Sunday, July 5, 2009

Long weekend fun.

Have I mentioned just how much I love my BFF Billie??? I'm pretty sure that I have, but just in case.... I LOVE BILLIE FLENER (and her hubby too!!!) Don't think I forgot you Jay! ;o)

A few weeks ago Billie called to say, "Hey, it's a long weekend comin' up and Emily (that's my niece, and her oldest) wants to see the Panda's. Wanna go to Memphis Zoo with us?" and I said, "I'm sure Mickey won't mind if I leave early but let me run it past him, just in case." Plus, it's really close to Tunica, Mississippi which is where the casinos are so we stayed for free because the rooms were comps that Billie and Jay earned. You can't beat a free stay in a hotel!
Here is a picture of Michael and the boys while we were waiting for Billie and Jason to get there with Eden, Emily and David. The parking lot fills up quickly.

Here are the kids enjoying the tiger exhibit. They had a male, female and white tiger. Their "habitat" was beautifully designed. There was a waterfall and shade trees. All amazing. Can you see the male laying in the shade behind the kids?

Look how close it looks to the camera. This isn't even zoomed in all the way. It's amazing that it feels like you can just hop in with them and take their pictures. The whole zoo is laid out this way.

Apparently, there are only 4 or 5 zoos in the United States that actually have panda's and not just any old panda but the really for real, china pandas. The black and white ones, not the red ones.
Their names are YaYa and LeLe. One male and one female panda bear. They were both just kinda lounging around. Of course, it could be because it was 97 degrees out.

I know this isn't a great picture, but this one didn't move the whole time we were in the panda exhibit.

I must say, Memphis Zoo is a terrific zoo. The exhibits are well thought out, there is shade at almost every exhibit, the ones that don't have shade have those misting poles that put out the fine mist to help cool you off and for every two or three outdoor exhibits there is an indoor, air conditioned exhibit. I won't say that I didn't get hot, because we all did, but it was still a wonderful trip to the zoo. Even when we had to fight with the boys and make them ride in the rented zoo stroller. By the way, I would love to have one of those things. You couldn't even tell they were in it, it was so easy to push! Also, the Memphis Zoo didn't have any of the ridiculous hills like the Louisville Zoo does and no wide open, empty fields full of nothing either. If it didn't take 6 hours to drive there, I'd go to the Memphis Zoo every weekend. Did I mention the Memphis Zoo is GREAT?!!

Here is another picture that isn't really great, but it does show just how close you can get to the animals. If this glass weren't here you could reach out and touch this beautiful mountain lion. She was laying in the top of her area and they have a look out spot so that you can go in and see her laying on top of her "perch". Like I said, simply amazing!

Here's another exhibit where you could almost reach out and touch. Not to worry.
The thought didn't cross my mind, especially after these two started growling at each other over this particular patch of shade. The snow leopard on the right was there first and had no intention of sharing her shade with the one on the left. (I don't know if it was a female or not, but it seems appropriate to assume it was.)

After the zoo we headed over to Mud Island in downtown Memphis and let the kids walk along the scale model of the Ohio and Mississippi river that covers are very large area and follows the river from the northern most points all the way to the Gulf of Mexico and into the ocean. If I had to guess, I'd say that it's probably about three city blocks long. You can wade in the water that flows along the path and I really wish that I had done that with the kids. It would have helped cool me down. Like I mentioned, it was really hot! In case you couldn't tell from the picture above.
The boys really liked riding in the "upside down train car" better known as the monorail to get over to the Mud Island park. Eden however, was not impressed. She's not a big fan of heights and the monorail travels across the Mississippi river a good distance above it. I would say at least 6 stories.

This is just a small portion of the model I was talking about. A big thank you goes to Michael for taking us all down there. His brother went to school in Memphis and he remembered going to Mud Island as a kid, so we went to follow in his childhood footsteps with our boys and Eden.

Trips like these are so trying with twin 3 year old boys, but it's so worth it to me that our kids will remember taking trips like these when they are older and for as much of a pain as it is to ride for long hours on a trip with them all in the car, the rewards are so worth it. They really had fun and Tyler is still talking about the trip and asking us questions. I think he just really likes to say the word "Mississippi". :o) Eden keeps talking about where we can stay the next time we go. I don't know that we'll go back to Memphis but I did enjoy the trip and the famous Rendezvous ribs. They were delicious! They didn't even bring me a knife and fork because these ribs literally fall of the bone they are so tender and juicy!

PS: To Billie and Jason, thank you both so much for taking trips like this with us and inviting us along. I know that we are not always the easiest people to travel with, but you guys always make us feel like you wouldn't rather be with anyone else. Billie, thank you so much for being my "knight in shining armor" when we came over to swim with you guys while Michael and Jay went out for a while. I honestly felt like hell had reached out and touched me and I thank you for being the angel that took care of my kids while I was in the restroom contemplating the best way to evacuate the demons that had apparently possessed my soul and were trying their best to kill me right there on the thrown! I love you girl! I couldn't possibly ask for a better friend. Well, I guess I could but they would just be like, "No, sorry, you can't have another, that's the best one we got!"


  1. You kill me girl....I love you too! We did have a blast. Except for the anal-retentive door man who would not let the twins see the State Puff Marshmallow Man. What a joke... My favorite moment with the kids was seeing Jacob trying to give the polar bear a high-five. That was too cute.

  2. Looks like fun! D.C. has legit panda bears, and had a baby born last year and it was a HUGE deal! All over the news LOL.