Saturday, July 09, 2022

New York City Adventure - Day 3

Today we were all looking forward to a day of rest. Sure, we'd take a little walk to the nearby zoo and perhaps hit the botanic gardens next door. But really, our focus was on enjoying a bit of downtime.

So yeah, that's not at all how the day went.

We did take a stroll to the 'nearby' Prospect Park Zoo. But that little jaunt was about 2.5 miles. Along the way, I introduced T to the magic of Lueko tape when we took a break to treat one of her blisters.

We all perked up when we made it to the zoo. What the Prospect Park Zoo lacks in size, it more than makes up for in quality. The girls loved the cute sand cats (no C, we can't take one of them home), and D loved getting to feed the birds. J and Shira were in charge of the DSLR and documented the day beautifully.

D loves all things bird related, especially collecting feathers. The zoo had a couple of wandering peacocks which apparently shed feathers. The result is that not only did D get to see and feed birds today, but he also got to collect a number of beautiful and unique feathers.

We enjoyed a little open-air picnic and even successfully let the kids go explore one of the indoor exhibits on their own (they stuck to the rules: stay together; come back as a group when you're done).

In hindsight, we probably should have just grabbed the subway back home and played Legos for the rest of the afternoon. But nooooooooo, I couldn't resist adding on at least one more adventure. The Brooklyn Botanical Garden is right next to the zoo, so how could we not check it out?

The gardens really are gorgeous, but by now we had multiple children complaning of tired feet and D turned out to be petrified of bees. We tried all manner of calming him down, but he wasn't having it. The boy who loved birds and was eager to cuddle with a wild one was convinced that every bee in a two block radius was out to sting him to death. So yeah, that's something we'll have to work on.

We started our tour exploring the discovery garden, which did capture some of the kid's attention. I really enjoyed the nearby herb garden, which is filled with common veggies like artichokes and cabbages. However, seeing them grow in all their natural glory is quite impressive.

D got a kick out the rock garden, which had the geological era of the rock written on a plaque. We got pics of him touching a rock that no doubt a dinosaur had touched as well.

Near the lily pool, we found a much needed bathrooms and a lone white egret flew into the area to be admired by all. Shira snapped some amazing pictures of it in flight.

As I hoped, the kids enjoyed the aquatic and tropical pavilion. I had high hopes for the bonsai exhibit, too, but it left the kids underwhelmed. In past bonsai exhibits we'd visited, each specimen was labeled with an approximate age so you could appreciate how many years the tree had been cared for. In this exhibit, most were missing dates. I think this contributed to the kids not really understanding what they were looking at.

We finally made our way to the Japanese Hill-and-Pond garden, where we managed to get split up. I took the girls around the pond, assuming the path we were on was a loop. Instead, it took us to an exit point. We backtracked to the main Japanese Pavilion. At the same time, Shira and the boys were also making their way around on the same path. Unfortunately, the path splits and there's a low and high road. The girls and I took the low road, and Shira and the boys took the high road. Impressively, we managed to miss each other. To complicate matters, I'd given J my cell phone to take pictures, which meant Shira couldn't just call me to get this untangled.

Eventually Shira and I connected on my backup phone (hooray for backup phones!) and we finally regrouped near the garden exit. The kids were relieved when we finally headed back to our Airbnb. We counted off the blocks, one by one, as we approached our home. When we hit the grocery store a few blocks from our place, I sent the rest of the group on their way and stopped in to pick up a few supplies.

Walking back from the grocery store alone, I savored the unique neighborhood we were staying in. I passed various small groups blasting music, and at one point I walked by a guy standing under a fairly large canopy he'd set up in the street. One by one, he was grabbing a large whole fish and chopping it up in chunks and adding it to a pot. I had so many questions.

All told, I logged 25,824 steps today. I took some comfort in knowing that tomorrow, our long hike, would almost certainly have us walking less than today. Still, what an amazing and fun day!

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