Family Day Trippin’- Earth Week Finale

I think we had quite a successful first Earth Week and was beyond pleased with how quickly the weather turned from snowy to sunny allowing us to spend the last part of the week and most of the weekend outside, enjoying the springtime. As an added bonus and grand finale of sorts, we took the kidlets to Colorado Springs on Sunday to do some exploring at Garden of the Gods and the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo.

Garden of the Gods is one of those places in our country that can take your breath away by just existing. Huge red boulders jut out of the earth at all angles, towering over spectators and tempting climbers of all calibers to reach their peaks. Once a stomping ground for dinosaurs, these incredible formations have also housed an ancient sea, long departed beaches, and expansive fields of sand dunes. These rock beds, despite being geologically young, have a deep and rich history which is still being written. Fossils of plants and animals from the Jurassic time period are intermingled with lovers initials that have been carved into the rock faces over the past 100 years. Swallows take up residence in small cavelike indents on the sides these towering rock giants that have eroded over time to provide a perfect nesting and hunting ground. Garden of the Gods is beautiful, there is just no denying that. But more so, it really has a way of making me feel incredibly connected to the past and provides a sense of wonderment about the future. That interconnectedness is soothing and subtle but very empowering and despite my exhaustion, I walked out of there feeling strong and at peace.

Zoren and Astoria had a great time climbing among smaller rock formations and watching the pros gracefully ascend to the peaks a hundred feet or more above our heads. Z was in his element at Garden of the Gods and already asking for a return trip before we had even left, although his priorities quickly shifted at the mention of our next adventure for the day.

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The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is a charming zoo that boasts a huge giraffe herd which roams around an area near the entrance and is definitely their biggest attraction. Visitors can buy handfuls of romaine lettuce and get up close and personal with towering giraffe heads. It is a cool experience for the kids and adults alike. Astoria was so excited to feed the giraffes and giggled profusely when one wrapped it’s long purple tongue around her hand to retrieve the romaine, then promptly announced that she was done. Zoren gladly took over her pile of romaine after he’d exhausted his own supply and fed giraffe after giraffe, laughing hysterically and loving every moment.

I am not going to lie, walking around that zoo was killer on my body. Everything is uphill and I was usually pushing a child in the stroller because one set of child sized legs was tired at every given moment that afternoon. Luckily, the abundance of adorable baby mammals made up for my aching hips and back. I got to watch the kidlets fawn over the two day old newborn giraffe and a sweet infant gorilla that rarely left is mama’s back. Astoria squealed with delight at a baby orangutan as it hung upside down, swinging wildly back and forth on some ropes, before climbing next to it’s mama for a cuddle session.

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We stayed at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo until closing time and made a brief stop at the gift shop so the kidlets could each pick out a small souvenir which was really a highlight for them. Zoren, true to his character, bypassed all of the cheap zoo themed toys and excitedly chose to purchase a new compass. He made it a point to explain to me that he was getting the compass so he wouldn’t get lost on all of his adventures and bug hunting expeditions in the coming summer months. Astoria, who spent the entire day carrying around her stuffed baby white tiger that was coincidentally purchased on our only other trip to that zoo when she was just a few months old, decided to purchase a baby giraffe to keep her and baby tiger company. She spent most of the drive home creating hilarious and incredibly imaginative conversations between her two furry friends, mostly involving the eating habits of each animal and her adamant disapproval of the baby tiger’s carnivorous tenancies.

All in all, we had a great family day trip and I am so glad we decided to go. Especially since that was probably the last spontaneous family adventure we will have before our little ninja arrives. The month of May is going to be a busy mess of house hunting, endless packing, and luckily some breaks in between to spend time with friends. Right now I am equally looking forward to, and absolutely dreading the next two months of our lives. There is so much that has to happen before this baby arrives and at this point we just have to hope and trust that things will fall into place. We will find a house to rent. We will get this house packed up. We will move. We will get the new house unpacked and set up. We will get through Zoren’s dance showcase in the middle of June. And we will somehow be ready for this baby to arrive in eight weeks, yikes!

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