November 25, 2010: Thanksgiving at the Zoo

We all slept in a little too much this morning but managed to get pulled together, loaded into Francesca’s truck and off to Fort Worth just in time to make it to the Fort Worth Zoo at a quarter after ten.  The zoo is open ten to four all year long which makes it pretty easy to remember when they are open.  Or so one would think.

We got to the zoo and the parking lot was deserted.  We had checked the Zoo’s website this morning to verify that they really were open normal business hours on the holiday and the signs that we had seen at the zoo two weeks ago as well as the website all assured us that they would be open.  But they were not.  They had chains across the gate and a big sign up saying that they were delaying opening until noon.

So we drove out to the Ol’ South Pancake House just down the street to get a late breakfast or early lunch since we had over an hour to kill.  Concessions are not going to be open at the zoo today so we do need to each before going in or we are likely to be pretty hungry.  So it wasn’t really the worst possible timing for them to be opening late.

Breakfast was awesome and fast.  Dominica and I will definitely be going to Ol’ South again on our many planned trips to the Fort Worth Zoo.  It is in the perfect location to eat there on the way to or from a day at the zoo.

We got to the zoo right as they opened and were among the first twenty people to enter today.  We are guessing that there were only seventy or so people all day anyway.  I’ve never seen the zoo so empty, but that is to be expected.

It was far, far colder today than we had anticipated and we were not dressed for it.  It was so cold that we almost expected to see little flecks of white in the air but it didn’t quite freeze although it was overcast like it could snow.  We were very cold, though, dressed for fifty degrees and not the high thirties.

There were several zoo exhibits, all concessions and all “rides” (e.g. the train, carousel, etc.) that were closed due to the weather but with so few people in the zoo and many animals happily coming out to partake of the cooler temperatures it was actually a great day to be at the zoo.  We were surprised by how many animals, including the lions, tigers and rhinos, that were out perfectly happy to have a cool day to enjoy.

We managed to do more of the zoo today than we would normally do in just four hours.  It was a super productive zoo day.  Since we weren’t stopping for food or waiting for any crowds we got to do what we wanted, when we wanted as fast or as slow as we wanted.  It really was a lot of fun.  In MOLA – the Museum of Living Art – Emily and I actually got to take the time to go to most all of the exhibits and actually read the information on them and look at the exhibits.  Normally MOLA is so crowded and the people that you are with are in such a hurry that you just walk through and never actually see what the museum is all about.  So that was really nice.

We stayed at the zoo right up on until they closed.  We got a full zoo day in and it was a lot of fun.  Today was also the day that Dominica and my zoo memberships paid for themselves and we have now, officially, saved money by joining the zoo.

On the way home from the zoo we swung north up to Carrollton to take Francesca to see our new house that we should be closing on in five days.  We couldn’t get into the house yet and most everyone was asleep in the truck after an exhausting day at the zoo so we just took Francesca around the outside so that she could get an idea of the house.  From the back yard you can see into the living room almost as though you were standing in it so you can get a pretty decent idea from there of the public parts of the house.  There is no seeing anything in the “private” section with the bedrooms and bathrooms, though.

After going to see the house, the big project was to try to find a newspaper with the advertisements for Black Friday.  That turns out to be harder than we had imagined.  We went to Walmart, RaceTrac, CVS and a few other places but everyone was sold out.  We ended up needing to give up on that.

We went to Denny’s for dinner.  Dominica and I were itching for a Denny’s salad – which is the best chain salad around with their amazing ranch dressing.  When we got there I ran over to the Valero right next door on the off chance that a small, local gas station just might have the newspaper, which they did!  Go me.  Dominica and Francesca were very, very happy to see me walk in with a newspaper.  Now they can strategize about their Black Friday shopping.

Dinner was quite good.  Denny’s has new menu items that looked great and some good special items on their holiday menu too.  Liesl absolutely loves Denny’s ranch dressing and eats it on everything.  She just eats and eats.  She is so funny about needing to dip everything in ranch.

After dinner we were all pretty exhausted and so it was back to the apartment for us.  Dominica and Francesca are planning to hit the first of the Black Friday sales at ten tonight and then go from one to another all night long and not stop until the morning.  Pretty crazy if you ask me.  I am staying home to watch the kids – a little scary for everyone, I’m sure.

The left to go shopping at nine forty-five which we all thought seemed to be way too late.  I looked on Twitter and someone said that Toys’r’Us already had over a thousand people in line right as they had left.  I don’t think that they really thought through what this shopping is going to be like.

As I half suspected, the girls were home by ten thirty having given up on Black Friday shopping.  The lines were completely insane and there was easily two thousand people ahead of them in line to get in the door!  So we just went to bed.  Dominica’s plan is to get up in the middle of the night and to try to do some online shopping to get deals that way.  They might go shopping tomorrow during the day when the crazy crowds have subsided.

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