A Zoo Story

Saturday our little family of three went to the zoo.

It was a disaster.

The purpose of going to the zoo was for a work gathering. In the 3 years I've worked at my job, we have never met outside of work. So I was excited to introduce my husband and son to my colleagues and coworkers.

Though we were free to visit the zoo on our own time, the department was going to meet up between 2 and 3 "at the pavilion." We had planned to get there around noon, explore the zoo for a few hours, meet up with people from work, and then go visit the Wests because it was Issac's birthday party. That is not what happened.

We instead left at around 1. According to good ol' MapQuest, it would take us about 51 minutes to get there. So I figured we would meet up with people from work first, explore the zoo for a few hours, and then head over to the Wests.

What I hadn't counted on is that MapQuest is a dirty, dirty liar. We drove around forever looking for our right turn on "Sunnyside Avenue." It was not to be found, anywhere. Stupid dirty lying MapQuest. We drove up and down the main road from the 215 exit all the way to I-80. No Sunnyside. We finally stopped at a gas station and asked for directions. Where we then found out we had to go 20 blocks down this one street and then make a turn at another place not mentioned in our directions. At 2:23 we finally pulled into the zoo. Yay. If we hurried, we could still see people.

To SAVE TIME I had printed out a map of the zoo from HOGLE ZOO'S WEBSITE. The map showed that the closest entrance to the "pavilion" was the south entrance. So instead of parking in the handicapped parking spot we found in the front of the park, we drove around to the south entrance. And then discovered that the south entrance is code for "really long hike to actually get to the zoo." So there we were, two out-of-shape, overweight adults, one with only one good leg, hustling as fast as we could while pushing a stroller with a cranky toddler.

So, finally, after a good workout, we made it to the actual park itself. Only to discover that the Hogle Zoo map was, of course, wrong.  Yes, the map I had so carefully printed from the Internet, a place that can update information instantly and cost effectively, was outdated. Also, there was no bloody pavilion. We hustled this way and that, perspiring and watching the clock tick the minutes by as tensely as in a 24 episode. We asked several employees to find out that they knew absolutely nothing. We also found out there were at least TWO pavilions. Oh yay. One employee a bit more bright than the others figured that my company had meant the pavilion NEAR THE ENTRANCE OF THE PARK.

Let's just Austin and I, drenched in sweat, were ready to throttle somebody about then. The time was then 2:40. With Herculean effort, we pushed through the throngs of strollers and teenagers and meandering families and reached our final destination. (Have I mentioned how poorly designed Hogle Zoo is? Seriously, make it easier to get from one place to another.) Behold there it was, the elusive PAVILION, a mere hop, skip, and a jump away from where we could have parked had we not trusted Hogle Zoo to actually keep their website updated? I know, we expect too much.

So, we entered that pavilion at 2:51.....and 3 people I didn't know were chatting away. I grabbed a few pieces of taffy out of a bowl and sighed. I guess it wasn't a total loss. A peppermint taffy totally makes up for over 2 hours of driving, hiking, and sweating. (/Sarcasm.)

So now that we were hungry, tired, and grouchy, we decided to grab some food. My company had generously provided us with a $5 food voucher, which unfortunately didn't cover the cost of one meal. The food was $6.50 each, which with prices being as they are now really isn't too bad....if your food is edible. I had the crappiest chicken fingers and fries I've ever had. I mean we expected the food to be expensive and greasy, as is typical of these types of establishments. But we didn't expect to receive McDonald's rejects, retrieved from their dumpsters, dumped because the "food" was deemed too unacceptable to serve. Because McDonald's has standards donchaknow.

So after our "meal" we roamed around the zoo. Saw a few monkeys, elephants, and camels. That was about it. It was already almost 4. We had already seen most of the park anyway (because Hogle Zoo sucks) so we decided to leave. Plus Moby didn't seem too interested in the animals. He stared more at his own reflection and all of the people instead. You can only take so much "Moby, look at the monkey. Look! Look! Look at the monkey, Morgan!" Sigh.

Then we had to go hike back up to our car. Seriously. Hike. I was almost horizontal. It was now a zillion degrees. Then, we cranked the AC and made the uneventual trip back home.

Worst.outing.ever. Let's just say we won't be going to the zoo again for quite some time. Oh well, at least the tickets were free.

(The day wasn't a complete loss. It was saved by going over to the Wests and having fun with friends...and cake.)

Comments

Mark said…
if you could just make your worst.outing.ever comments in comic book guy voice.
Sorry you had such a Hogle time at the zoo.
I am glad that Moby enjoyed his time looking at the monkey in the mirror.
Austin said…
Tracie, you crack me up. Like we said, at least it made a good story, as it was NOT a good day. (til we got to our friends').

Dad- Your comments made me laugh too. Worst. outing. ever.
Wendy McMillan said…
I was wondering why I didn't see a picture of you at Isaac's party. Now I know why. You poor things!
Amanda S. said…
Haha! I hate to laugh in the face of your misfortune, but this is amusing. We also got the chicken tenders with the food voucher and I agree with your assessment.

Also it doesn't surprise me that no one who worked there could direct you appropriately. Every zoo employee I interacted with was completely incompetent. Did it take you like an hour to get your food, too (that they didn't cook)? Ridiculous.
Charlo said…
Sunnyside changes names at some point, so i wonder if that was the issue.

And I ooooojh my goodness, amusement park food. Never quality, but there used to be a few tasty but deadly things. Last time we went to 6 flags, everything was disgusting, gross, and probably 90% chemical. I don't understand it. At all. It is not like it is difficult to mark up real food.
I laughed so hard. Just seriously cracking up, the sarcasm was just great. (McDonald rejects)

Then I laughed because I had episodes like that before, with a cranky toddler or two.

Just an FYI: I still feel for you too, so I am not laughing too hard (or too much)

:o)
Austin said…
I demand more posts!

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