Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Oregon Zoo Road Trip + College Pals Reunion

A couple months back some friends of mine from college and I got to talking about orchestrating a mini "reunion" of sorts. We hadn't all been together since my wedding in 2007 and it felt about time to see each other, meet the kids, and catch up in a more personal way than instagram photos and facebook updates. Portland was the most "central" for all of us and with the kids we decided on a trip to the Oregon Zoo.

After 2 reschedules and one person having to cancel, the rest of us and our families got together on June 1st. Ben and I decided that if we could swing it, staying over night in Portland the night before would work best. That way we wouldn't have to wake up at 5am to get on the road to meet everyone. While we had a ton of fun staying overnight with our newly-wed friends in their lovely home, we probably would have gotten more sleep at our place. Desmond is very particular when it comes to night-time sleep. He didn't get to bed until 10:30 and was up several times. Malakai had a cot next to our bed and was so stoked that he was out pretty quickly, although that was also 10:30 because he took a nap on the drive up.

Speaking of, our drive up was fairly painless. We borrowed my father-in-law's Tahoe for the storage space. Malakai slept the first half, we stopped and ate a picnic dinner outside of a starbucks and then piled back in. I had purchased Kai the soundtrack to Jake and The Neverland Pirates (which has been newly added to Netflix and he's obsessed) and he listened to that with his 1st pair of headphones for the rest of our drive.

{on our way!}

Desmond was happy to talk to himself for most of the ride. Except for the last 10 minutes of our 2 hour drive he kept yelling "WALK! Please?" -he was so totally done sitting.

We had a great time catching up with Reid + Carina, even though our kids were determined to stay up all night.
{Kai showing his TAG reader to Reid + Carina}

At the zoo Malakai was so excited he could barely contain himself. We tried waiting for our friends before going through the gates but he just couldn't stand it, so we went through and waited at the first exhibit.

{mountain goat, bears, and ducks}

Once Caity and her husband Trevor and their son Roman then Reid and Carina arrived we began to explore the zoo. The guys kept us on track with the maps so we were sure to see everything that was open. (Sadly we didn't see Zebra, Panda bears, Tigers, Gorillas and a few others). 

{{At the farm exhibit, seeing a cougar, getting help to see some livestock from Reid, checking out the Polar bear- who jumped in the water right in front of us!}}

Most of the pictures are of Malakai because Desmond was pretty exhausted. He fell asleep on the 15 minute drive to the zoo and would be skipping his nap to spend the day at there. He was fairly content to graze on his snack and watch the animals from his stroller. I did take him out for the animals that he had to be lifted high to see and to let him run around a bit.

 {Malakai checking out the lion, he claimed it was his favorite.}

At the beginning of the trip Kai had let us know he wanted to see lions and dogs. We thought we might see wolves (we didn't) but unbeknownst to us, there were wild dogs in the exhibit right next to the lions. Sadly, they were asleep so they weren't too exciting. He was still pretty happy about it. 
 There were a LOT of monkeys. Countless types in multiple areas of the zoo. Most of them were pretty fun to watch, Kai got close to a couple and really loved it. Desmond enjoyed saying monkey and pointing from his cozy spot in the stroller.

Malakai also enjoyed this random tunnel thing and both boys LOVED the creepy crocodile. For the entire time we were in there (which wasn't long because it was a muggy indoor rainforest) Des kept saying "a-die-oh" in an effort to say crocodile. I held him close to it, and he giggled with delight.

The bottom left photo of the above collage is Caity, Carina, and myself. The day was going fast and I knew we had to capture a picture of the three of us before it escaped us. I really wish we would have taken one of our whole group together!

My personal favorite was the sea lions. Malakai was enthralled and could have stayed watching them all day. These 2 sea lions, 1 brown and 1 white, were literally swimming the same lap over and over again. Desmond found a group of teenage girls that would giggle every time he danced he didn't even notice the sea lions.

 {Here's Des continuing his dance in front of a fish tank. Then stealing Roman's zoo-issue car/stroller.}

Last but not least was the train ride. We parted ways with Carina + Reid at this point and the rest of us piled into a train car together (again, I wish I had a decent picture of all of us but we were busy holding on to kids who wanted to wiggle around). The train ride is 25 minutes and we rode a real steam engine. Caity + Trevor's son Roman is really in to trains and was even more excited than my kiddos about this experience, it was adorable.

After SIX hours at the zoo we said goodbyes and we piled our stuff and ourselves back into the car. Both boys fell asleep before we even moved from our parking space...which was a problem because our next stop was the Nike Employee store. One of my best friends works in legal at Nike so she put us on the list to shop that day. It was a bit stressful because the boys were crabby but in the end we made out with a cool pair of shoes for Kai (our main goal) and a nice little jacket for me.

After that we found a McMenamins and ate dinner. We decided that now that the kids were happy and full we should let them burn off some energy before putting them in the car for the trip home. We googled and found the nearest park. It ended up being a disaster...Kai ran straight for the field near the play structures only to fall into a hidden swampy mess. He was covered and his bum was saturated. Ben took him to the car to clean up and I took Des to the play ground, but almost immediately encountered a giant shard of glass and called it quits. The kids weren't too happy about the short-lived trip but were tired enough to settle in for the trip home. Des talked to himself for nearly the entire 2 hours and Malakai passed out after zoning on his piratey tunes.

 The next day I took out a zoo passport we had printed from a site online (I've pinned it but don't have the energy to find it to link here). Kai was too excited to see the animals to care about this at the zoo, but loved thinking back on what we saw and drawing in the animals that weren't included in the book.

Overall it was a successful trip with our little family. We were so glad to finally get our kids up to the zoo, to see Reid + Carina's house for the first time, and to meet up with Caity and her family who we haven't seen since our wedding nearly 6 years ago! Let's hope it's not that long until we meet again!


  1. Yay! Sounds like a fun trip overall. We are hoping to make a zoo trip sometime soon. We took Tristan when he was about 16 months but he didn't really "get it". I can't wait to see how he likes it this time :)

  2. I LOVED this, I felt like I was with you, minus the exhaustion ;)

  3. Malakai looks cute in yellow tee, glad to hear that you guys had lots of family fun together.



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