Shane was not at all excited about his special day.
Oh my word that child! Little boys learn to flirt by melting their Mamas' hearts. My apologies now to mothers of little girls everywhere.
I was especially excited, because we were checking out a petting zoo I have wanted to visit for ages. It is further up the mountain, and Mapquest said about an hour from our house. It opens at 9AM.
At 6AM, Shane blinked the sleep from his eyes, then sat straight up and said, "MOMMY! I can't WAIT to go to our SPECIAL PLACES!" He asked me about 12 times through breakfast if it was time to leave yet, so we finally piled into the car and dropped the big kids off at Grandma's. That gave us...about two hours to travel one hour away.
We drove slowly, and stopped to stretch our legs and check out some puddles.
If you think there are no "aminals" in there, you would be wrong! There were tiny orangey dot-bugs that crawled all over each other in clumps, little black short wormy-things that disappeared under the mud and sent up plumes of brown where they went in, and white winged things that could walk ON THE WATER! It was all way cool!
There were also deer and elk tracks in the mud, and these prints that belonged to some really scary creature:
Shane ca be just as dramatic as big sister, and has the vocabulary of a 30-year-old at times, so it is a huge trip hearing him describe absolutely anything.
While our stop was fun, it turns out the stalling was not necessary, because bad directions meant we did not get there until an hour AFTER it opened. We got a giant chocolate donut on the way, though, so he was happy!
Our destination was Runyan Ranches, 20 miles past Mayhill. This is easily the nicest petting zoo I have been to, both in terms of the variety of the animals, and the condition they all seem to be in. Some are in pens, while others are in a big open area, but all can be petted and fed. This is a huge draw for those of us who MUST PET ALL THE FUZZIES, and I knew my littlest guy would love it!
These guys are soooo soft, bot the curly hair and their muzzles.
There are goats everywhere, and they reminded me of seagulls at the beach - the minute they realize you have food, you are EVERYONE'S new best friend.
But, we have goats at home. What we don't have are...
Yes, that's a zebra (and a blurry donkey). The zebra's name is Zip. He's kind of a jerk, so you have to feed him by spoon, but you can still pet him as long as you watch where his teeth are!
The llamas and alpacas you can just feed out of your hand. There was a brand new baby alpaca, pure white, but I didn't get a picture of it.
And a water buffalo. And a camel. And you can feed them. And pet them.
THIS IS SO FREAKING COOL!
Gentle giant! (That's the camel. At a weird angle.)
And when the day was done and I prompted Shane to tell everyone what animals he saw, he excitedly said, "Fish! And ducks!"
So, I guess we could have just gone to the pet department at Walmart.
He was quite distressed at the one dead trout we saw (somebody was using the wrong pond for catch and release fishing), and made sure he told the owner as we left.
This llama became my shadow. He moved very quietly for a big guy (girl? I didn't really look), I would turn my head slightly and his face would be RIGHT THERE.
So we took some selfies.
My other shadow was this brown and white goat, who managed to get part of every handful of food I fed to every other animal.
|She is a photo bomber, too!|
When we got through, one of the owners said she had been watching, and was impressed with how well Shane handled the goats - he wasn't at all concerned about them surrounding him, just shoved his way through. This child is absolutely without fear! He likes to try to scare himself, in fact, which scares US plenty.
At one point I felt something tugging at my pants leg, and looked down to see this little one, literally wagging its tail.
|You gots food for me, too?|
The turkeys are, literally, turkeys.
The one on the right was posing (really, I swear!) getting right up into my camera lens and looking goofy. While I was trying to get the perfect shot,
the one on the left snatched my last bag of food and ran off with it!
The bag was open, so as he ran away in triumph, the food was scattered everywhere, and the llama quietly wandered after him eating it all.
So I had nothing left for the donkeys. This little cutie was just a couple days old.
He tried to come see us, but mama shoved him away. I guess they've heard about those Jones kids, even all the way up there.
There are a few other attractions, such as a gift shop, picture taking opportunities,
and ice cream
I thought she had come running for the ice cream, but she just loves kids. We will definitely be back up with all the kids, and this just went to the top of our places to take visitors to!
Feeding all those animals made us hungry, and with all the places to choose from, of course the 3yo picked Burger King. Waaaaay back down in Alamogordo. Good thing we'd had that ice cream to tide us over!
But Mr. Independence had to sit at this own table!
From there we went to the Blue Stone for his prize (and to see Ivan of course), and he found his first rock!
This is the coolest one I have seen so far - his fingers are covering up the fire breathing dragon - and it turns out it was painted by my friend Annie!
Then, of course, we had to hit Alamo Jump, where he showed just how tired he was.
I think he had fun, what do you think?
Can't end the day without ice cream.
And then...wait, you're not tired? You want to go to the ZOO, too?
The rain cooled it off to almost winter weather.
NOW are you ready to go home?
With the promise of a Sonic slushie on the way home, I finally lured him back up the mountain.
Thank-you to my spirited, smart, scary, handsome, cheesy, fearless, inappropriately articulate con man for a fantastic day!