A few weeks ago GoofGirl seemed kind of down and I promised her an adventure. We decided on the zoo. We headed straight for the big cats and were pleased to see the lions out and tussling - not just sitting around looking majestic. I roared at them, and when people turned to look at me I said, "I know a little lion - but my accent is terrible."
We saw monkeys of every size and shape. GoofGirl pointed out certain species as being good candidates as helpers for her brother (who has gotten it into his head that he needs a monkey).
We went through the invertebrate house and the reptile house. We headed down to check out the seals. I let GoofGirl lead the way, but she still seemed a bit down. There were some rocks by the seal pool and GoofGirl started climbing on them. She likes climbing on rocks. Then she saw the sign "Do Not Climb on Rocks." A full-scale pout began to emerge.
I told her she should climb on the rocks, and she did. A little boy with his dad came by and pointed at us, "Hey they are climbing on the rocks!"
He pointed at the sign, "You aren't supposed to climb on those rocks."
"I think you are right," I told him. "She'll get down in a minute, thanks for letting us know."
The dad looked embarrassed, he had undoubtedly just told his son that he couldn't climb on the rocks and here we were - blatant scofflaws. Sometimes it's good to be the bad guy.
We headed over to the Amazonia exhibit and checked out these cousins of the piranha that only eat fruit - they can strip a mango down to its pit in minutes. GoofGirl still seemed a bit unhappy, so we left the Amazonia exhibit and talked for a minute.
She told me what was bothering her. I didn't really have any answers, but I guess talking about it lightened up her mood because in a few minutes we were buzzing around the zoo. We saw the giant pandas, then we saw the red pandas, which GoofGirl insists are even cuter!
We split a Coke.
She even allowed me to visit the elephants, even though she doesn't care much for them herself. When we saw them I trumpeted as loud as I could. People turned to look at me and I said, "I know a little elephant - but my accent is terrible."
"Daddy, you made that joke before!" GoofGirl scolded.
"But they didn't hear it before," I explained.
GoofGirl nodded, knowingly.
We found a cool fishing cat, saw the zebras, and said hi to the cheetahs - who will always have a special place in my heart. Then at the gift shop she found something cool - besides a stuffed animal - and I got it for her.
The next weekend I took GoofGirl to a play-date in town. It was a schlep for me and the driving back and forth wrecked my day, but it was a friend GoofGirl really wanted to see.
On the way home, GoofGirl yelled, "What's that?"
"The National Cathedral," I told her.
"It looks neat..."
"You want to take a look?"
So we parked, and in the fading light took a quick walk around the grounds. The place bears a striking resemblance to Hogwarts. Then we went inside. There was a service in the main sanctuary, so instead of exploring it we headed to the gift shop which was in the Crypt.
The Crypt contains three chapels and a gazillion rooms, corridors and winding staircases. It was pretty cool. No services were in progress downstairs, so while we certainly weren't loud or disrespectful - we enjoyed being in this fascinating place, and hearing the choir boys - just released from duty - horse around. GoofGirl was full of questions about religion which I am sadly ill-equipped to answer. But this was secondary to the exploring.
We didn't have much time. We both had homework to do and it was getting late. We barely scratched the surface of the wonders of the building - and a concert was starting just as we had to go. Both of us paid a price for falling behind on our work.
But when you have a chance to see something marvelous - take it.