Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Tiger, Tiger, Roar! Part 1

Our son, Gideon, turned 5 years old today. We would normally have thrown him a birthday party, and invited his friends from school. But parties can get expensive, and this year Gideon really, really wanted to go to the zoo. To see tigers. And, I didn't know this, but the zoo is really expensive too. So, we had him choose! We let a five year old choose! And, surprisingly, he chose the zoo. He chose tigers. Over his friends. Nice. Hi-five, Gideon.

We decided to go the Bronx Zoo. We verified that there were tigers, and booked our tickets using the Optimum Online discount. I took the day off from work, and Alex put work on hold until later that day. It was an exciting morning. Gideon woke up early, so completely aware of the day and the importance of it. It was the first year that he totally got it. This was a big deal; he was five today! There was going to be a trip to the zoo! He would see tigers! And later, (later!) there would be cake and presents. It would be the best day ever. I read him a Happy Birthday text message from his Aunt Shelley, and he jumped up and down on my bed in total joy. It was pretty awesome. And did I mention the tigers? He was going to see tigers!

The entrance to the Bronx Zoo.

Father and Son.

My darling Lucia, feeling a little left out from all the Gideon birthday celebrating.

Their first stop. Ducks. Of all things.

A sleeping bear. We saw him later that day, and he was dancing.

Now, we weren't there to see ducks or bears (oh my!). We were there for the whole tiger experience. They have at the Bronx Zoo an exhibit called Tiger Mountain. This was our goal. It was quite a walk, and we hadn't brought a stroller or rented one. My mom was with us, and although a really good sport, sometimes suffers from some pain when she walks too much. So, by the time we arrived to Tiger Mountain our expectations were high. We were there to see some tigers! Imagine our disappointment when we entered and saw a lone tiger, asleep at the top of the hill. There was a crowd of people at the glass, waiting to see action from the tiger. He just lay on his side and blinked.

And then Gideon approached the glass. He stood there and touched the glass, and looked at the tiger. Suddenly, the tiger stood up. He started down the hill, and walked in a straight line, right toward Gideon. It was almost menacing, and Alex and I were a bit startled. My mom let out a silent shriek, and we all moved in to be closer to Gideon. The tiger approached him, and Gideon reached out. The tiger walked by, and then returned to his hill. It was all surreal, as if the tiger had been waiting for him.

I almost didn't get this shot, since we were all feeling flummoxed.

Gideon wanted to take him home.

It looks like the tiger wants a bite of his head.

Until we meet again.

Stay tuned, there are more zoo posts to come...

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