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Family Outing

Today was Homeschool Day at the Fort Worth Zoo. We’ve made it a habit to go since we accidentally stumbled upon it a few years back. One of the nice things about homeschool days is that you don’t typically run into a lot of school groups. Oddly, there was one school field trip there today, but I don’t think we frightened them too much.

zoo day
Weird, unsocialized homeschoolers in the wild.

We weren’t sure about the day because rain was forecasted for most of the morning. But we packed some ponchos and decided to risk it (mostly because we’d already bought our tickets.) It turned out to be a great day for the zoo. Whether because the rain brought cooler temperatures or because they wanted to be out and about after being in during the rain, the animals were more active than we’ve ever seen them.

Even the cheetahs, whom we’ve never seen out in the open, were frolicking. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a picture of the other guy who was on his back with his feet in the air like a giant house cat. (True story!)

cheetah 1

The rain wasn’t a blessing for all the animals. The banks of the pond were slick, and just after I snapped this picture, his feet started to slip. He stood up really quickly and walked away nonchalantly as if nothing had happened. He approached the water a couple of times, but never managed to get up the courage to try again while we were watching. Poor, awkward giraffe.


Let’s put aside that unpleasantness because baby elephants! It seemed like reached at least half the exhibits just after they’d been fed. Most of the time that made for interesting viewing, but there were a couple of mice that I felt bad for. What was I saying again? Oh yeah. Baby elephants!

baby elephants

Another Thompson tradition: Lunch at Pappa’s Burgers. We’re building memories. Delicious memories.

lunch breakWe spent a lot of time in the reptile house playing “I spy” with the critters, and Satchmo made special friends with a Mamba.
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The Wild Texas exhibit focusing on native wildlife is actually one of my favorites. Even though it was hotter by the afternoon, many the animals were still pretty active. The mountain lions were pretty frisky and a jaguar was mobile and vocal.

More native wildlife, wilting a little in the heat.

All the kids got an interesting view of a Texas Indigo Snake at the Wild Texas exhibit.

Indigo snake

One of my favorite things about the Fort Worth Zoo is how they do their conservation education. Most of Texas, 97 percent, is owned by private landowners. Unlike Arizona, for example, where almost half the land is federally owned, the care and conservation of Texas depend primarily on Texans. So the emphasis is on stewardship and wise use and management. There’s no villainizing industry or sportsmen, just encouraging everyone to take care of this wonderful state of ours.


After a long day, we loaded our tired tushies onto the train–a favorite from my childhood. And hey! Proof I was there, too!

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