Since my son Jake came along, my hubby and I have been immersed in kid stuff we never realized existed, like the baby-mecca Atrium Mall for strolling and kid-friendly eateries, BJs for diapers, Children's Orchard for used kid clothing and toys, and searches for Lightening McQueen kids beds. Jake is also why, even though we've been in Boston for over 10 years, we finally decided to visit Franklin Park Zoo. Plus we wanted to appreciate Earth Day last week (and I happened to nab free zoo tickets from my workplace!). This place is an inner-city gem. I've been to big national zoos where I had a front row view of chubby panda bears gnawing on bamboo and emperor penguins lined up in a row, so I wasn't expecting much from this smaller zoo. But I was really impressed with the comfortable tree-lined walking paths and animals that actually looked well-fed and not bored to death. Most of the animals sauntered close to the observation glass or even roamed freely along our walking paths, as if posing for the endless camera flashbulbs:
I was even impressed by their Giddy-Up Grill that served healthful kid-friendly snacks like Yoplait yogurt, fruit cups, pudding, plain milk, string cheese and granola bars. For myself, I found a vegetable spinach wrap stuffed full with roasted eggplant, zucchini, summer squash, red pepper, hummus and tomato for only $6.50. A basic sandwich but with very fresh vegetables and overall tasting so good that the clerk surprised me when she said the wraps were made in their own kitchen. Not something I'd expect from a high-volume park.
If you happen to fall in love with one of the numerous fuzzy (or slimy!) cuties here, consider "Zoodopting" an animal to help with the high cost of their food and care. You get a certificate of adoption, a stuffed toy of your adopted animal, and a fact sheet. It's a great learning experience for kids and helps increase their awareness of the larger world around them. Visit Zoodoption for info.