2.23.2009

A day for play


The kids were off of school today.  Teacher in-service, or something.  The only thing I knew was we were NOT going to spend it watching TV, playing our DS or complaining "we're bored"  I packed the weekend with activities to keep us busy.  Friday was family movie night, Saturday was the children's museum and a walk through the shopping area that is Downtown El Paso.  Sunday was supposed to be the Art Museum, however, I was vetoed, so we spent almost 2 hours in Barnes and Noble.  Book Stores are so much fun!  Today was the day for the zoo.  It was perfect, since everyone else was in school the zoo was almost completely ours.   Now the zoo in El Paso only has 200 animals, so no it is not a big zoo.  It takes only about 2 hours to complete the entire circuit.  They are expanding, unfortunately we will not be here to see the finished results. Regardless the kids had a great time exploring the zoo and discovering new facts about the animals.  We saw the Mexican wolf, the sun bear, the Bengal tiger (looking ever so regal), various birds, elephants and finally the sea lions.  The sea lions are a favorite among my children.  It is one of only 2 shows put on at the zoo.  We were unable to see the show today, so we wondered down to the underwater viewing area.  The zoo has 4 sea lions, 1 male and 3 females.   They were very active today, perhaps the warm weather had them hoping for spring as much as the rest of us.  Whatever the reason, the sea lions were busy, swimming happily around their tank.  

The underwater viewing area consists of one large window about 6 ft tall X 15 feet across, some seating and a couple small salt water tanks.  The kids ran to the window.  They were so excited they couldn't get there fast enough. Several of the sea lions would rub up against the glass as they swam by, igniting a laugh out of Emma every time.  Soon, one curious female came up to them to visit.  I was stunned by her outgoing personality. 

 It was as if she were saying, "And who might you be?"  She had many different, "faces"  you could say that she would flash at the kids.  There she would be one minute looking inquisitive, the next she would look sad and bashful, then before you could blink she would be back to playful and mischievous.  She was incredible.  Very entertaining.  We could have spent longer, than the 40 minutes we did, playing with her. 
 She would play peak-a-boo with the kids.  She caught the pretend fish they threw her way.  She even played chase as they kids ran back and forth in front of the window.  

And she absolutely loved to hang upside down.  The other visitors were just as mesmerized as I was at the playful banter between the sea lion and the human children.  She certainly touched my kids in a way no other zoo exhibit has before.  Certainly, she was just a curious about the kids in the holding tank as they were of her.  They communicated through play, laughter and love.  It was a joy to behold.  The appreciation of nature and of life.  Truly life is full of little surprises.
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