Beginning last year, I decided, rather than give my nieces and nephews some random gifts for Christmas (that they probably wouldn't remember a month later) I would try to do something together with them that might be more memorable. Last year we went horseback riding and this year I thought we could go to the Philadelphia Zoo for a guided tour. I got the idea because a few years ago, when I was living in California, I had a couple of chances to do some up-close animal encounters and they were pretty amazing...
I called the zoo and talked with their tour coordinator but found out that the type of tour I did at the San Diego Zoo was only available for a group of up to six. Our group was going to be 13 people so they recommended one of their docent-guided tours, which she assured me would be great. So, my dad, Diana, me, my brother and sister, and their 850 kids headed to the zoo on the (very cold) Saturday after Thanksgiving:
We met our very nice guide at the front gate as planned. She was excellent with the kids...
My brother and his kids during our visit:
The guided tour lasted about an hour and, although our guide was very nice and good with the kids, there was no animal interactions, other than the in kids' area, to be had.
One of the zoo's lions (with my sister and niece in the reflection):
What the tour lacked in up-close-animal experiences, it was made up by the fact that we got to spend a bunch of time together, which, in retrospect, is what it's about anyway. Enjoying family-together time:
Even though we had a great time together, I do wish the zoo would have had a larger-group option. My minor disappointment with the zoo offerings didn't put a damper on the day...it'll just make me work harder to find a better option for next year! Our zoo-tour-taking, chicken-finger-filled, and slightly-cold family photo from our 2013 Philadelphia Zoo visit:
Thanks again for the great trip Philadelphia. See you all again soon (maybe in Barcelona???) and we miss you already!