every year since lily's first birthday, we have gotten a zoo pass. i think we pay about $75 for it which includes me getting in, plus one other adult guest (99% of the time it's chris) and the kids are free til they turn 3. so we had to pay $10 for lily for the year, but it's $8 for a 3 year old to get in once, so that was well worth it. and for an adult, admission is $18, so when chris and i go together more than once, the membership has already paid for itself. and chris really loves the zoo, so we go about once a month, if not more. (oh yeah, the kids are fond of the place as well.)
apparently the phoenix zoo has been voted one of the top 5 zoos in the nation. that's pretty impressive! the winter is great cause the big animals like the lions and tigers and elephants always seem to be out. in the summer it's hard to see those guys cause they are smarter than me and know better than to be strutting around in the arizona sun. we have really enjoyed seeing the feline family these last few weeks after living at wes and kim's cause they have cats, so we have explained that the lions and tigers are in the same family as grandma and grandpa's cats. and we also saw 'the lion king' a couple times while living over there, so the lions have disney names. also, when we told the kids that the boy lions have a lot of hair, and the girl lions don't, lily said: "just like grandpa!" and if you know wes, you know he has a pretty impressive mane.
the phoenix zoo also has a petting zoo, and that's probably one of topher's favorites. i put some random pictures at the bottom of this post and i have no idea what order they are in. but my favorite pictures are of topher with the goats, and hobey who just got brave enough to touch them (and he is applauding himself in the picture). so precious. lily doesn't have any cute pictures with the goats cause she does not care for them. she goes in to look at em, and even picks up a brush to brush them, but then when we get close enough she hands the brush over to me and tells me to brush them.
there are also different areas where you can spend more money to do more stuff. we pretty much always go on the carousel, which is great cause it's only $1. and then this last week chris took the kids to feed the giraffes. i think topher was free (yeah for still being two!) and lily was $3. feeding the giraffes is not something that the kids can just do anywhere, so it wasn't a big deal to drop 3 bucks on that experience. but it's also not something we have to do every time we go.
another great feature of the zoo is that they have a train that goes through a portion of it. so you still get to see a bunch of animals without getting any excercise! it's awesome. especially when my mom came to the zoo with us and paid for our train tickets ($3 per person i think). the best part though, is that you have a very knowledgeable guide and he tells you a bunch of facts about teh animals. my favorite factoid last time was about the ostriches. male ostriches are black and the female ones are brown. the females sit on their eggs during the day, and the males sit on them at night, so God in His infinite wisdom color-coded these animals according to their tasks. the zoo guide didn't mention God in his tour, i just added that part in myself.
so, the phoenix zoo didn't pay me to write this post, but we are there a ton, and it's one of the funnest things to do in this random place called phoenix, arizona.