So, my plan was to wake up Saturday at 8 a.m. and be on the road by 9:30 to be at the NC Zoo by 10:30 to see the Parade of Puppets at 11. Then I figured we could look around at the animals, have lunch, and go home.
Yeah, it didn’t happen like that.
First off, our departure was delayed trying to get everyone up. Then someone decided he needed a shower. Then there were missing socks to be found. Then someone reminded her daddy that he promised Bojangles for breakfast, and she just had to have it, so we did.
At the zoo we didn’t really know where the parade was going to be (my fault) and picked the wrong end to start at being that the parade was taking place on the bridge at North America, and we were on the African side of the park. The parade would be starting, oh, right at that moment, which was 11 o’clock.
OK, so I resigned myself on not seeing the parade since I doubted either of my kids would make it until 2 o’clock, which was when the next one would be. But there was a puppet making activity in the Akiba Market so I encouraged my daughter to have fun and make her own puppet. This was fun, but she wanted to also visit one of the souvenir shops to spend her allowance before going to see any of the animals. It probably was the best idea to do it that way since we were always too tired to go after we saw the animals. So, in we go to spend more time than necessary to finally walk out with a little stuffed manta ray.
We make it to the first viewing spot to see the giraffes and zebras grazing. A quarter is plunked into the money eating binoculars just as we are about to move on so, of course, we have to stay to use up all the time. Finally we are about to walk towards the Red River Hogs when like an idiot I look down into the stroller basket and notice the handmade puppet missing. My daughter and husband go on a search mission. I’m thinking they’ll back track, retrace our steps and come back with or without the puppet.
Five minutes pass, and my son is growing restless.
I text my husband. Thank you, modern technology. He texts back that I should just meet them back at the entrance where they are waiting for a ranger to return the handmade puppet, which they had asked about, and yes, was found. What?! But I turn the stroller around and head back to the entrance to meet them with my 3 yo screaming because he knows we are going the wrong way.
Puppet back in hand we head in the direction of the elephants instead of the hogs since we didn’t get to see them last time. As we are walking acorns are falling, and the ranger makes a comment about needing hard hats. This makes us all chuckle until one of those acorns hits my son in the face, making him cry, and leaving a red welt. I swoop into mommy mode to sooth and comfort. All is well and we continue on.
OK, about half way to the elephants my daughter declares she has to go to the bathroom. BAD. The nearest bathroom is back at the entrance as we haven’t even gone a quarter of a mile into the park yet, but then my husband points out that if we do that we might as well leave. I suggest that we fast walk to the next bathroom, which means we miss seeing the elephants, the rhinos, and the baboons. We do this.
Now, it’s lunch time and we are all inexplicably hungry. Didn’t we just have a late breakfast? Whatever, we need to eat again. And have ice cream. So we just quick walk again to the center of the zoo to Junction Plaza for lunch . By the time we finish eating it’s 1:30.
What?! How?! Fine, then let’s find out where the Parade of Puppets will be.
The ranger we asked didn’t seem very clear on that, and didn’t bother checking in on the walkie he had hanging on his hip. So, I nonchalantly walk into the souvenier shop to ask one of the clerks. There are two clerks and neither one of them has any idea what I’m talking about. The Parade of Puppets was announced on the website, Twitter, FB, the membership newsletter in my email AND there is a freaking sign at the entrance! But whatever, one of them calls the main office to find out what I need to know. Thank you very much, and we are fast walking pass every animal exhibit and enclosure to get to the North American bridge where we arrive just in time to see the Parade of Puppets.
I was not disappointed.
*Photos: 1) The handmade puppet menace. 2) The acorn of doom and a quarter for size reference. 3-8) The Parade of Puppets.