Friday, July 15, 2011

Lake Tobias

If you aren't from the central PA area, you might not be familiar with Lake Tobias.  Basically it is a wildlife park & petting zoo.  It has your standard zoo exhibits like lions, bears, zebras, monkeys, etc.  And it has a reptile & amphibian building with a demonstration you can watch of sloths, snakes, alligators, etc.  But the real highlight is the Safari Tour.  You climb aboard a school bus with a safari paint job which has had its top cut off and you can get up close and personal with some pretty big animals.  I'm not sure you can feed buffalo, deer, texas longhorn bulls, etc. at any other regular zoo.

We met up with Mandy, Austin & Bailey to enjoy the experience with them.  These first pics are from the Safari ride.  I can't remember half of the different animals we saw, so if you know them - good for you... if you don't - oh well, I never promised a biology lesson.

 There were some animals that were very comfortable with having a bus in their backyard and had no issue with trying to get on board. 

 These guys were huge.  There is no way to describe the size of those horns coming trotting over to the side of our bus.  We were warned to watch closely and protect our eyes and small children.
 This elk (yes, I do know the name of at least one) kept swinging his head back and forth between me (who had no crackers) and the lady behind me (with the huge stash of crackers).  He banged her elbow with one of his antlers a couple of times but fortunately no injuries.
 Maddie loved pointing and saying "baby alligator" during the demonstration.  But when given an opportunity to pet one, she was super shy.  All talk - no action.  Ha!
 She really enjoyed feeding the baby goats.  They really enjoyed trying to eat Tom's shoe laces.  I think they were crackered out. 

 Ooops, this pic was from the Safari ride too.  These birds were crazy and we were told not to try to feed them by hand... as in, just throw the crackers to the ground because birds are mean and will bite your fingers off.  And then poke your eyes and steal your camera.  We kept Maddie a safe distance from the birds.
It was a really good time at Lake Tobias and I recommend it to anyone, especially if you have little kids. 
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Maddie LOVES to swim!  She talks about it all the time and she is getting more adventurous every time she gets in the pool.  She also gets to participate in "water days" and "beach parties" at her daycare so here she is one morning ready to go for a beach party with baby.   
 But baby needs her breakfast first.
She started the summer (or really just a little over a month ago) requiring her swim vest and a preserver/float to get in the pool.  Like the crabby below. 

 But very quickly she was tired of being constrained so I started giving her "swim lessons" with her vest and some arm floats.  This video was one of the first times using the arm floats (sorry - just tilt your head to view :-).  She got the hang of it pretty quickly.
She has quickly become comfortable with the water and keeping her head up and making sure to always keep her feet kicking.  She has had "opportunities" to demonstrate her ability to get to the side of the pool with only her swim vest on (as in, while playing around with Mommy at a safe distance, she has fallen in and then rescued herself).  Every time we get in the pool we practice "falling in" and she's learned the routine of quickly turning around, grabbing the edge, shimmying to the ladder and calling for help.  I'm certainly not a trained professional and eventually we may take her to someone certified in swim lessons, but for now, I am very proud of the way she is picking up instruction.  She really loves the pool but also has a basic respect for the rules of being in or near the water.  I grew up around water (whether a pool or a creek or a lake or the beach) and it was a big part of my childhood - I hope it can bring as much enjoyment to Maddie and Tommie too.
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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Summer Carnivals

I remember going to all kinds of local carnivals as a little girl.  We even had one within a bike ride of my childhood home and my parents would let us ride their ourselves to waste our quarters trying to win goldfish.  There are two carnivals in our area and we decided to check them both out for the first time this year.  Maddie loved the rides and the games.  She would get super excited as soon as the ride would start up, then mellow out during the ride, and then get excited again when it was over and she'd want to run onto the next one.  She definitely has some little thrill-seeker tendencies that come out every now and then.

Warning... some of the pics below are blurry - mostly because the rides were moving pretty fast but also because I was using my phone.

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