We mentioned yesterday on our Facebook page that we are on StayCation this week to finish up the final days of summer! What that means is that we are still in town, we use our home as the hotel, but each day enjoy a local adventure or attraction just as if we were coming to visit our area! It is actually a GREAT way to have loads of vacation like fun! You see, we rarely visit the attractions in our own area – sure, we have our usual spots, but we don’t venture out much beyond those places. And after talking to many others, many people don’t visit their own area’s attractions.
But the other major benefit is that it is really cheap as the hotel and transportation are usually the two most expensive parts of any vacation and in this case, they are free. So we have a small budget for this family vacation and we are enjoying our time so far after day #1. We have shared our past StayCation here, but this time, we are even doing things entirely different from that Staycation. Even our first one, we didn’t get to see/do everything we wanted.
So Day #1 of our 2012 Staycation, we visited the zoo! Honestly, we have the basic membership to our zoo as our family makes up the cost of an annual visit in 1.75 visits. But our zoo has a train and a carousel that both cost extra money to ride ($1.50 per person, per ride). Since we have the basic membership only, we do not get to ride these rides on our normal visits. So although this was a “usual” spot for us, we did unusual things to make it more special and vacation like. But instead of paying the $1.50 per person per ride, we bought a punch pass that we can get for a discount with our membership. It is a 10 ride punch pass for $12. So it saves us $3. But, come to find out, Baby Josiah also needed a ticket for each ride. So as we were going to buy just some individual tickets at $1.50 for him, but very kind person saw us and had some punches left on their punch card that they were not going to use and gave it to us! We love to see the thrifty love passed on and it was so kind! So THANK YOU mystery thrifty love passer!:)
We also enjoyed dinner at the zoo in the new restaurant next to the Elephants. This was a special treat too, plus our membership gave us an extra 10% discount! We were actually quite impressed with the zoo’s food prices and quality and that extra 10% discount to boot!
The elephants were very active and there was a 3-year old baby elephant who was celebrating her third birthday recently – so it made for such a special lunch. The restaurant was just to the left of this picture overlooking the elephants.
Our most favorite attraction was the new polar bear exhibit. These are my favorite animals. First off, her name is Rizzo and she loves to do this exercise move over and over again. This was our second time seeing her, and she was doing the exact same thing again! It is really cool to see her doing this. (This video was from our July 21st visit – the first time we saw her, but she was doing the EXACT same thing this time too :))
Well, then this time – Rizzo was a bit more exciting because after her water aerobics excursion, it was treat time and zoo staff stuffed a giant Kong with fish for her to “fish” out. She has quite the exhibit and many places that are not too close to the zoo-goers to view her, but this time she decided to give us all a show and sit right next to the window to work on getting her fish out! Wow, that was a treat for us! You can see just how close she was to us! All of our kids were so excited for that experience, but baby Josiah had the best view of all! She kept splashing water on the window and it would make all of the kids laugh, but especially the baby! I think I am pretty much ready to take a polar bear home as a pet as they are just so cute, but Alex has decided that for whatever reason, he won’t let us have one at home 😉
We also enjoyed the new Sea Lion and Seals exhibit and they were having loads of fun today too! We didn’t get video of it, but the seals were swimming very quickly under water and upside down that they looked like torpedos under water. They would turn right before hitting the window! It was really cool! The sea lion in the above picture was HUGE! If a normal sized sea lion was next to it, you would see the size difference, but it was crazy how big he was. It looked like he was blind in one eye and so we think he was a pretty old Sea Lion.
It was a beautiful day for the zoo, not too hot and not too cold! We love going when the weather is perfect as the animals are more active (like we have already shared :)). When it is too hot, they all just lay around and do nothing. But not today!
We ended the day by riding the train. On the train ride, you get to see animals that you only see on the train, like Bison. They kids really enjoy the train. But on a normal visit of $1.20 – $1.50 with our discount per person, including baby, it is a very expensive 2-minute train ride! But it will suit well for a staycation this time 🙂
On our way home, we stopped by Whole Foods and Sunflower Market just as we shared before! We love being able to save money on our Staycation by eating breakfast at home, packing a lunch and enjoying dinner out! Our Whole Foods finds will make breakfast and lunches easier (organic yogurt and mayo) plus the Snikiddy snacks as we always have to have snacks on hand! So that was an enjoyable part of our staycation as shopping at those two stores are a treat for the thrifty and “attempting to be healthier on a tight budget” couple!
Although we are on Staycation, we will be sharing many posts still, and continuing with SOS Mix Month as we share more ideas there too. So keep watching and reading and catch up on SOS Mix month HERE.
Catch Up with our 2012 Staycation with the links below: