NOTE: For those anxious to read more WW2 Veteran stories; I promise to link each article from this blog when they are published in the newspaper. Keep checking in to this space and you’ll be able to read them all.
David is looking at a manatee!
ZOO BABY: OKay, so we all know it’s a calculated risk to pack an almost 15-month-old into the SUV and hope that a day at the zoo will be a good thing.
Well, the verdict is in, and our “most excellent adventure” was an unqualified success.
The pictures tell the story best, so I’ll try to limit my text to what’s necessary to frame each photograph. If you’re thirsty for more, then check out all 25 pics in my new facebook album, “David’s Zoo Adventures with Grandaddy Derek.”
One more note is in order. It required too much coordination to carry around my Nikon D3100 DSLR along with David and the stroller, so all of these images were captured with my iPhone4.
“LIONS & TIGERS & BEARS:” Tampa is well known for attractions such as Busch Gardens, a fabulous aquarium, Ybor City, and First Presbyterian Church of Brandon (!). But, under the radar but nonetheless awesome, the Lowry Park Zoo is a first-class, “A-List” destination that’s well worth taking a day or two to explore.
David was constantly looking over his shoulder at the next interesting thing. We walked around for three solid hours and he didn’t fuss even once. He may not be old enough for, “Would you take a look at that interesting specimen; he’s moving pretty fast for a sloth!” But he is most definitely old enough for, “Look, David!” And he did.
TOSS UP: David’s favorite part of the day was a toss-up between the aquarium and the boardwalk.
David laughed, and he ran, and he played “hide and go seek” on the boardwalk; and then he gazed, mesmerized, and reached out to try and touch the fish and the manatees.
Mostly, if the animal in question wasn’t huge, moving, or doing something outlandish, then David really wasn’t all that interested.
We’re going there!
BONDING: For me, the best part of the day was doing something super-cool with my grandson. We took our picture in front of the continent of Africa because I have decided to put “Take David Henry on an African Safari, possibly climbing Kilimanjaro together” on my BucketList.
The Kilimanjaro idea was something my brother Geoff and I had often discussed; most especially when he knew he was dying and we were talking about some of our “what-if’s.”
When David graduates from college, possibly in 2033, I’ll only be 77, so I’m thinking it’s definitely doable!
MANATEE: The manatees really were the stars of the show. I’m definitely impressed with the wide range of animals on display at Lowry Park, from giraffes and rhinos to apes and even a white tiger, but once David got down to the underwater viewing station, everything else paled.
He looked intently at the fish, he tried to pet the turtles through the glass, and he peered deep into the water. But when the manatee swam into view, David was transfixed.
You know, seeing things through David’s eyes is refreshing. Like I told one of my friends recently, “My grandson acts like each moment of his life counts for something.”