December 7, 2018: Dallas Zoo

I have never been to the Dallas Zoo before.  I have been to the Fort Worth Zoo a few times, back when Liesl was little.  We used to drive out there, before Luciana was born and maybe when she was a little baby.  I don’t believe that we have returned to the Fort Worth Zoo since we moved out of Texas in 2013.  We have barely been to any zoo, for that matter.  We went to the Lisbon Zoo in 2012.  For Dominica and me, it all seems so recent.  But the reality is is that the kids almost never go to the zoo.  It seems weird that they have been to so few.  I am sure that I am forgetting some.  I know that we went to the zoo in Targu Mares in Romania, that was 2016.  And of course we went to the Atlanta Aquarium earlier this year, and that is kind of a zoo (it has otters!)  And they have been to the “zoo” in Disney World several times, but not since 2015 (days before we moved to Spain.)

This morning I got to work and put in about two or three hours of normal work and coordinating for my meeting with Boardroom Events this afternoon when Hilary decided that we should meet at the Dallas Zoo since there is a bar there that serves drinks.

I wanted to take the train and not deal with driving and especially not deal with parking.  So that made for a long day of train travel.  But the DART tickets are only three dollars since I would be leaving after noon, so you just can’t beat that.  But that meant that I needed to get moving really early.  So I handed the reins over to Rodrigo around eleven so that I could shower, get dressed, and get out the door. That made for a very busy morning as I tried to get as much done as possible before heading out for my meeting that was certainly going to go until the end of the day by the time that the train would get me back home.

Paul dropped me at the train station at Trinity Mills just after noon.  It was chilly and threatening to rain.  I got my ticket and had to wait about ten minutes before my south bound train arrived to pick me up.

I tried to get Dominica to bring the girls today, they would love getting a day to go to the zoo.  But Dominica did not want to tag along to a meeting and did not think that the girls would be happy given the weather situation.  So we will have to try to bring them some other time.

I rode the Green Line all the way down to the West End Station.  I had to make the transfer there to the Red Line, which I have never taken before.  I had a good twenty minutes to wait there, and it started to rain pretty hard and was very cold.  I had forgotten to have anything to drink, nothing at all, all morning so was pretty thirsty and cold and really wanted some coffee.  I tried to find a Seven Eleven, but spotted a nice Urban Roasters (or something like that) right next to the West End Station so ducked in there and scored myself a nice Americano to take to the zoo with me.  I stayed inside as long as I could safely do to keep out of the rain.

Scott Alan Miller Riding the Green Line out of Trinity Mills

I caught the Red Line south.  A homeless guy got on the train with me and talked to me all the way to the zoo.  He “scammed” me for some money, but whatever, I knew what he was doing.  He put in a lot of effort for some money and clearly needed it.  And he got me to the zoo and directed me where I needed to do which was handy.

The Red Line goes right to the Dallas Zoo front gates, it is so convenient.  And some days, you can even get two dollars off of your admission to the zoo if you take public transportation to get there.  So that makes it that much better.  Parking down there can be a pain and is ten dollars!  So avoiding that is a big deal.

It was cold, rainy, and a school day.  So the zoo was totally empty.  I mean… empty.  No one anywhere.  I went to the front and paid to get in.  It turned out that there was no public transportation discount on a Friday, but they gave it to me anyway since I was like the only zoo patron of the day!  I got directions to the Serengeti Grill and headed that direction.

It was a good walk to the grill, which we had heard was the place to go.  I saw no humans in the main part of the zoo.  I stopped and saw a few animals.  A mandrill yelled at me a bit.  I saw a few people walking under the “tunnel” that divides the two parts of the zoo going under the highway, but that was about it.  I got to the Africa portion of the zoo and all of the people disappeared heading off in another direction.  

Scott Alan Miller at the Serengeti Grill at the Dallas Zoo in the Rain

I got to the grill a bit ahead of Hilary, so I walked around and checked out a few exhibits in the area, and then settled in on the veranda to await her arrival.

Hilary got to the zoo a little behind me and had the funny experience of paying to get in and the front cashier telling her that her friend was already at the Serengeti Grill waiting for her, lol.  She was pretty shocked that the whole zoo knew that we were meeting there, but we were the only people there.  But it really highlights just had desolate the entire experience was. 

