Lions, Orangutans, and Polar Bears Oh My!

Last year we had an amazing experience that I was looking forward to ever since knowing I found out I was going to be a Dad. It may seem simple, but perhaps I’m at a particular age that still finds the whole thing facinating and exciting all the same as an adult as I used too when I was a kid. We went to the Zoo.

The one in particular we went to last summer was Elmwood Park in Norristown, PA. It’s a fantastic little place. If you want a bunch of cool stuff to do and animals to see, but don’t feel like doing the “long trek” that is the Philadelphia Zoo, by all means go to Elmwood. It’s cheap (free parking), small (for a zoo), and they’ve got great programs for kids. Once we were there, the bug had bit us, so to speak.

So this year, with the help of my parents, we decided to get a Membership. However, we got a membership to Philly Zoo instead of Elmwood. It’s not that we don’t love Elmwood, it’s closer and as I said above, great for kids. But the expance, history, and number of creatures at Philly is amazing. Plus it’s the one my wife and I went to as kids. Every time my family went we would take a picture with the Penguin statue, and there are endless photos of my wife and her sister as kids seeing monkeys and whatnot. Philly as a city has a special place in our heart, and the Zoo is included in that. So today, we returned for the first time in a long time, and brought our little one with. Our first trip as a family.

The weather was perfect, the sky was clear, the sun was hot and the breeze cool. Despite there being a ton of people (as expected on a weekend) our Family Membership got us in and out quickly. Parking was a breeze, especially with the new three story parking garage they built last year, and no lines to get in the front gate. Just scanned our membership card and went in. Our arrival happend so fast, we were actually a little confuzzled as to what to do with ourselves. I thought we were going to have more time to think about it. But there we were, and it was wonderful.

Every last bit of it was exciting. At least….to us anyway. Emma is still quite little (20 months) and i’m not sure she really recognizes whats going on. That’s alright though, because I realized something even before she was born.

We, as parents, are extremely lucky that we get to re-live a lot of the experiences we had as kids. My wife and I hadn’t been back to the Zoo since before we were pre-teens. The wonder had returned to our faces at every corner, trying to see all we could see while making sure the little one could too. Knowing that she didn’t 100% realize whats going on, an idea struck me that I immediately posed to the wife.

“You wanna come back here…like….just the two of us?”

“Like a date…here?” she said.

“Yeah. We’ll take a date day and come back here so just the two of us can enjoy it. Doesn’t that sound fun?”

She smiled. “Yeah! Sure!”

That’s right. Like a teenage couple awkwardly holding hands, we’re gonna have a date to the Zoo. Why the hell not? We love animals and walking out in the open, fresh air just taking in the beautiful weather. We were inspired to come back here for our little one, and now we have a new place we want to check out together as a couple.

I don’t know about you….but thats pretty fuckin neat.

Thoughts? Suggestions? Comment below!


-B.K. Mullen



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