We LOVE going to the Nashville Zoo, but we recently had an extra special trip because we went with Luna’s best baby buddies!
Seriously, it doesn’t get cuter than this.
We showed up before the zoo opened with our wagon and a bag full of snacks. The weather was overcast and 70 degrees. It could not have been a more perfect day to visit the zoo. I was the only Mom who brought a real camera so I snapped away all day and got some adorable photos. Luckily, I transferred a few of my favorite photos to my phone as soon as I got home, because, long story short, EVERY photo got deleted off my camera before they were uploaded onto my laptop! (My own fault, BTW.)
Whatevs. At least I have the memories of Luna and her friends riding the train, playing in the best baby play pace, petting baby kangaroos, having a picnic and being stinkin’ cute all morning.
I have this friends, she’s awesome. She lives in Texas with her Husband, baby boy and funny corgi. She’s Mexican, speaks no Spanish but cooks a mean enchilada. She is always honest, always herself, dangerous to shop with, so much fun, snorts when she laughs, very thoughtful and ready to listen to me vent without a moments notice. Her name is Danica and she and her family just spent the last week with us.
Danica and her Husband love to travel, like Husband and myself, so they have visited us when we used to live in Tennessee, both years we lived in NY and they even went with us on our recent trip to NYC! A month later they are here in Tennessee to see our new house and spend the week with us. We had them, their baby plus their puppy. It was a party every night in this house. And, by party I mean a strict routine of baths, story-time, lullabies, crying and Netflix for adults once the babies finally fall asleep.
Last time they came to Tennessee, we went hiking, repelling, caving, watched fireworks and went downtown. This time was our plans were much more relaxed and completely kid-friendly. We went to parks and playgrounds, the zoo, Cheekwood Botanical Gardens, the Opry Hotel, the Escape Game and even managed to fit in some hiking. It’s really nice that we both have babies and need to stick to a somewhat regular schedule. We had a blast and it was awesome to see our two little ones bond and spend so much time together.
Almost every outing turned into a photo session for the babies. We had some beautiful fall weather and could not help but set the babies in the bright colorful leaves and start snapping away. At one point one of us was lying on the ground with the camera, one was tossing leaves in the air and the other was jumping around making noises like a monkey to get smiles. They were the best little models. We got very little attitude and we could pay them in Cheerios. They even formed their signature poses. Luna loves to throw her hands in the air in excitement and Orion prefers the calm and cool look.
We went out to eat way too much, as we do anytime guests come to visit, but we did cook at home a few times too. The great thing about having friends stay with you is that you can be totally comfortable and have a great time no matter what the setting. It really didn’t matter if we were in East Nashville at a trendy hotspot or sitting on the living room floor snacking on chips and guacamole, either way we were doubled over with laughter and making some unforgettable memories.
I have got to tell you that if you have been putting off visiting an out of town friend or having a friend come to stay with you, stop and just do it. I know it is hard to plan, pack, arrange schedules, travel and deal with kids, but it is so worth it. Staying with a friend is truly the best way to travel. You get to see a new place through the eyes of a local, eat the best foods, meet new friends and stay somewhere for free. (Assuming your friends don’t run a brothel or something.) It’s also a really special way to bond with your friends you rarely see and create even more ridiculous inside jokes.
Personally, I love when we have guests. I love getting to spend more time with them, get to know their families better and it gives us a really really good reason to clean and get some much needed stuff done around the house. Soooo who’s our next guests???
After the Boo Bash Dash last weekend we drove straight to the Nashville Zoo to watch the animals go trick-or-treating. Luna didn’t get to see any animals during the Ghouls of Grassmere event, and this seemed like a fun opportunity to actually watch the animals be active. More fun for me than her, but still…fun. We like to be festive, so we all stayed dressed up in our Halloween running attire. We are also just too lazy to drive home, shower and change.
The zoo was way more crowded than the Ghouls of Grassmere night, but not unbearably crowded. We didn’t arrive until lunchtime, so we had already missed half of the animals getting their treats (cricket-filled pumpkins). The plans was to run to the camels in time to see them eat, but we ran into the new kangaroo exhibit first and could not resist checking it out.
