm shamed to admit that my main memory is of the sweeties.
My kids had their first Zoo trip this week, a celebration for my little boy's birthday - and it makes my heart sing how much they truly loved it. I'd put it off thinking they were too young (2 & 4) to really enjoy the zoo - but they completely proved me wrong.
On the way there we told them about it:
"And we'll see tigers and lions and seals and-"I gushed.
"And frogs?" my Sprocket interjected.
"And frogs, and gorillas and meerkats and-" I reassured and hurried.
"And frogs?" my Sprocket double checked.
"And frogs." About then I began to wonder if we shouldn't just go to a nearby stream rather than do the four hour round trip of driving.
But we did see frogs. The Sprocket did the rounds of the frog and reptile house four times.
Later he stood and watched the platypus for what seemed like hours. Ignoring us adults who wanted to hurry up so we could see everything, he just stood and watched and watched the playful swimming.
And o - the butterfly house - the joy and wonder when butterflies landed on my Sprocket's shoulder or finger.
The Zoo has changed so much since I was a kid, the enclosures are so much larger, and so well thought out and so many of the animals seem so much happy. Compared to often short, brutal lives in the wild, this life free from predators, complete with room service seems in many ways a blessing.
My Poppet had her cousin for company as we wandered around, and the two girls, only six weeks apart in age, hugged and kissed and held hands, the best of friends, and so beautiful to see, almost more interested in each other than the animals.
We definitely have another Zoo tripped planned for soon.
Today I'm joining with 52 Weeks of Grateful to give thanks for the fantastic opportunities we have to see the wonders of nature up close, for all the work the zoo people put in to making the enclosures so much more enjoyable for the animals and so magical for us. And for the joy on my kids faces as they experienced the zoo for the first time. Here's hoping they remember the magic!
What are you grateful for this week?