This spring we really went to the animals. For our 14th anniversary our family spend the day in St. Paul. First stop was Como Zoo. The zoo had added on and updated many of the exhibits since we were last there, so it was a real treat. We started with the monkey and ape area. The kids had to pose with the gorilla statue (it's in there somewhere, trust me):

most of the kids covering the gorilla statue

This sloth has relaxation down to an art:

relaxing sloth

One of the orangutans had her baby with her. She was wearing an over sized t-shirt, and used it as a baby sling and nursing smock. The baby kept sneaking a peak at the crowds.

the baby orangutan

That wasn't the only baby. Nora loved seeing the baby giraffe and it's mother. The mother was quite photogenic.

close-up of the giraffe

The big cat area was a thrill as well. Alex was hoping the lions would be a bit more enthusiastic, however.

sleeping lions

One of the more different thing the zoo has done is add mice to many of the exhibits. It was a bit weird to watch them scurry about everywhere.

close-up of a mouse

We all really enjoyed the new tropics area. Birds flew freely everywhere, some almost landing on us! Here are a couple:

bird on a plate feeder

close-up of a bird

There was even a large aquarium with big exotic fish.

a large fish

The fauna proved breathtaking as well.

a purple orchid

The girls got a kick out of the new children's area. Nora helped some flowers grow,

Nora pretending to water toy flowers

Rosa "washed" a seal with a hay bale (it looked like a sponge to her),

Rosa pretending to be washing a seal

and Anna loved riding a baby zebra.

Anna on a zebra statue

The zoo was having some sort of bird festival that day, so there were free games and real birds all over the place. The kids really liked the build-a-bird area. Caleb made a loon colored one, of course.

Caleb making his bird

Nora's turned out to be a colorful parrot.

Nora showing off her bird

Rosa was just enjoying coloring, so mommy made one for her, so she wouldn't feel left out later on.

Rosa coloring

Here's the gang with their birds:

The kids with their finished birds

After the zoo side of things, we went to my favorite place, the Como Conservatory. The kids run through it much too fast, but I managed to get a nice shot of them in the spring flower room.

the kids with pretty flowers behind them

From there we went to the Twin City Model Railroad Museum. It is a family favorite. The kids love watching the trains, and there are even some interactive buttons they can press to get in on the action. Here is a shot on a train zooming by.

a train zooming by

After that, we went to one of our favorite thrift shops, Unique Thrift, before heading home again.

This spring proved to be long and on the cool side, so when it finally warmed up enough to go without jackets we decided to go enjoy it. We packed the kids in the van and headed to the A Maze'n Farmyard for the day.

After briefly chasing a young calf, the kids spotted a neat water contraption. It consisted of colorful water hand pumps connected to rain gutters that flowed into watering basins. There were toy ducks of various colors for racing. The kids loved it! Here they are, racing ducks:

the kids using the water pumps and ducks

Anna enjoyed watching the action with daddy.

Daddy holding Anna

She especially liked the ducks.

Anna holding a duck

Rosa was so excited to go on her first ever pony ride unassisted and without her sister.

Rosa riding a pony

The farmyard has lots of small buildings with chickens, pigeons, and such inside. These chickens seemed a bit odd, though.

Rosa, Nora, and Corbin posing in a chicken cut-out

The main barn was full of babies. Kittens, puppies, ducklings, chicks, even baby turtles. A baby camel mistakenly thought Anna's toes were for suckling on.

Camel nibbling on Anna's toes

A very young goat kid thought I should adopt him.

Shannon holding Anna and a baby goat

Anna really had a blast. She loved the baby goat kids. Here are some shots of her with them:

Anna with a goat kid

Anna with 2 goat kids

Nora spotted a horse out in the pasture, and called it. Incredibly, it came over to her!

a white horse

Nora petting the horse

The farmyard also has a maze, mini golf, and a big slide. The kids loved the latter, and the 3 boys and Nora went down again and again, until they were so tired they couldn't climb the stairs again.

the kids sliding

Before we left, the gang played on the playground for a bit. Caleb tries out the digger.

Caleb on a sand digger

Another springtime favorite is our local town's own gardens. Here's Alex marveling at how big a tree there is:

Alex posing silly in front of a huge tree

Anna matches the apple blossoms!

Anna dressed in pink with pink flowers all around

We all had a great spring. Anna really grew, too. She took her first unaided steps, and in May, at 10 months old, she started walking everywhere.

Anna walking

Next adventure: summer!

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