OMG. The “Kangaroo Kickabout” is fantastic! You can literally walk in the exhibit where they kangaroos live and walk around. You aren’t allowed off the paved path, but you are allowed to pet and love on the kangaroos if they come to you!!! We weren’t there at the best time (mid-day). The roos’ were all sleeping, sunbathing and not all interested in my affections, but that didn’t stop me from ooohing and awwwing over them. There was a Mommy kangaroo on her back and you could actually see the baby in her pouch moving around and peeking out! It was probably the most adorable thing I’ve ever seen, with the exception of Luna playing with a kitten.
We did finally make it to the other animals. We saw the elephants, giraffes, meerkats, goats, antelope, camels, lions and lots of other animals “trick-or-treating”. And by “trick-or-treating”, I mean looking at carved pumpkins suspiciously. Most of the animals were not interested in eating them while we all stared on expectantly. The goats and meerkats were the most enthusiastic. Either way, the animals were out and about being cute and meandering around.
There were also a few “zoo talks” happening. I really enjoyed listening to the girl in the giraffe land. She told us about the baby giraffe that is soon going to be shipped to Animal Kingdom so that her Dad doesn’t try to mate with her. I’ll have to remember to look for her next time we go to Disney.
Our favorite section of the zoo was by far the jungle gym. Their play area is ENORMOUS. We had a blast getting lost in “the largest community built playground in the United States”. It’s 66,000 square feet! I seriously cannot wait until Luna is big enough to play in the playground. The best part is the toddler area. They have an enormous covered area that is basically a giant room covered in 6 inches of foam and it is the greatest idea. Big kids aren’t allowed to play in this area and no on is allowed to wear shoes, so it’s virtually clean. Us, along with several other parents, relaxed in the shade while our babies crawled all over each other.
Luna enjoyed her second zoo trip, as did we. The Nashville Zoo has many many other events happening, including storytime every Saturday in November at 10:30. To checkout more of their attractions, go here!
I am falling more in love Nashville everyday. We have been super busy with all the fall festivities in and around Nashville. Everyone told us that having Luna would slow us down, but the truth is, she keeps us motivated to do more. Thanks to Nashville Parent and the various flyers hanging up at Starbucks, I am constantly finding new family-friendly stuff to do in middle Tennessee. Last weekend kicked off the Ghouls at Grassmere annual event at the Nashville Zoo, and we decided it was a perfect time to take Luna on her very first zoo trip.
The Ghouls at Grassmere event is geared towards kids and is a really unique Halloween experience! The kids get to dress-up, trick-or-treat on the trails, see the zoo at night and participate in many other activities. They have a haunted hayride, a spooky house tour, a “scary-go-round”, carnival games, a dance party and more. Luna was a little young for most of the activities, but that little detail did not keep us from enjoying ourselves, or from trick-or-treating.
I have never been to the zoo at night, but OMG, it is SO much better! It’s not too hot, you can’t get sunburned, it’s waaayyy less crowded and kind of cool to see what the place looks like a night… also, a little creepy. It’s a really cool atmosphere for a Halloween event. There were lots of lights, light designs, Halloween decorations and really good music. It was full of activities, yet very relaxed. We took our time walking around, ate dinner and just enjoyed ourselves.
The best part had to be watching all the kids run around in their costumes! If you know me at all, you know I love dressing up and celebrating for just about any reason. It was sooo much fun to see how the creative costumes at the zoo.
Our favorite activities for us and Luna were definitely the “scary-go-round” and the “Monster Mash”. The “scary-go-round” was the carousel with creepy music and lights that blinked on and off. Come to think of it…I guess that was Luna’s first ride! The “Moster Mash” was a huge dance party. We all danced together and taught Luna how to shake that little tush.
The only downside to being at the zoo at night is that the animals aren’t out. We got to see flamingos and camels, but that’s all. I was hoping for Luna to see more animals, but we will just have to back. (As a matter of fact, we went back today! But, that’s another blog…)
Anyways, only 5 more days until Halloween! How is everyone celebrating this week??? Oh, and if you are planning a trip to the Nashville Zoo soon, you’ve gotta check out their calendar of events here. They’ve got some really cool activities coming up!