Wild Things

This weekend, we took our two little wild things to visit their natural habitat–the wild animal park! Our friends, Michael, Phi and little Parker have passes to the San Diego Safari Park and invited us along to crash their mini vay-cay. While I absolutely love the safari park, I was a bit hesitant to go as I wasn’t sure how much the girls would really get out of it.  The stars aligned when Jake was able to push a few things back at work in order to take off a day and a half. We ultimately decided to go and were so glad we went!

Our mini trip began on a rough note. We put the girls to bed, packed the car and took off while they were sleeping. We unfortunately hadn’t gotten gas before we left, so when we stopped, all the bright lights woke up the girls. Cue horror movie knife music and me silently mouthing through the car window for Jake to HURRY!

Normally, such as on trips to Utah, the girls quickly go back to sleep. Not this time. Either she was completely terrified/disoriented when she woke up, or just super tired/uncomfortable in her car seat; Samantha SCREAMED the entire way to our hotel in Carlsbad– about an hour’s drive.

We’re talking real tears. Hysterical screeches and sobs of despair. At least that’s what Jake told me (I had my noise-canceling earphones in). As soon as I picked Samantha up out of the car and held her, shielding her eyes from the hotel lights with her blankie, she calmed down and stopped crying, but remained awake. Even when she eventually fell asleep in my arms in our room, I could hear her forlorn little sobs for a while after. Heartbreaking!

Thankfully, the rest of the next day went perfectly. We arrived at the park at opening in the morning. By this time, the girls were sick of being strapped in and wanted to run around.
And run around they did. This is what most of our day looked like: 
Catch me if you can…
Quick! Look! A rare Samantha sighting!
Samantha in her natural habitat. 
Double bonus! An Amelia sighting!
Where should we run to next, sistah? 
There were lots of crashes too. 

The girls were either running away from us…or clinging to Daddy like koalas. 
Hey meerkats!

The girls’ first big exhibit was watching the gorillas smash a bunch of pumpkins. 
Super cool, I must say. 

We spent a good 20 minutes just watching the tiny baby gorilla hop up on its mother’s back. Sounds familiar.  

Attempting to keep the girls from climbing the fence and becoming gorilla bait. 
At the lion habitat, S and A scared everyone away with their bellowing lion roars in order to get a better view.

A Lion King moment!

Several visitors next to us may or may not have broken out into “The Circle of Life” and started referring to the lion and cub as “Mufasa” and “Simba.” 

S and A were pretty excited when the daddy lion got up and roared. 

Mommy lion and cubs. 

This lioness was busy with four cubs, all of whom were born a few months ago. Moms of multiples, unite!
Eating lunch with a view of the lions. 
Amelia fully concentrates on opening her yogurt (she refused to let me help her). 
Too tall to look out through the chain link; too short to see over the railing. #toddlerproblems

We met up with Phi, Michael and Parker for the rest of our tour around the park. Parker was our official guide with his cool binoculars. 

Amelia was his second in command. 

Bonus perk of traveling with friends: there’s always someone to take your picture!

Watching the rhinos with suspicion. 

“Look at the antelope, Samantha!” Samantha: “Meh.”

Giraffes? Let me at ’em! 

A peaceful journey through the savannah…
…Except for this little creature who scared all the animals away with her crazy noises. 
We are definitely doing the “feed the giraffes tour” next time. 

Pre-trip, I was agonizing over what to do about the girls’ nap time. I really didn’t want to pack up and go all the way back to the hotel for naps, but I didn’t want to risk the girls not napping and then being cranky the rest of the day. In the end, we decided to let the cards fall where they may.

The gamble paid off. In an unprecedented move, the girls both fell asleep in their strollers as soon as we put the seats down/sun shades up. I was seriously floored. Success!

Parker helped push the sleeping twins around the park to see the tigers. 
They didn’t nap long (about an hour as opposed to their normal three-hour siesta), but at least they napped. As soon as the girls awoke, they were ready for more action. 
Parker’s dad, Michael, was holding Samantha while in line for an ice cream cone. As soon as she saw it, he heard her say, “I want that!” Apparently, Samantha only speaks in complete sentences when she reaaaaaaaaly wants something. 
Parker and the girls probably would have been content hanging out at the playground all day. Fearless!
Bat girl. 
Giving the lion cubs a hug. 
No feeding the animals.

Waiting anxiously for the Cheetah Run. The trainers first released a dog to run the length of the track toward a treat and timed it. Next, they released a cheetah to run the same length, chasing its favorite toy on a mechanical lure. Man, was it fast. 0 to 70 mph in four seconds fast.  I was super impressed that it didn’t even care about eating the dog either. 

Go, Cheetah, go! 

After seeing the cheetah and elephants, we called it a day. 
Everyone was asleep by 6:45 pm and slept soundly through the night, dreams of gorillas and lions floating in our heads. 
I feel hungover…where was I yesterday?
Samantha refused to eat the bite-sized pieces of french toast we cut up for her and opted to instead grab the entire thing. 
Amelia pointed out all the animals we saw the day before in her book. 
Before leaving Carlsbad, we hit the outlets (my ulterior motive for staying there in the first place). 
The guys had a Daddy-Kiddie date while Phi and I shopped.

One-handed!

Equestrian in training. 

Samantha’s motorcycle fantasy come true.

Amazingly, the girls nodded off again in their strollers for a short nap right before we were about to leave for home. Not only did they sleep through the stroller to car transfer, they continued to sleep through the dreaded car to crib transfer when we got home. Miracles do happen. 
Our cute next-door neighbors took great care of Bandit while we were gone and texted us pictures throughout our trip. Apparently, they took him shoe-shopping and had him walk with them to school. Bandit is totally in love with his “vacation family.” So spoiled. 

Overall, the girls got an A+ on the trip; it was probably our first trip with them that was pretty low stress. A big thanks to our friends for inviting us to visit the park with them and for all the discounts; I was surprised by how entranced the girls were with the animals, and likely wouldn’t have thought about making the trip to San Diego unless our friends had suggested it.

The girls loved it so much, they asked to be dropped off to live at the zoo. We definitely gave it some thought, but ultimately concluded we love our little creatures too much to set them free just yet. Zoo animals– you’re welcome.

Lots of love,

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