I have great memories of packing up the car with snacks and ice cold water then heading off to the STL Zoo. It's a fabulous zoo (one of the top in the nation) and it's FREE to the public. The residents of STL have never turned down a tax hike to support the zoo. Now don't get me wrong, many things have changed over the years....They now play host to sting rays that you can feed and touch 4 months out of the year at Caribbean Cove. There is a delightful (all be it chilly) penguin and puffin exhibit. The cost of the railroad and children's zoo has gone up. And the River's Edge, filled with elephants and hyenas, is now complete.
But many things stay the same. The animals are close enough to breath the same air as you. The railroad gives you a behind the scenes tour. The herpetarium still creeps me out a little. And the primate house still smells like...well, you know....
Places grow and change over the years. Many things that I remember from my childhood in this area are gone...restaurants, hangouts, parks. Perhaps the best part about the zoo is that even as an adult, I love it there. It's great to be able to share the zoo that I frequently visited as a child with John. It's fun to rediscover the zoo through his little eyes. I enjoy pointing to different animals (although he can only find the ones that are moving) as we wander from exhibit to exhibit. And hearing the glee in John's voice as he pet a guinea pig at the Children's Zoo. Even if he did call it "iddy" which refers to our kitty, Valvoline. It seems that everything with fur that moves is an 'iddy' right now. Sharing a pretzel while sitting on the benches by the sea lions and being begged for bites by the ducks are memories I have from my childhood and now ones that I have in parenthood.
Can't beat it!