Saturday, May 24, 2008

Leeches, Tigers and Dots, Oh My!

May in Minnesota, means field trip season if you have school aged kids. Both kids had class field trips in the last two weeks. Lady Di chaperoned Number One Son's class trip to the Three Rivers Park. Three Rivers Park is a huge hiking, biking, fishing, camping nature learning center. It sounded pretty interesting. On their trip they learned about nature and conservation. They got to gather various bugs and creatures from a pond to make a bug zoo. N1S and Lady Di were the only ones to include a leech in their zoo. Lady Di had to reach into a mossy, slimy pond up to her elbow while N1S cheered her on. Lady Di is so lucky. Here are some of the creatures that N1S and LD collected for their zoo. Their zoo's main attraction, Mr. Leech, is prominently displayed in the lower left corner.

When the kids were done with the pond they went to the next station. Lady Di was so engrossed in studying her bugs that N1S had to come back to the pond to retrieve her. Through clenched teeth he hissed, "Come on, Mom." It appears Lady Di has an interest in pond scum.

The park gave a presentation and slide show inside about what they have been studying in their pond all year. As the presenter asked the class questions, many hands went up as the kids were eager to show what they have been studying. Lady Di looked back and forth to the other parents as they all shrugged their shoulders with each question. Clearly, they were out of their league.

I was lucky enough to be chosen to chaperon Sweet Pea's class trip to the Minnesota Zoo. This is about my third or fourth class trip to the zoo since both kids' pre-school and kindergarten classes always go to the zoo. Some of the animals are starting to recognize me. I was assigned to Sweet Pea and her friend M.

We arrived to the zoo at 9:55am and had to hustle from the bus to get to our first stop, the dolphin show at 10am. The dolphin show was a big hit with the kids. The oldest dolphin at the zoo is 41 years old. I had no idea that dolphins lived so long. After that we walked around to see the camels, caribou and bison. This is when the girls started asking, "Can we eat lunch yet?". It was 10:15AM.

We then ventured to prairie dog town where the girls squeaked until they were answered by the prairie dogs a few times. After another plead for lunch, we trekked to the tiger lair. Both of the ferocious beasts were unferociously sleeping. Exasperated, Sweet Pea whined, "When are they going to wake up?".

For a while, the funnest part of the trip for the girls was balancing on the curb walking to each exhibit.
Things got better at the monkey area. The girls thought the chimps red faces and red butts were cute. Then, once again, "Is it time to eat yet?"

I muttered under my breath, "No, but it may be lunch time for the tigers if you two are not careful."

I forced the girls to view a few more animals before finding a table to eat lunch. We finished our sack lunches, threw away our garbage and were ready to see some more animals. That is, we were ready after the girls asked for some Dippin Dots because they were still starving.

We finished with the tropical forest building and made it back to the bus just in time due to a slight detour at the bathroom. It seems little girls take a little more time in the bathroom than I had budgeted. We had to sprint back to the bus and I had to throw the girls through the opened bi-fold bus doors as the driver was pulling away. In the back of my head I could hear trumpets playing the Indiana Jones theme song. Not having a whip, I tossed our backpack through the bus door for the girls to pull me out of danger. Once in the rolling yellow tank, I picked up my dusty tattered Twins cap, wiped my sweaty brow and nodded my thanks to the girls.

Despite the long bus ride and the long walking at the zoo, we all had fun. The weather was great and most of the animals cooperated. I think Sweet Pea may have one more year of going to the zoo for her class field trip. Next year will be Lady Di's turn. Hopefully, the tigers will be rested by then.


Anonymous said...

Sounds great. I love trips like that. When I was a kid I was fascinated with leeches.

Russell said...

Very humorous post!

When my daughter was in the 5th grade or so, I got the privilege (!) of going along with her class as they visited a local marsh. I found the conservation guide quite interesting - much moreso than the kids!

I was helping my daughter's group with some little nets as they pulled things from the water. Of course I managed to slip on a rock or in the mud or something and made a grand and glorious huge splash in the water! The kids all thought that was pretty fantastic, though my daughter was not overly happy her dad had fallen in the water!

It was not a warm day, so the wet clothes were not overly welcome.

A year later I got to spend two full days with the kids as they visited another park. Camping out and all that goes with it is ... interesting. Especially with about 60 kids!

Sounds like you are a pretty good dad!

Take care.

creative-type dad said...

sounds like fun. I've never tried the Dippin Dots- now I'm curious.

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I'm a 40 year old dad of two. My wonderful wife, Lady Di, and I try to keep the kids from blowing things up here in central Minnesota.