A day with the wild animals

Last week, we decided to take advantage of the fact that one of Jake’s trials was postponed, and took a short staycation to Oceanside and the Wild Animal Park for a few days. 
After leaving Bandit in the very capable hands of our neighbors (seriously– they take him to Starbucks, he walks to school with the kids, basically gets treated like a rock star) we took off down the coast. S and A had so much fun riding on the luggage rack and playing in the elevator, that we almost decided to hang at the hotel the entire trip.
The hotel was packed with all the Spring-Breakers; otherwise, S and A would have been content riding up and down the halls for a few solid hours. 
Staying in hotels with the girls is getting more and more difficult due to the fact that sleeping in a room other than their own AND in the same room as us instantly raises their energy levels to epic proportions.  We don’t care if you two want to have a sister slumber par-tay…just not when we have to sleep in the same room as you! 
I’m really looking forward to the day when the girls can have their own adjoining room, just a closed door away. I’m thinking when they’re three? Four? 
Kidding– don’t call CPS on me. 
We woke up bright and early (or, rather, super groggy from dealing with the girls’ late-night partying, in our case), enjoyed the ocean breeze (i.e. wrangled the girls away from climbing over our balcony wall and jumping), and headed to the Wild Animal Park. 
Only the promise of animals would lure the girls away from the fire in the lobby. 
Let’s stroll together, sister!

When I’ve been here by myself with the girls, we usually tend to see the monkeys and elephants first. By the time we get to the tigers, they are usually asleep, so we reversed course today.

Out of the two, that tiger definitely had his eyes set on Samantha– she’s three pounds bigger, after all. 

Amelia carefully balanced her way over to the lorikeet landing. 

Best part of the whole day! Lorikeet nectar: $2. Amelia’s face while feeding said lorikeets: priceless. 

The girls went bonkers for these birds, who were obviously way overfed. It took a while to attract some over and land on our arms, at which point they refused to let the girls hold them (can’t say I blame them).

In a heroic act of selflessly making sure each girl received a turn to feed the lorikeets, Jake got bit more than a few times. That’s what I call sacrifice. 

Next stop– the butterfly garden. The girls were stoked that they were conveniently wearing matching winged tank tops for the occasion. 

It blew my mind that there was an HOUR AND A HALF wait to feed butterflies. I mean, seriously? We bought a Disneyland-Fast-Pass inspired ticket that let us bypass the line, but not before waiting in it for twenty minutes before realizing this was ridiculous. The fact that I didn’t have to spend another minute trying to keep S and A from eating the “butterfly food” (cups with watermelon inside) made it worth the money.

Hey– I wanted to eat that.

Amelia made sure she had the best butterfly catching seat in the house. 

Before letting our group enter the the butterfly enclosure, the guide told us that the previous night, some of their exotic birds had accidentally entered the butterfly garden, and thus there were only about half as many butterflies today as there normally were. Cue awkward silence as we all stared at him, jaws dropped in horror, imagining greedy birds gobbling up beautiful butterflies. Good thing it was April Fool’s Day! That was a good one, my friend.

Impromptu dance party with the butterflies. 

Mesmerized!

Exiting the butterfly exhibit was a maximum security event. We were all checked at three different doors and asked to spin around each time/bags checked to make sure no butterflies had hitched a ride with us. The girls just thought it was an extension of dance class.

I laugh in the face of danger. 
 After lunch, it was lights out. We found a nice babbling brook that provided some soothing, natural white noise for the girls to enjoy while they snoozed. 

Out for the count. When do Jake and I ever get two hours to hang out in peace and quiet in the middle of the afternoon these days? This, right here, was our true vacation. 

And we’re baaaaack. 

Feeling dangerously optimistic, we decided to hang around the park until it closed instead of going back to the hotel. We seem to always make the mistake of pushing ourselves to the limit, instead of just quitting while we’re ahead and everyone’s happy. Things started deteriorating FAST about an hour after nap time was over. Lesson learned.

Fending off tantrums by chilling on the tram. 
If you say so, mom. 
Working on their life’s mission of riding every carousel in the world. Multiple times.
Just one more time before we go.

Last one, I promise. 

Fortunately, no partying was had by anyone by the time we got back to the hotel. Sleep was our only agenda!
Lots of love, 
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