We checked out the grill but discovered that they did not serve alcohol there like we had been led to believe.  So that was a bust.  There were at least three people working there, though.  They must have been bored out of their minds.  No people in the zoo at all.  But it made it easy to talk to them and find out where we could go and they said that the Prime Meridian Cafe over in the main portion of the zoo would have alcohol.  So we got directions and headed there.

It was a cold and wet walk through the zoo, but we eventually found the Prime Meridian and went inside.  This was much larger and fancier than the grill had been.  And they definitely had alcohol, decent beer on tap in fact.  So we got ourselves a few beers and sat down and talked business for an hour or two.  We refilled our beers and then went out to explore the zoo.  We were told that beer was allowed anywhere in the zoo except in the children’s zoo area!  That is so awesome.

Hilary got cut wrist bands for the girls, a pink flamingo one for Liesl and a black penguin one for Luciana.  Perfect for our girls, animals and colours that they love.

We had a great time wandering the zoo and checking out exhibits (mostly indoor ones.)  It was a blast and as long as we were there, we really had the place to ourselves.  It was pretty cold and wet, there was a good reason for no one else to be there.  They kept turning on lights and music and stuff for us as we had walked around.  It was very weird having so many people working at the zoo, but no one there seeing things except for us.

Around five it was getting darker and colder and pretty much time to go.  We were having so much fun that when Hilary said that there was a Harry Potter Burlesque show that she had heard about and clearly had that glint in her eye that she wanted to go and didn’t have anyone that wanted to go, I offered to tag along if she wanted.  So we made some calls and decided to do that!

Riding the Dallas Zoo Carousel with Hilary

Hilary called an Uber and while we were waiting we rode the carousel at the zoo and while we got some cute pictures, I also discovered that my vertigo is sensitive enough now that I can not even ride a carousel any longer.  That part of my life is now officially over.  Even that tiny bit of spinning does me in.

Our Uber arrived and we took a short ride over to her friends’ house that was not far away, but in a part of the city with which I was not familiar (which is not hard to do in a city the size of Dallas) and met her friend Ryan and hung out there having a few beers while awaiting the evening plans to kick in.  I love the neighbourhood of the house.  Really neat area, much older than the part of the city that we are in.  These are hundred year old houses down there, rather than forty year old houses up where we live.  Even old town Carrollton was only from the 1930s.  Turn of the century homes in Dallas are decently uncommon.  There wasn’t all that much in the area at the time.  It is, in fact, pretty weird to think about Dallas even really existing that long ago, the whole city seems like a recent construct.

We hung out for a while till Ryan’s wife Michelle got home from work.  She got home and we headed right out in the Jeep to go touring around the local Dallas area checking out the amazing Christmas lights that they do in that area.  We had a blast and wow the houses and lights around there are really something.  I did not know the area at all, it was like being in a completely different city than the one that I have been living in for the last decade!  Amazing how a city can be so large that you can live there and never get to know it at all.  And we are decently active people.

After the tour de lights, we went to Velvet Taco for dinner.  Dinner was awesome.  I have never been to Velvet Taco (there are so many good taco places in the Dallas area) and they had an amazing selection of vegetarian and pescatarian tacos.  I went for a falafel taco (amazing) and a fish and chips taco (also amazing.)  

After tacos, it was right over to the Viva Lounge to get to our seats for the show.  Michelle decided that it had been a long day and she wanted to get some time at home so just dropped us off.  Ryan decided to join us so we were a threesome for the show.  The Viva Lounge is a major burlesque venue in the Dallas area, but I’ve never made a show here.  This was Hilary’s first ever burlesque show.  They have a cocktail bar right in the show area, so doing drinks during the show is easy.

We were not that early, only time for one drink before the show started.  It was “A Hogswarts Holiday” and pretty well done.  We all had a really good time.  The show was very funny.

After the show we grabbed an Uber and dropped me at the Southwest Med Center station and I took the short ride on the Green Line back home.  It was well after midnight when I got to Trinity Mills Station.  

Dominica said she was going to pick me up, but was running so late that I thought that something was wrong.  So I started walking looking for the car.  I ended up making it well down Trinity Mills before she blew past me going to the train station.  So I had to jog quite a ways to get back to where she was.  I probably should have just walked home, it would not have taken all that much longer.

It was a very fun day.  And I have been invited to a Christmas “egg nog soire” tomorrow evening.  So my weekend is already getting busy.