One of my favourite meetup activities is picnicking, because it’s an inexpensive way to sit around, have a discussion, and enjoy a meal. Most events last longer than a person can usually go without being hungry, so it’s good to build in a meal or snack–but stopping at a restaurant or coffee shop can quickly become expensive. I love picnics because everyone brings something, and it can be done potluck style or brown-bag-lunch style–either each attendee brings something to share or each person brings her or his own lunch. One of these days I very much want to have a tea-time picnic and croquet game. ♥ I’m sure there will be a summer day perfect for that kind of activity; I just need to find a croquet set I can borrow!
This Friday there was an impromptu picnic at the Lincoln Park Zoo. I adore the Lincoln Park Zoo because I live nearby and it is a free zoo. It’s like going to a park, but with animals–there are no turnstiles or ticket booths, you just wander in through one of the many gates in the fence that surrounds the zoo, and wander out whenever you’re bored. It isn’t the largest or most complete zoo, but I like how it operates. In fact, whenever I’m feeling blue I like to go and watch the penguins for a little while; they’re my favourite. ♥
I was the last one to the picnic because I had an eye exam that morning and baked cookies for the picnic when I got home, not realizing that wouldn’t give me enough travel time. I started to suspect that while the cookies were baking, but at the point I didn’t want to leave without the cookies, if they were going to make me late. They were still warm when we spread everything out for the picnic. I had a chance to use the picnic blanket that I received as a wedding present; it worked wonderfully! (And a good thing I brought it, too, as no-one else had remembered one~)
Several of the girls who attended were lolita I hadn’t had the pleasure of meeting previously–it was very nice to finally attach a face and name to the comments on our local community. ♥ It seemed that everyone was having a nice time and enjoying the conversation. My poor husband was a bit out of sorts because he is afraid of wasps; he interpreted every piece of dust or leaf caught in the wind as a potential wasp.
After our picnic we packed everything up and entered the zoo. We criss-crossed it several times and saw just about everything, from the lions and leopard in the cat house to the penguins~ I also love the brush-tailed bettong, because it hops around. It’s so cute! I tried to take a picture of it, but it’s in the Regenstein Small Mammal-Reptile House, which is kept very dark.
We spent a lot of time over by the polar bear section! The polar bears have a very large pool, and their habitat is visible from two levels–one area that is higher up and allows you to see the ground level of the polar bears’ area, and another that is low and next to a glass window into the pool. The polar bears love to swim, so they’re usually underwater. However, when we were on the lower side the polar bears were hiding indoors, away from the public, probably due to the temperatures. We played around with the “life-sized” cut out of a polar bear that was on the wall next to a replica of a polar bear’s paw and other facts about them. A polar bear did eventually come out, and we did see it, but it didn’t go for a swim while we were around.
The polar bear section is very popular, especially for children, and often there is a zoo worker outside the glass viewing section ready to discuss polar bears with children. They tend to carry props, like polar bear “fur” or “claws.” Even without these workers, there are still the polar bear fact plaques. We played around with the “life-sized” polar bear chart. I didn’t catch very many pictures, because my husband was the one holding the camera, but I had my moment to play with it, too. The water in the polar bears’ pool looked so refreshing that I felt Lait probably wanted to be a polar bear at that moment.
When we had seen just about everything in the zoo, we finally started to part ways. I really enjoyed meeting some new lolita and spending more time with those I knew already. This weekend’s meetup was rather last-minute, but I want to plan another picnic for a future date–that many more lolita have the opportunity to attend. After all, we didn’t even head to the “farm” section of the zoo…or look in the conservatory. There’s so much to do for free in that area; I want to take advantage of it.