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Grandpa had a great idea for today.   It was a beautiful winter day in Seattle with no rain.   We decided to go to Woodland Park Zoo.  It was a smashing hit.

They came smiling in through the trees.

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The Whole Gang

I loved that a zoo volunteer saw me taking pictures of the four of them and asked me if I wanted to be in the picture.  This happens so rarely.  I jumped on the opportunity.

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Hippo Hangout

The two of them were pretty apathetic to the real life hippos, but enthralled with this one.  Chase sends out feelers by running his fingers over almost everything before he jumps in whole-heartedly.  He ran his hand over the ear and said, “Look mommy, they turned the hippo gold!”  He then climbed on the back and settled in for some quick pics!

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Asian Elephants

I wanted my mom to capture me with the kids with the elephant behind us.  Emma was with Grandpa and didn’t get to us in time, so it is just Chase and I.  I loved how Chase noticed that the elephants had small ears.  It was a great learning point.  The elephants at our local zoo are African and have the big floppy ears.  He cocked his head as he processed, and then said “Oh” and went running to our next destination.  The lions!

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Talking About Lions

This male cub was HUGE

This male cub was HUGE

Chase and Emma had so much fun looking at the animals.  They both adored the baby giraffe and the elephants.  HOWEVER, we got to the lions and Chase kind of switched gears.  He ran away from the exhibit and said, “I’m scared.”  I walked to him and held out my hand.  He held tightly until we passed the open exhibit (I think he was worried that they could climb out, I know that thought entered my mind).  As we left the lion exhibit I noticed that he began to stim.    I remember the first time I took him to an occupational therapist.  She told me that I had to stop him from stimming.  She wanted us to get rid of his trains, and stop him physically from making the noises and moving the hands.  I never went back to her.  He uses his pretend train to deal with uncomfortable moments.  It soothes him.  Makes him happy, and then once he is happy he continues to do it because for him it is fun. ( Granted it can be kind of dangerous at Walmart, and we do try to leave the store as soon as he begins – he is famous for chugging in a straight line and heaven forbid you are in front of him.  He doesn’t go around.  He stops, looks up at the stranger and as loudly as he can toots his horn.  At this point I gently steer him around the person.  I used to apologize, now I just smile.)  Today the zoo was pretty empty, and he had free range.  As long as I could see him I allowed him to zip through the zoo today, and he stayed in character – until we got to his favorite type of exhibit.  The penguins.

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Feeding the Penguins

I have to say that today’s favorite activity was getting to feed the penguins.  The zoo in St. Louis doesn’t have this wonderful option, that I know of.  Grandpa forked over $10 for 8 fish.  Emma felt a bit squeamish about holding sardines.  Chase went in with gusto.  I even had the opportunity to throw a fish.  LOVED IT!!!!

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From Train to Penguin

After that Chase became a fisherman, and when we finally talked him out of getting out of the boat he turned into a penguin.  He walked with his wings flapping and when everyone started to hold hands he insisted that Grandpa hold his elbow – although he called it his wing.We spent a little over an hour at the zoo.  We only saw a handful of animals, but to tell you the truth – we didn’t need to.  We focused our energy on our favorites, and left the zoo happy, not overly tired like we normally do.  Chase informed Grandma and Grandpa as we left, “Now you have to come to my zoo!”  Grandma said, “Yep!”
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