First, I must acknowledge that there was an incredibly awesome part of our vacation that I failed to document in pictures, but don't want to leave out. That was our stay with Aunt Debbie and Uncle Duck! Since we had to be in Detroit Friday morning, they let us spend the night before with them (they live a little closer than we do). Not only did we enjoy a wonderful meal and just spending time talking and laughing with them, but they have a pool. The kids spent hours jumping, swimming, and splashing. They also have a large collection of "dive buddies" - pool toys designed to sink to the bottom. Ryan was desperate to join the big kids in diving for the toys, so I would give him a push to the bottom where he would retrieve a buddy and then swim up where I would catch him at the surface (I usually was diving with him the whole time, but a few times he asked me to stay at the surface and I - nervously - allowed him his independence and gave him that space). He loved it - so much that sometimes I had to hold him back from diving down under so he could take a breath! When Allie got stung at the Lake House (and wasn't feeling up to much action), we watched a few of the Planet Earth movies. Ryan was especially intrigued by the water ones, so he was thrilled to be swimming like a "Scooper Diver" (scuba diver) in Aunt Debbie & Uncle Duck's pool! Allie was more nervous about diving down, but would stick her whole face in the water to search for dive buddies through the cool goggles they had!
Since we had to be in Detroit for our re-fingerprinting, and we wanted to extend our vacation a little longer, we decided to make it a full day and visit the Detroit Zoo. We've been to almost every other zoo in Michigan, and it is shocking that it took us so long to visit Detroit!
They have a butterfly house - Allie's favorite.
She was in heaven - although none of them landed on her like the one had on our hike.
Truthfully, I was tired and my brain was a it foggy. As a result, I was a total sucker and got talked into purchasing a ride package at the entrance. So, the kids got to do a lot of rides....
On the train! Their favorite.
Because the ride package included tickets for Lucas and I, but we weren't interested in riding the carousel, the kids got 2 rides. They were thrilled.
I loved trying to catch them and their reflections in the mirrors!
You might wonder what he is doing with his face. He is roaring. Because he is riding a T Rex. He roared every time he went by us!
This time, on the alligator, he made a nom-nom-nom sound as he went by - because the alligator would eat us.
The first time she rode sea horses. The second time she rode a triceratops. But most important was that she managed to be seated next to some big girls. She loves hanging with the "big" girls.
While the day wasn't especially hot, the kids kept complaining about the heat. Thankfully, the zoo has these mist stations. The kids loved being able to control the mist, and we all enjoyed the chance to cool down. It definitely ranked high on my list of pros!
Eating some of the snacks Aunt Debbie packed. Thank you, Aunt Debbie! They were a hit!
Honestly, looking back, I wish we had saved the zoo for its own day. Between jumping from the lake house to the hotel to Aunt Debbie & Uncle Ducks, the stress of dealing with Allie's reaction to the bees, and getting to the zoo late morning because we had already spent part of our morning going through security, waiting in line, and getting fingerprinted we started our zoo trip pretty exhausted. We have never had a zoo trip so filled with complaining, arguing, and whining - and not just from the kids! I know we would have enjoyed our time so much more if all we were doing for the day was the zoo. But we didn't. So we tried to make the best of it.
We did get to see some great animals. A few we have never seen at another zoo!
Grizzly bears! I've never seen any at a zoo before!
The very active tiger.
Crocodiles. As we left I called out, "After while, crocodile!" and my kids were sufficiently embarrassed by their nerdy mother.
We had a great time, but we were relieved when we pulled into our driveway. After a summer filled with travel and adventures we were happy to be home!