The first full week of school, the kids left with nothing to do and nowhere to go. Daycare had ended for the summer, and preschool hadn't started yet. I had been wondering for weeks how I was going to keep them occupied for about ten days straight. Rather than sit around and be bored at home, I decided we would take a mini vacation to Northeast Arkansas, visit with friends, and hit a couple of kid-friendly attractions.
Mom and I loaded the kids into the car late morning on a Monday and hit the road. My friend, Emily, was in the same predicament as us with her kids being between summer programs and school starting, so she welcomed us with open arms for a visit! We made it to their house late afternoon and took the kids to a fun restaurant that had an awesome outdoor play area for the kids to run around while we got to sit and visit. It was a perfect night.
She and her kids were busy the next morning so we ventured out on our own to the Wild Wilderness Drive Through Safari. We arrived right as they opened for the day and hit the petting zoo first. We bought a couple of bags of feed and then you just walk into a pen with some loose animals (and some behind fences) and pet and feed all you want. There were goats in the same fenced area as us and they knew exactly what was in our little white sacks. Those dudes were aggressive and the horns on their heads are not soft! We fed lots of goats and sheep and pigs and even a baby bull.
Pictured below are the bags of food we were able to purchase for $1. Each bag had some feed and two very stale pieces of wheat bread. Since we were some of the first visitors of the day, these were possibly left over from the day before. Why is this important? Well, it's not. Except that as I was busy feeding the goats, I turned and saw over my shoulder that Thomas was having a snack. He ate an ENTIRE SLICE of gross, stale, covered-in-animal-food-crumbs piece of bread. Gross!
After emptying our bags of food, we wandered over to the next petting zoo area to visit the cutest little kangaroo I'd ever seen. We learned her name was Reba.
Reba had THE SOFTEST fur I'd ever felt and we all thought it was hilarious that, as my Mom was petting her, she jumped right up on her!
We laughed and I took pictures and it was funny, ha ha, and then y'all - excuse my language here but - shit got real. Do you see this picture below? This is what my nightmares are made of.
Reba kinda jumped up and hugged my arm (below left) and licked me over and we thought it was funny and then, I have no idea how this happened or what went wrong, but Reba pounced on me and started HUMPING me. Aggressively. All I could do was scream, "REBA! REBA!" as people turned to look and my mother - no help at all - could not catch her breath from laughing so hard. My kids? Terrified at the sight of this wild animal ravaging their mother. Probably scarred for life. And the young petting zoo employee is just standing off to the side going, "Oh wow. I've never seen her do that before." Meanwhile I'm all "REBA! REBA! GET DOWN!" Do you see that picture on the right? That was at the end of the escapade - how I even got the picture I do not know - and can you tell how she is practically trying to break my arm?!
Below are a couple of my battle wounds - superficial scratches, sure, but we all know those are the ones that sting like crazy. It's safe to say that I will no longer be jumping at the opportunity to get inside a fence with a wild kangaroo.
After we pet all the animals we could, we piled into the car for the drive through portion of the safari. The kids loved it because they didn't have to be in their car seats. Mom and I loved it because there really were SO many animals to see! We drove through looking at animals for probably an hour but definitely could've spent more time there if the kids weren't getting antsy.
Here are some of the many animals we drove past - white and orange tigers, zebras, tons of different breeds of deer, bears, monkeys, even a hippopotamus.
Our tour was slightly delayed when we came to so camels in the road. Not really the make-up of your every day traffic jam. They were not really interested in being in any kind of hurry to move out of our way.
We watched the camels finally walk past us out my side (passenger) of the car and then turned back around to move forward again, only to spot this fella out Mom's window ready for a stare down. He (she?) would not stop staring through the window at us! The picture of him (her?) finally walking away looks exactly like my go-to hand figure for shadow puppets.
One of my favorites: a Zonkey. Nope, not even kidding. Got that donkey figure with those zebra stripes.
It was lunch time when we finally left the Safari and the kids were starving. Emily had told us to go to The Wooden Spoon if we could so we looked it up and went straight there. We were surprised at how packed it was on a Tuesday for lunch! We had to wait about an hour but the food was well worth the wait.
Late that afternoon, we joined Emily and her kids at their neighborhood pool where we all swam and ate pizza for dinner. The weather was perfect that night and we had the pool all to ourselves for a while.
We visited the neighborhood playround too. We sure miss these friends of ours living in our town!
When you're on vacation, you can stop for chocolate ice cream cones at 9:00 in the evening!
We were scheduled to drive back home the next day, but decided to squeeze in one more fun stop before hitting the road. Emily and her kids joined us and we all went to the Amazeum in Bentonville, AR. The kids loved playing with all the fun toys and cool attractions, and maybe I enjoyed wearing the Walmart vest and scanning groceries too.
This trip was so fun and such a good way to spend a few days instead of just sitting around the house. I'm so glad we went and hope we can make it a yearly trip!