In heading to the zoo, I found much had changed. However, much remained the same. Some of the things I had so loved were still there, and to my delight, Vivi loved them, too.
Such as the giant brass turtle you can ride on.
This guy was actually in one of the very first areas we visited, and after leaving the area (a struggle within itself) we kept trying to distract her with all of the monkeys/birds/bats-argh!-the area had to offer while she kept trying to escape and back track to find him. It was a bit of a relief when we left the reptile house, as I think she would have spent all day sitting on the turtle. I blame the Wonder Pets.
Also of interest was the giant frog cut-out.
While this was not actually in the Zoo when I was little, it is the first time that Vivi has gone up and willingly put her face through one of these things, so I consider this noteworthy. And cute.
But the ultimate blast from the past?
Leo the Paper Eating Lion.
Viv was so excited! And so was I. To find Leo in all his original (if repainted) glory, still reciting his same "Hi, I'm Leo, the Paper-Eating Lion" speech made my day. And Vivi was all too excited to feed him some paper scraps (thank heavens for all the Target receipts in my purse!).
Every time he "ate" her paper, she turned around and cackled.
It absolutely made my day. It was worth the entry fee to watch my little lady fly around and rejoice over feeding recycling bits to a paper-eating lion.
Leo was and is one of my most favorite spots in the entire zoo, and I'm pretty sure he made quite the impression on Vivi. It's nice to know that while so much has changed, the truly awesome things I loved are still the truly awesome things she loved. Viva Leo!