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Munchkin Meals: Picnic Food!

I get emails on a weekly basis from a couple of parenting websites (can you say "information overload"?). They discuss development (what baby may be doing now, or may do soon), ways to stimulate and play with your baby, and baby-related news (recalls, new research, etc.). 

When I received an email on Monday titled, "Your Baby: Week 42," it hit me rather suddenly: my little Peanut will be one year old in a mere 10 weeks. That sounds so much closer than 2 and a half months. 

I started to reflect back over Liam's short life, and his many firsts: his first smile, his first time rolling over, his first time eating solid food, his first time sitting up, his first vacation . . . He also recently had his first trip to the zoo, and while there, his first picnic (of sorts)! Which coincided quite nicely with the planned Munchkin Meals theme: Picnic food! 

We happen to live a mere 5 miles from the nation's oldest zoo. The Mister had another week off after we returned from our vacation to the Outer Banks, so we decided to make the most of our family time together and take a trip over there. 

The zoo also allows guests to bring their own food and drinks. Had we planned our trip in advance, I would have brought homemade sandwiches and snacks. But it didn't happen that way. One morning, out of the blue, I asked The Mister if he wanted to go to the zoo. He said, "Today?" And I said, "Why not?" We left as soon as Liam woke from his morning nap, stopped at a convenience store on the way, and ate lunch almost as soon as we got there. 

The Mister and I got hoagies (a.k.a. subs, heroes or grinders, depending on your locale), Sun Chips and water. Liam's a bit young for his own foot-long sub. Luckily, though, the convenience store carries healthy, ready-to-go snack packs. I grabbed a package of grapes, cheese and crackers for Liam (and a plastic knife from the salad bar to cut the grapes and cheese into Liam-sized pieces). Of course, I forgot to pack a sippie cup for water (if Liam tries to drink from an open cup or water bottle, he ends up spilling most of it down his front, even if we try to help him), so I just nursed him. 

We ate at an outdoor table, just across from the children's carousel. I had packed our Skip Hop Central Park blanket, for a real picnic feel, but we had some picnic crashers. 

These ducks, a few Canadian geese, and a few peacocks were hanging around the picnic area. They were quite assertive in their attempts to share our lunch! I saw a sign a few feet away, asking guests not to feed the birds, as they were becoming sandwich-snatchers. I tried my best to contain the bits and pieces of food that Liam always inevitably drops, but they did snag a grape or two. 

After our lunch, we made our way to the exhibits we really wanted to see. We didn't think Liam would tolerate visiting the whole zoo, or even be all that interested in seeing the animals, being as young as he is. But I love going, especially to some of the newer exhibits like the Primate Reserve, and Big Cat Falls, so those were the ones we visited first. 

They have a family of gorillas, as well as a few bachelors (the two groups live separately, as they would in the jungle). We also saw a mama orangutan, Tua, and her baby girl, Batu! They were exploring the zoo in a new overhead series of passageways called the Great Ape Trail. 

Liam also got really close to two gorillas, though at the time, he seemed more interested in the other children around him than the massive ape on the other side of the glass. 
We also saw the big cats: lions, tigers, jaguars, pumas, and leopards. Then we went over to bear country and saw the polar bears, brown bears and black bears. Then we saw the flamingos, the swans and the penguins. By that time, Liam was getting cranky and was overdue for his afternoon nap, so we called it a day. 

For more picnic food ideas for munchkins, please visit A Healthy Slice of Life

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Heather @ What Does She Do All Day?

Thursday 20th of September 2012

It looks like a fun trip! And how convenient that they had a good kid prepackaged food option for you to pick up on the way!

Brittany (Healthy Slice of Life)

Thursday 20th of September 2012

Ah, I can't wait to take H to a zoo!! Cute pictures and doesn't that 1 year mark just sneak up so quickly??

Joanna @ Midwestern Bite

Thursday 20th of September 2012

We had a picnic of sorts at the zoo a month back as well. P seemed more interested in his food than the animals naturally.

I saw a similar don't feed the birds sign at a Panera bread when we were traveling last weekend. I am guessing that was a warning for much smaller birds than you had to deal with though. At least I'm hoping so. Although having lunch with a peacock might be kinda cool...

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