Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:
Every year since 1999 Anne and I have taken a road trip to a different part of the United States and seen attractions, marvels, history, and institutions we didn’t have back home in Indianapolis. From 1999 to 2003 we did so as best friends; from 2004 to the present, as husband and wife. For 2007 we changed up our strategy a bit and designed an itinerary for what would prove our most kid-friendly outing ever. Granted, my son was now twelve years old and less kid-like than he used to be, but the idea was sound in principle.
Thus in this year of our Lord did we declare: the Goldens are going to Florida!
Longtime readers have seen the title before. If you don’t know the drill, it’s not hard to figure out. We had time for just one stop on Day Two in Atlanta, which gave us a nice option for crossing “zoo” off the to-do list. It was certainly one of the most sylvan zoos we’ve ever visited, and we had the privilege of seeing one set of very special guest animals that were only in town from overseas for a limited time. It was incentive enough.
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Family vacation tradition necessitated at least one concessional sightseeing stop tailored to my son’s more average tastes. Roadside oddities, historical landmarks, and natural wonders occasionally amuse him and hold his interest, but we like to let him choose at least one stop himself rather than force him to settle for our selections alone. After stops in previous years at Canada’s Marineland, the San Antonio Zoo, and the Minnesota Zoo (to say nothing of frequent visits to our own Indianapolis Zoo), Zoo Atlanta was an obvious choice.
Thankfully zoos differ from each other in the way that matters most — we usually get to see at least one animal we’ve never seen before. New experiences for us this time included wallabies, midget frogs the size of insects, and gorillas, which my son the King Kong fan so desperately wanted to believe were silverbacks despite my complete willingness to read the posted signs to the contrary.
This particular summer Zoo Atlanta’s feature attraction was a group of Chinese pandas on the first stop of their world tour. The internet tells me I’m supposed to call them “an embarrassment of pandas”, but that’s a terrible term. As a fan of the Kung Fu Panda series, I refuse to endorse it.
The pandas were such divas that viewing them required timed tickets (just like the Washington Monument) so that all the tourists didn’t mob them at once. Zookeepers were strict about keeping us silent as we were ushered through their section to watch them frolic and shower themselves with bamboo, which was in plentiful supply — not only in the panda zone, but throughout the entire zoo like a Pier 1 Imports paradise.
Like the pandas we also had lunch at the zoo, just to get it over with before we resumed our journey to Florida. Nothing about any zoo food in world history merits in-depth coverage in a travelog, so we’ll be moving on to the road now unless anyone is interested in our three dozen outtakes of faraway lumps, fuzzy blurs, dots that might be birds, and shots of wooded backdrops that I’m not even sure have animals in them.
To be continued!
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