An Afternoon at the Zoo With Thomas and Vimmy

School (UofU’s Osher Lifelong Learning) for Hubby and me will begin mid-September, so new postings may become somewhat erratic (or maybe, hopefully, not!) until the 6-week break between classes. I’ll soon become sooooo busy, but have more things than ever that I’ll want to tell about. If you have enough time, there’s not enough stimulation; if you have enough stimulation, there’s not enough time. That’s what I call the “ying and yang” of life.

August is an important birthday month in this family; our granddaughter turned 2 on the 18th, and daughter #1 was was 37 on the 16th. Since her husband had to attend a conference in San Francisco over these two big birthday events, Hubby and I stepped in to host the grandkids after lunch on Sunday so that she could join him for a couple of days, and watch over them for the next two days as well. I was personally very nervous about the endeavor. There’s about 35 years between our parenting and grandparenting years, and I was pretty sure I would feel every one of them over the course of the next two days!

So to ease the pain of Mommy’s departure, Gramma and Grampa planned a special afternoon outing for our two young and very special guests–an afternoon at the Hogle Zoo , and dinner at Mickey-D’s afterward. The two-year-old had no idea of what McDonald’s was, but as long as big brother was enthusiastic, it was A-okay with her. (She adores her big brother!)

His friends and he must have talked about McDonald’s because he was so excited about going, he thought it would be a great idea to have supper there first (at approximately 2:30 p.m.) and THEN go to the zoo. But Gramma and Grampa stood firm and presented a united front. (Now the memories begin to come back.)  I remember as a young parent how much fun it was to be excited by zoos once more through the eyes of young children. Here was our chance for a third go-around. Here’s the afternoon through the eyes of our grandchildren.         


Here’s Vimmy, all fresh from her nap and ready to go to the zoo. She’s tired of waiting for Thomas and Grampa, so she climbs down from her carseat in the back and plants herself into the driver’s seat announcing that she’s “ready to go!” while pretending to drive. I was all set to let her drive with the rest of Utah’s erratic drivers, but her feet didn’t reach the pedals.


Here we are at our first “photo op” site. (We move on quickly as there are others who want to have photos taken on the bronze Mama and Baby Tiger. Thomas has to be coaxed off, as he can’t understand why the little girl following him wouldn’t want his handsome mug in her photograph too.)

giraffe-easing-out-door.jpg  side-giraffe.jpg

One of our first stops is at the Giraffe house because giraffes are Vimmy’s favorite animal. While Thomas and Grampa race far ahead of us (men are always in a hurry), Vimmy and I watch this little fellow venture outside to bask in the sunshine. He’s very timid at first, but soon makes it all the way outside so we can enjoy the beautiful markings on his fur coat.


Around the corner and inside, here’s the one left behind inside the building. He’s either too shy to go outside or he wants to steal all the snacks while his sibling is outside posing for pictures, we’re not sure which.


Vimmy chows down on a Cheesy Doritos snack while big brother Thomas explains where the animal on the other side of the glass is hiding. A girl gets hungry being pushed about all afternoon in a stroller, you know!




After a special train ride around the zoo (for which forgetful Gramma forgot to take photos) the kids unwind in the zoo playground. Thomas is soooooo excited that our final stop for the afternoon will be……….


The Golden Arch! (Gramma forgot the camera again, so photo credit for the picture above go to BravoSixNinerDelta who posted this at

Dinner (to use the term lightly) at McDonald’s is a first for both Thomas, who’s five, and Vimmy. Juding from the food consumed, it may well be the last. They promise not to tell Mommy and Daddy, however, and Thomas reckons–as it wasn’t really “healthy” food–it shouldn’t be done too often, but maybe we can eat dinner at home most of the time, and take him to eat at McDonald’s “every four days.” 

Grampa (the vegetarian) orders fries and a milkshake; I have a milkshake but wind up eating  2 chicken mcnuggets and most of a cheeseburger and fries from “happy meals” the kids didn’t care much for. Thomas loved his apple juice, and Vimmy loved her chocolate milk. Apparently, for our grandchildren anyhow, McDonald’s is not a gourmet hit. Another hit for her is the tiny bear toy; Thomas is ambivalent about his plastic fantasy figure, but likes the plastic box it came in. The big hit for both, however, is:


(Photo credit for McDonald’s playland equipment, titled “Closed for the Night,” goes to sarahfelicity’s photostream at

Back home at last (for a pooped Gramma and Grampa), it’s bathtime and bed for the kiddies, and lights out at 9 p.m. Two more days to go! Before she goes to bed, Gramma gets down on her knees and prays “please bring them (Mommy and Daddy) home safe and sound!” You know what I said in the beginning about 35 years between then and now?

WHEW! It really makes a difference. There’s a reason we have kids when we’re young!

7 thoughts on “An Afternoon at the Zoo With Thomas and Vimmy

  1. Thanks so much for sharing your afternoon. It put a smile on my face. Thomas and Vimmy are adorable. I love the pictures of the giraffe. I am always so amazed at God’s creation. Your

  2. Hey, my kids are really cute, aren’t they? The part about thomas wanting to be in others’ pictures reminds me of a danish friend, Mikkel Hansen, who used to go around the stanford campus inserting himself, waving, in the back of tourists’ photos. it was hilarious.

    and i think mcdonalds’ was a big psychological hit. vimmy talked about it spontaneously a couple times, and for a 2-year-old, that is a big deal.

  3. Ace,

    thanks for taking the time to comment on the post. Unfortunately, part of the comment was cut off but I appreciate it very much. I should say that we saw lots of other animals, animals–both real and not real–snakes (Vimmy got almost nose to nose with an 8-foot diamond back rattler). The only ones that scared us were the fake ones with the noises coming out of an electronic device.


    Nice to hear from you again! You can see why I’ve yet to answer my emails. Teenage grandchildren must be a different kind of challenge. (You got started way younger than I–probably the best way!) Thanks for stopping by.

  4. What great fun! AND oh yeah….there’s definitely a reason why we have our own kids young! It’s amazing how they’re able to zap our energy! BUT oh SO worth it!
    I can tell a great time was had by all.
    Beautiful grandchildren, Alice! And what great memories for them.
    Are you recovered yet? (snicker)

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