Friday, June 28, 2019

Welcome to Nashville (Nashville Part 2)

Our Nashville story continues with our first official day in the Nashville area...

Monday, June 3rd

The next morning, Elissa and Rick were up early for her orientation at the Nashville Zoo.  Rick took her over there and let Eliot and I sleep.  Since we were staying in her bedroom at the apartment, we didn't hear them getting ready and leaving from where they stayed in the living room.  Rick ran a few errands while he was out while Eliot and slept in and relaxed once we finally got up.  Eventually, we took showers and got dressed so we'd be ready for whatever we decided to do for the rest of the day.

Rick came back to the apartment a little bit before we had to pick Elissa up.  The three of us headed over to the zoo right about the same time she said she'd be done.  After we finally found a parking spot, she joined us at the car.  Elissa got her medication into her and we decided that we'd stay and explore the zoo.

Rick bought a family zoo membership so Elissa could go visit anytime she wanted to while she was there.  It made sense since the admission worked for the rest of us, and for Nori when she was going to visit Elissa later this summer.  In addition, I planned to use it again while I was still in Tennessee after Eliot and Rick left.

After getting the membership, we took a quick look around the zoo gift shop.  Elissa fit into the junior zookeeper outfit for kids so we took a silly picture to commemorate her summer internship there.  Eliot, Elissa and I found a few souvenirs to come back for later and then we all set off on our Nashville Zoo adventure.

We started by heading in the direction of the new Veterinary Center which was at the top of the hill.  (If you haven't caught on, Tennessee is all hills- pretty much everywhere you look.)  At the facility, you can watch veterinarians as they work on and with the animals.  The zoo has baby clouded leopards you can watch there but they weren't in the windows of the Veterinary Center when we visited.

After visiting the facility, we walked towards the rhinoceros and giraffe exhibits.  Then, we made our way past the Festival Field and the Soaring Eagle zip line.  We stopped to sit down in the shade for a few minutes when we reached the Zoofari Cafe.  Eliot went to refill the slushie he'd bought on the way up to the Veterinary Center.  (He got free refills all day so he was going to take advantage of it.)  Rick explored the cafe and came back with mac and cheese which he, Elissa and I all split.  After one more slushie refill, we headed towards the zebra, ostrich and antelope exhibit.

On the way, Elissa showed us the amphitheater and where she'd be working.  She will mostly be working outside of the zoo with the outreach programs.  But when she's at the zoo, she'll work her way up to taking animals out to do interactions with zoo guests.

We continued on the path towards the zebras and passed by the kangaroos.  Eliot and I went inside while Elissa and Rick waited in the shade on the pathway.  I didn't realize that you were able to see them up close until we were inside and reading all of the posted signs.  They were all over the hill, laying in the shade taking naps.  There was one laying near the exit area with a line formed near it.

Guys... you could pet the kangaroo!!!

I was so excited.  Eliot and I both took turns rubbing it's back and taking pictures.  He was so soft!  I could have stayed there all day.  I'm so glad we went in to see them!

Once we reached the top of the hill, we were at the shared zebra, ostrich and antelope exhibit.  We watched them for a few minutes before walking over to the new Tiger Crossroads exhibit.  Eliot and I both love tigers so I was really excited to see them.  

We found one that kept going from the grass, to the glass and back to the grass.  It looked like it was hunting something, but we couldn't see what.

After watching the tiger for a while, we headed towards the last section of the zoo.  We passed a guinea pig village which was really cute.  I loved their little bridge!

We stopped at the restrooms near the bear exhibit.  The women's restroom actually had monkeys in it!  I didn't really believe it at first, but there was literally a monkey exhibit inside of the bathroom.  (Eliot had said there was a snake in the mens' restroom at the front of the park... and he wasn't a fan.  He hates snakes.)

I enjoyed watching the monkeys for a few minutes.  There were two babies and they kept jumping on top of the other monkeys.  They were so cute!

After that, we visited the Andean Bears.  One of them was really active and kept walking up to the glass so we could see him up close!

Eliot and I enjoyed seeing the clouded leopard.  We've never seen the animals at a zoo so active before.  We think it's because it was feeding time and the animals all knew it.

Elissa, Eliot and I walked across the rope bridge on our way to the last few exhibits.  At this point, the zoo was closing soon, so we started to speed things up a bit.  Elissa wasn't feeling great since her prescriptions hadn't fully started to work, but she was a trooper.  We'd seen pretty much everything.  The only part of the zoo we didn't see was the Grassmere historic home and farm.

We headed back towards the front of the zoo and the gift shop.  After making our souvenier selections, we purchased them and went back to the car.

After the zoo, we decided to go to the movie theater to see Aladdin.  Of course, Eliot and I had already seen it, but I was excited to see it again.  Plus, it was something where we didn't have to walk and we could relax.  We all thought Elissa needed a break to chill.  We all enjoyed the movie and I caught many more things the second time.  (In fact, I'm not opposed to seeing it one more time on the big screen!)

On the way home to the apartment, I was starving so we stopped at Hardee's to get something for Eliot and me.  It's the same as Carl's Jr. and I love their burgers!  We don't have either of those restaurants here in New England, so I was dying to get one while I could.  I had seen a few of them during our travels and I swore they were taunting me.  Once we got back to the apartment, Eliot and I devoured our burgers and we all hung out for a little bit before heading to bed.  °o°

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