Monday, November 10, 2014

My Dean-O-Saur's 3rd Birthday: Dino Trek at Nashville Zoo

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(I'm catching up on updates from this summer and spring! Enjoy!)

We've all heard the saying that the cobbler's children have no shoes. Sometimes, when I spend so many weekends throwing parties for other folks, the thought of planning my own children's parties can wear on me a little bit. In fact, when my seven-year-old opted to skip his birthday celebration this year in lieu of taking a couple friends to the big trampoline park, I was pretty relieved. But back in April, I found a happy medium between the stress of hosting a bajillion people at my house and skipping the party altogether: the zoo! 

The Nashville Zoo has a wide range of party options, starting at the bare-bones option of just showing up and putting your own food on one of their many picnic tables, all the way up to a catered affair with a personalized tour. We opted for the former, buying tickets for any friends and family members who did not already have memberships, having them meet us at the zoo entrance, and treating them to a low-key picnic and Dino Trek exhibit. It was the best of both worlds: personal, but low-stress. The beautiful weather definitely helped.

When everyone had arrived, we entered the zoo, set up our picnic table, and took turns visiting the Dino Trek exhibit, an amazing walk-through experience featuring many lifelike animatronic dinosaurs. For dino-obsessed Dean, it was heaven. 

I handed out foam dinosaur hats I had found at the Dollar Tree (!) and we explored the prehistoric trails. 

The kids really enjoyed the adorable mini archaeological dig at the end. 


At the end of the Dino Trek tour, we reconvened at the picnic table for some very casual snacks and cupcakes. This part was a bit of a test of my resolve, but my desire for low stress won out. I threw a blue sheet over the picnic table, tossed some of Dean's wooden dinosaurs on the table, simply opened up my plastic containers of sandwiches and snacks, and told everyone to dig in.

Well, I mean I still had to label everything with dorky names. This is me we're talking about. Herbivore snacks (carrots), Pternadon Ptalons (Bugles), Dino Bones (cheese sticks), Velociraptor Eggs (grapes), Brachiasaurwiches, and Tar Pit (chocolate) cupcakes.  

My sister made some adorable dinosaur coookies, too! I love all the bright primary colors. 

Dean was a pretty big fan of the cookies, too. 

You can't go wrong with Bugle claws/fingernails.

After the snacks and gift opening, everyone was free to leave or enjoy the rest of the day at the zoo. We hauled our things back to the car in our wagon and had a little fun watching meerkats and riding the carousel. When we went home, there was no mess to clean up. It was a wonderful, stress-free day.

Happy Birthday, my little Dean-o-saur. You are the cheeriest, funniest little guy I know. Thanks for making me laugh every day.
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