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June 18, 2011

Visiting Australia, Then and Now

…well, not really Australia (as the thought of crossing state lines with the girls can send me into quite a frenzy)…but the Australian wildlife reserve that’s about 30 miles from our house (and I can handle 30 miles)…

We took the girls on our first “field trip” of the summer this week, to a very neat Australian zoopark. We took the girls last year in June, as well. Actually more incredible than being up close and personal with a kangaroo was seeing how much the girls have grown in 12 months’ time!

Last year we left after the girls’ morning nap and lunch, which put us there in the heat of the day. This year we were able to head out first thing in the morning, which meant there was a lot less “glistening” in most of the pictures.

We still chose to push the girls in their stroller. The girls could have walked the park, but there’s quite a hike to get from the parking lot to the wooded park area that they wouldn’t have been able to handle…and I didn’t want to tote a baby and a ginormous bag containing a potty seat.



Last year the girls loved seeing the huge exhibit with all the different types of birds. They did this year, as well, although Baby B seemed pretty alarmed with how LOUD some of the birds were.

Last year, the girls were just as taken with seeing a dog (from the sheep herding exhibit) as they were any of the more exotic animals. This year they still loved the dog, a cow, and the sheep, but the swan – who we saw “taking a bath” (as the girls say) – probably topped their list.

Last year, we held the girls close to the kangaroos, but there was no touching. This year, Baby B would have liked to have hidden in my pocket when we got close to the kangaroos, but Baby A would have ridden one, I think, if she could have! She LOVED petting them, along with an emu.

This year we got to see a new exhibit, Cecil the tortoise. Baby B was terrified (in fairness, he was about their size!), but Baby A was pretty interested. Both girls continue to talk about Cecil…and remark that they saw Cecil the Turtle, NOT Grandpa Cecil (HA!).

But the biggest change this year versus last is that the girls are TALKING!!! Last year, I have pictures of them signing some of the different animals. This year we were having full-fledged conversations…and they’ve recounted much of those conversations over the past couple of days.

2010: Baby A, signing "hat"

2010: Baby B, signing "bird"

2011: The girls were ready to GO!

(One of the cuter exchanges was seeing a dingo exhibit, which looked much like dogs. I was telling the girls about the dingoes, and they immediately started singing “B-I-N-G-O”, one of their favorite songs. I kept trying to stress “Dingo”, but I’m not sure that concept took!)

Before we left, I helped the girls each choose a postcard, and I told them they could start a scrapbook of our field trips. I’ve gotta get on that this weekend, as they’re very excited about it!

And lastly, on the way home, it was dangerously close to lunchtime, and we’d skipped the girls’ mid-morning snack. This park is in the middle of nowhere, so our options were limited, but I had spotted a Pizza Hut on the drive in.

We treated the girls to their first buffet experience. Kids under three eat free, and our girls really got our money’s worth. I lost count of how much pizza they ate – as they were eating it as fast as I could cut it -- but at least it was veggie pizza! :)

In addition to the talking, and the walking, and the petting, it was so neat to see the girls sitting in real chairs, eating pizza, and drinking water from real cups.

In so, SO many ways…what a difference a year makes!!!


Julia said...

What an awesome field trip! That's so cool that kids can pet so many of the different animals!

Singing B-I-N-G-O---hilarious!

It's very cool that you contrasted this year's pictures to last year's. My goodness just look at the difference!

Sweet post, Mandy!

Marcia (123 blog) said...

I love the contrast between last year and this year - please do more of these :)

And I'll do one too... (just to keep you company)

They look like such big girls with their jean shorts, t-shirts and (what we call) takkies :) (sneakers)

And their hair is LONG!!!

April said...

I cannot believe their hair! My kids' hair is so short :) and its so fun to see the contrast in years! :)

April (

Beth said...

"What a difference a year makes" Ain't that the truth! While I get a bit sentimental, this is one example of things becoming more fun! I love seeing them become more involved and curious on our outings.
Looks like the family had a good time. Glad to see you are enjoying summer!

Andrea said...

What a fun post to read! Loved it! A year in a life of a
toddler is huge! They change so much, really is crazy!

On a side not : I have wanted to go to Australia since I was a kid. I loved their accents....thought it was the coolest thing! :) Still would love to go, but a lot more appeals to me besides the accent! :)

Mandy said...

It's amazing hte difference a year makes!

I'm exciting for our trip tomorrow! I hope it's half as nice!

Mandy said...

It's amazing hte difference a year makes!

I'm exciting for our trip tomorrow! I hope it's half as nice!

MultipleMum said...

I remember your trip last year. It is hard to believe it has been a year huh? They change so rapidly! Glad you had a great day with the natives :-) x

Holly Ann said...

It is truly amazing the difference a year can make! I was just thinking about that with my kids too.

Looks like you all had a fantastic field trip! I look forward to more of those this summer with my family too. :)

Barbara Manatee said...

what a great adventure! I think ages 2 & 3 are some of the best ages (at least so far) for the zoo. We had a family pass when the twins were 2 and we got our money's worth! I think we went no less than a dozen times that summer!!

Hope to make it to a few this summer. Already got one trip planned to Detroit and hoping to get in a couple other new ones :-)

reanbean said...

It sounds like such a great exhibit. My guys would definitely love going to something like that. And it is so amazing how much our children grow in just 12 short months. I'm guessing by next year you won't be taking that stroller along (or at least not using it much). We'll see...