Memphis Zoo | June 30, 2012

Several weeks ago Jason and I started tossing around ideas of what we could do to kick off Ty's birthday week (which he is--of course--sufficiently excited about!). Since the weather is both setting and breaking high-temperature records in the same week, I was initially leaning towards something indoors.

We're members of the Mid-America Science Museum here in Hot Springs, and we have season passes to Magic Springs, as well so those were obvious options...but since we're there so often, they might not be as special for Ty as we wanted the trip to be. So I start thinking about other options, still trying to factor in air-conditioning.

But the idea that struck Jason and I the most was the zoo. The Little Rock Zoo has a new penguin exhibit that they didn't have when we were there last (in the fall of 2010). So that became the tentative plan. Until a coworker insisted that we should try the Memphis Zoo. I was initially turned off by the thought of a 3 hour drive, but then I checked out their website and was sold!

Penguins, Pandas, Polar Bears, Primates and even a Prehistoric Dinosaur Exhibit!

So Saturday morning we woke Ty up bright and early, got him ready to go and gave vague answers to questions for 3 hours about where we were going! His first guess as to where we were going was a Museum. His second guess was an "Animal Habitat Place" (Really? Not only was he spot on with where our frames of mind were when trying to plan the thing, but what almost-seven year old uses that terminology?!)

We still didn't give it away to him until we went to turn in and Jason told him to check out the signs. Of course, he was stoked by the Dinosaur Exhibit sign that helped to mark the way.

It was at that point that I pulled out my Canon Rebel to snap some pictures of the signs to document our trip and I discovered (with a disgusting, sinking feeling) that the SD card for my camera was still in the card-slot on the side of our computer three whole hours away.

Never fear, where there's a gift shop, there's an overpriced SD card available. And so $25 later I was in business with a 2 GB SD card (as opposed to my standard 8 or 16 GB High Capacity SDs that I can get for the same amount...)

I thought it was interesting, as we approached the zoo chose Ancient Egyptian mythology for the decoration and style of the zoo.

But then we headed into Cat Country and I noticed a statue of Sekhmet (an Egyptian goddess).  One of her major followings centered out of Memphis, Egypt, so she's also referred to as the Goddess (or Queen) of Memphis, as shown on her statue. 

Theology/Mythology aside, we moved onto the purpose of the trip!  The animals!  We appreciated very much how the zoo was laid out where outdoor exhibits were spaced with indoor (climate controlled) exhibits that gave us a break from the sun and the triple-digit temperatures.

You could tell that animals from other climates weren't as bothered by--and even enjoying--the sun!

There were all sorts of animals, bird and creature there.  Even some that looked rather prehistoric, such as this bird!

I would not have beleieved that it was not only real, but alive, had I not witnessed it for myself.

The penguins were probably a personal favorite for me.  I wish we'd been in that part of the (large) zoo when they were doing one of their little shows, I could have sat and watched them much longer than we had time to.

Ty insisted that this little feller was actually a White Tailed Deer.  There was no convincing him otherwise.

And just a few more pictures of some of the animals we saw:

And then here are a few pictures of us at the zoo.  

And the Dinosaur Exhibit.  I think we all three pretty well enjoyed it!

After that, we let Ty play in the fountain in the zoo that all the kids were cooling off in, and then from there, back to the gift shop where Ty picked out a King Cobra stuffed animal for a souvenier (as well as a "dinosaur skull" necklace).

After that we attempted to drive past Graceland (Jason had never seen it) and then spent an undertmined amount of time missing turns to try to make it to a food-stop that we eventually gave up on and dropped by McDonald's instead (Pokemon Happy Meals were a consolation prize for The Boy at least).

The trip home took more than an hour longer than it would have if they hadn't been doing road-work, but we finally made it to my parents house for the evening where we pretty literally crashed and burned for the night.
Ashley Harris Wife & Mom

Ashley is a thirty-something wife and mother of two boys. She enjoys spending time with her family, as well as reading and decorating their home. Her blogging adventures began in 2006 as a single mother and have carried on through marriage and a new life with a husband, a ten-year-old, and an infant.