Grandpa and RG Visit the Zoo. Chapter 2: The Zoomazium

December 11, 2008

Changing the subject, I got her dressed to go to the zoo, including coat, hat, and boots. The day was windy and rainy; not a good day for a trip involving outside activities, but if RG is going to grow up in the Pacific Northwest, outside activities will often involve wind and rain, so she better get in the habit of dressing for storm-battered expeditions.

The first stop at the zoo was the Zoomazium, essentially a large indoor playground and science center. Mrs. Random and I had taken her there once before. On that trip, a regular weekday morning, the Zoomazium had been nearly empty. Today (a legal holiday) it was filled with hundreds of mommies (and a few daddies) having “quality time” with children ranging from infants to kindergarteners.

In typical “institution speak,” the zoo describes the Zoomazium thusly:

All the exhibits within Zoomazium have been designed for whole-bodied, imaginative play, as well as integration with existing zoo programs. The building is divided into several play areas, including active spaces for exploratory play, a stage for theatrical demonstrations, storytelling and video presentations, a Project Place and Nature Exchange for guided learning. What could be more fun than exploring a mountain cave, crossing a rope bridge in the tree canopy, discovering what lies beneath a savanna water hole or even climbing a 20-foot tree?! All this and more are awaiting discovery for young children interested in nature.

As my wife and I are hardcore introverts, we both hate “crowd scenes.” I observed RG carefully as she is clearly a young introvert. She removed her shoes and coat and placed them in an open-face storage locker by the door to the Zoomazium. Hundreds of little children were running around and screaming. RG looked at them warily, but continued purposefully on her own mission. First she headed for the biggest of the three climbing areas. The climbing areas are essentially slides, but carefully crafted to look like jungle hills and grottos. A child climbs a tree/hill in the jungle covered with vines, goes through a cave to the top of the slide, and then shoots down. Each of the three areas has a height measurement area at the bottom. A child has to be tall enough to go into the area of her choice. As RG is very tall for her age, she easily qualifies for the tallest area.

RG climbed the jungle tree (with a little help from a path up the tree) and disappeared into the vines and caves. Eventually, she reappeared as she slid down the slide. The look on her face was not so much one of joy as of a little person fulfilling a designated task; not unhappy, but not one filled with delight, either.

2 Responses to “Grandpa and RG Visit the Zoo. Chapter 2: The Zoomazium”

  1. truce Says:

    I used to feel that way about slides. And, come to think about it, see-saws. “This is a little scary but I’m going to do it, oh yes. Wait, how dare that big boy push in front of me?! That’s an outrage. Somebody should tell him off very crossly.”

  2. Spectrum Says:

    I was quite a shy child.

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