It pays to read the fine print

Patrick’s gut has been sick this past week. A couple of days ago, he woke up from his nap throwing up. It’s probably bacterial overgrowth again, when the bacterial flora in his gut gets out of balance because, well, how could it not?


waving "hi" to the gorilla
waving “hi” to the gorilla

So I decided today that I’d add his third and optional oral antibiotic to his regimen to see if it helps. But that meant a trip up to the pharmacy at Primary Children’s. And the 30 minute trip across the city and up the hill is hardly worth it for the time it takes to run in and pick up a prescription.

Enter the zoo pass.

We bought the pass just for occasions like this.. so not every trip “up the hill” would be purely medical. So I hopped on the zoo’s website when Patrick got up from his nap to check the hours.

Gate closes at 4 p.m. Grounds open till 5:30. It was quarter to 3. So, in true seize the day fashion, I packed up and got out the door at 3.

I almost thought we wouldn’t make it. There was some state high school competition at the university and traffic was heavier than usual, but we made it to the zoo gates at 3:50 p.m. One helpful woman yelled after me “They’re closing” as I rushed to the gate.. But I’d read the fine print.

I made it just on time to get in before the gate closed and all the people who hadn’t read the last line headed out at 4 because that’s when they thought the zoo closed.


I’m sure the overall attendance at the zoo was low today anyway. After all, yesterday was free zoo day and there was snow in the forecast. Still…

For one magical hour, Patrick and I were the only visitors in the zoo.


What a unique and fun experience. First, we walked in and were greeted by a curious peacock. Then, we were surrounded by a flock of turkeys. (You see these animals uncaged other times, but they always stay behind fences at a safe distance.)

In the ape house, Patrick was wandering around looking in windows when all of a sudden I looked up to see that he and I were face to face with a HUGE gorilla. Then, one window down, the youngest orangutan, Acara, came over to the window to play with us for nearly 15 minutes. She and Patrick exchanged kisses through the glass. She pouted when I decided that we really ought to go.


Patrick’s favorite place in the zoo is the small animal house. In the center is an open rainforest looking area full of birds and turtles. We walked in and I spotted a parrot perched just a few inches a way. I pointed it out, telling him it was a bird “like Max”.. well, from then on, Patrick would only visit the animals in the corridors for a few minutes at a time, then run back to this room in the center yelling “Ma! Ma! Ma!” and whistled. Being alone in the small animal house was a certain treat.

The tigers put on a bit of a show for us, too.. One jumped down from a hill about 10 feet above us, then walked right up to the window and gave a friendly roar. The leopard just kept pacing, but would stop to see if we were still there. The lemer yelled for attention every time we turned our backs, and then when we’d look would put on a show, including jumping right down to the glass. I don’t know if he was performing or trying to chase us away. And the chickens, well, they ignored us as they foraged through the flowerbed, but clucked enough to convince Patrick that I wasn’t just making up the animal we’ve been looking at in books.

Sometimes I really love the adventures our family has because Patrick has taught us not to miss an opportunity. And, really, it pays to read the fine print.

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