Thursday, November 29, 2012

N'Awlins, Part 4

Okay, I'm finally ready to finish up our New Orleans trip. Aren't you relieved :-)? If you missed it, you can read part 1 here, part 2 here, and part 3 here

Since Chris finished with his work conference on Wednesday, we had all day Thursday (October 25th) to do whatever we wanted as we weren't leaving to start home until Friday. We decided that a visit to the zoo was in order!

We have a zoo in the big city nearby where we live - and we have annual passes - so the kiddos are very familiar with the zoo. However, we were all impressed with the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans! It was really different than what we have at home, and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

When we first arrived, a professional photographer took a couple photos for us. I love how they turned out! These are photos of the photos.

The zoo was just beautiful, and we picked the perfect day to go! This is the entrance to the park:

At the entrance, there was this awesome display:

How fun is that? Brianna was quite impressed with the elephant that sprayed water, but when she spotted this baby elephant statue, she fell in love! She was cracking us up!

The elephant exhibit was fantastic. One huge difference between this zoo and our zoo at home is the proximity of the animals to the spectators. We felt like we were so close to the animals.

A passerby offered to take this photo for us. I love it!

There were also several stations set up where people were holding animals that the children could pet. Brianna is petting a chameleon here:

Brenson wasn't too sure about petting this snake, but he did it.

Brianna has always been an "up for anything" type of kid. She loved petting the snake (of course!)

Brenson wasn't so sure about this little guy either . . .

This lady was telling Bri allllllll about the animals. She was really listening and I thought it was cute.

They did have a small petting zoo, so of course Brianna wanted in on that. Chris took her in for a while, but I hate those things (sooooo stinky!), so Bren and I hung out by the toucans and waited for them. The birds were gorgeous, but SO loud and poor Bren was scared to death. Not impressed, for sure!

Brenson and I are standing in front of the monkeys' habitat, but they weren't active while we were visiting them.

We decided that a ride on the zoo "train" sounded like fun, although the train wasn't an actual train like we were expecting. It was a nice ride, though.

Brianna wanted to ride this cheetah:

There were several areas of swampland throughout the zoo. Fitting, right?

Giraffes are always a family favorite, and these did not disappoint for sure. I thought it was so interesting to watch this giraffe "kneel" down. That's not something you see very often!

Aren't they beautiful animals?

By this time it was getting closer to the afternoon, and the sun was pretty warm. Brenson is always hot, so the minute the temperature gets above 70 degrees his little cheeks get totally flushed.

One of the biggest exhibits, as well as one that was most interesting to us, was the Louisiana Swamp. Of course, we were able to see several animals that we don't see in our area of the country.


Lazy animals . . .

Brianna didn't know what to think of this little {big} guy. And yes, the water was disgusting (and stinky!)

We were also able to see a whole exhibit of white alligators. Yes, white! I guess there's a whole family of them in the wild in Louisiana, and the zoo has received several as gifts. They had bright blue eyes and a few green spots down their backs. So interesting!

Daddy is so silly!

We had lunch in the Louisiana Swamp, then headed over to see the big cats. This jaguar was staring right at us.

The big cats exhibit was certainly impressive as well!

By this time, it was well into the afternoon, so we decided to head on back to the hotel room. If you are ever in NOLA, I would definitely recommend a visit to the zoo!

On the way back to our hotel, we passed the Superdome. Actually, we passed this almost daily while in the city. The only exposure I had had to this building was through the horrible sights of Hurricane Katrina, so every time we passed it that is what I thought of.

We also decided to seek out City Park and see what that was all about. City Park is basically a large park in central New Orleans.

I guess I was expecting something very similar to Central Park in NYC or Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, but notsomuch. It was pretty, but certainly nothing overly impressive.

The kiddos both fell asleep the minute we got in the car, so we didn't stop to explore the park too much. We basically just drove through and snapped a few photos.

After getting back to the room, we rested for about an hour, then loaded back in the car to grab some dinner. We ended up driving out to a suburb of NO and eating at Texas Roadhouse. Random, right? I actually had steak, and this happens so rarely that Brianna asked me why I was eating a brownie for dinner, haha! 

We turned in fairly early that night, knowing we had a long trip home ahead of us. Friday morning, we left NOLA for good and headed toward Mississippi. We wanted to go home a different way, and Mississippi was a first for both kiddos.

We were also able to drive through Jackson, the capitol of Mississippi. Chris and I had never been to this capitol site before, so we were happy to be able to do that.

It was definitely majestic!

Another photo taken by a well meaning passerby:

The inside of the building had a TON of marble. It was pretty incredible.

However, we read in a brochure (or somewhere . . . I can't remember exactly) that all the marble is synthetic. Why did that make it suddenly less impressive to me?

Brenson was so happy to be out of the car!

He was laughed and squealed and made quite the scene.

We were able to climb several floors upward and look down.

See all the marble?

After touring the inside of the building, we let the kids play on the grounds for a while. They were thrilled to run free.

Brianna had a BALL!

Look at that smile . . .

Chris must have snapped 50 photos of her while I fed Brenson his bottle.

We stayed that night in Shreveport at the same place that we stayed on the way to NOLA. Brianna remembered it so well that she even tried to walk into the room we had the first time! She amazes me. We left bright and early Saturday morning because we were beyond ready to be home at this point. After trekking back through much of Texas and part of Oklahoma, we finally arrived home around 3:00pm on Saturday. 

While it was a great trip overall, it was a looooooong drive to and from New Orleans with children so small. I am extremely thankful for the opportunity to go as a family, though. It was great family time, and I'm glad that I've "done" New Orleans, even if it wasn't overly impressive to me :-).


linda eller said...

Enjoyed your picture trip to NO and back.

Hoping for our own Peanut said...

Your trip sounded fantastic! We like to visit zoos on our trips and would to see that one! And yay for some nice family pics taken by strangers!