To build up the anticipation for visiting the Lafayette Science Museum’s Dinosaurs exhibit, we ended our long Thanksgiving weekend with a trip to the Audubon Zoo and its own Dinosaur Adventure. The normally packed zoo was nearly empty on this bitter cold and dreary day. Once we bundled up, though, we were elated at the free reign we had.
|Up close and personal with dinosaurs
|Elephants pack up their toys at the end of the show.
Every visit to the zoo starts with a stop at the elephants. For the first time, we caught it just right to see the elephant show, where Charles was able to pet one of the giant animals. After the talk ended, the elephants packed up to head indoors to eat, with one closing the gate with his trunk while the other lifted a large tire with his mouth and walked away.
We made a quick tour of the monkeys and marveled at the sea lions playing under water before Charles had reached his limit and ran at top speed toward the dinosaurs. I watched as Paul chased him down and casually carried August in the direction of the roaring noises. We entered the steamy prehistoric setting and gawked at the insanely realistic animals. They are truly the oddest creatures I’ve ever seen, some with heads covered in horns and others that hiss a stream of water at you.
|Sea lions play in their watery habitat.
Charles lived for days like this and rattled off the various names that I couldn’t even pronounce. At three years old, he has become an expert on dinosaurs, even to the point of watching National Geographic documentaries about them. Only one of the creatures stumped him, and he required my assistance to read the sign citing the long, foreign-sounding name.
August, on the other hand, grew more scared by the moment, and when he started clutching me tight and screaming back at the animals, I knew it was time to abort. We instead did some Christmas shopping in the gift shop while the other two marveled at the king T-Rex attacking a triceratops.
|A white alligator relaxes by the water’s edge.
I don’t think a zoo will ever be the same for these kids now that they’ve been mesmerized by the dinosaurs. We continued on, laughing at the giraffes chasing each other around their cage and the black bears playing in their bath tub. The white alligators probably ranked second on their list, though they held a close tie with the elephants. The swamp monster was definitely in the top five as well.
As we exited the Louisiana swamp, the rain returned, and we cut the rest of our tour short. As with every visit, the zoo was a complete success and remains a standard on our local treasures list.