Ahhh, Family Vacation time! Is there a better time of year?
This year we decided to take a trip to the Toronto Zoo! My kids are getting old enough that animals are of great interest to them, so it seemed like a perfect fit! We’d never done a long trip before, so the thought of the unknown was unsettling and exciting all in one precious little bundle.
First things first, how were we going to drive 4 and a half hours each way to Toronto (Not Canada’s Capital for my American friends) and back, without a riot breaking out in the back seats?
Luckily for us, in these hard economic times, our neighbours were gracious enough to lend us their portable DVD players! You know, the ones that attach to the headrests and turn your little monsters into silent Tinker Fairies.
We weren’t blessed with children who fall asleep the moment you start the car. Our kids will fight the sandman until he waves the white flag and retreats! The DVD players worked wonders on the way to Toronto, to the point where I actually had to check to make sure they were still back there!
Now, normally I wouldn’t interruprt a Zoo story to talk about a random occurence at a Rest Stop but this one is important to the story. Also, if my wife is reading this right now, I apologize….
We stopped in Napanee (*Trivia: Which Canadian singer hails from Napanee?) to get some coffee and snacks for the trip. No stop would be complete without a group trip to the over-sized family restroom. No wacky family trip would be complete without your 4 year old son hitting the handicap button on the door, which opens up to the main seating area, while Mommy is…well, you know. Humiliation ensued.
We recovered in time to grab some TimBits from our favorite little coffee shop, Tim Hortons, where I crowned my daughter “The Queen Of The TimBits”! And yes, occasionally my kids get to eat junk. Especially on holiday! Plus, in Canada, Tim Hortons is a part of our Food Groups…
Back to the trip! We arrived at our destination after a very silent, relaxing drive and immediately got to work! The Zoo visit wasn’t until the following day, so we had lots of time for fun!!! After we unpacked all our clothes, of course… It must be a man thing but I have no desire to be in my hotel room any longer than necessary upon arriving there. I need to do the tour and mark my territory!
We had a great (and very expensive) dinner at Boston Pizza and then it was time for swimming and bed for the kids. Little did I realize, that bed for the kids also meant bed for Mommy and Daddy because the children didn’t understand why the TV was still on at sleep time. Oh well, a little sleep never hurt anyone, right? When you have a son that punches and kicks in his sleep, it does in fact hurt. A Lot!
Before I get to the Zoo portion of the story, which I promise will be short, I want to mention that my children are not the easiest to please. I love them with all my heart but they tend to get cranky and occasionally go to the violent tantrum phase. We are pretty good at dealing with this but with the prospect of 40 degree heat and 5-6 hours of walking, my guard was up and I was ready for anything.
We had some pretty tense moments, such as my son and I fighting over who would navigate the map of the Zoo. He won. Also, there was the 500 pictures I took of my Daughter and I before I got her to smile nicely instead of making her silly “Cheese” face. You know the one.
We were there with some friends of ours and their two kids, so I was hopeful that the kids would all keep each other in check. I have to say that after 6 hours of walking the treacherous terrain, a crazy lunch and a million animals, I have never been more proud of the way my children behaved! It was like they had made a pact ahead of time, to make this the best family vacation we could possibly have and it totally worked!!
No Griswold disasters for us!
There was so much more that happened on the trip. A less than quiet drive home after the DVD players had lost their “new car smell” appeal. Petting Sharks and Sting Rays. Highway Potty Problems. Merry Go Round Insanity. But those are all stories for another time!
The important things to take away from this post are as follows:
1. My kids were well behaved and we had a great trip!
2. The Toronto Zoo is an amazing place. 6 hours and we still could have used an extra day to see it all.
3. DVD players in cars are amazing! For trips of course. You don’t want to create Zombies….I guess.
4. Make sure your kids DO NOT push the handicap button while you are using the bathroom!!!
That’s all I feel like writing for today. I hope you enjoyed reading about our adventure and I’ll close it out with some footage I shot of the kids favorite part of the Zoo.
* Trivia answer was Avril Lavigne. You win nothing for guessing it correctly ;P