Friday, May 22, 2009

Saturdays with Dad: Oxbow Park

Gonna try something different, this post should have nothing to do with the awesomely fantastic new Green Day album - 21st Century Breakdown, available in stores every where. (OK, cheap plug, but seriously, I can't stop listening - hehe)

This past Saturday, OhCountess was working at the hospital leaving me with the kids to fend for ourselves. This isn't really a problem or anything new. She's been working at least every other weekend since she started nursing. The advantage of this weekend? Well, with all the celebrating, our house was pretty much in tip top shape. Let's just call it...a FREE DAY!

On Thursday, she told me that Oxbow Park and Zollman Zoo were planning on having their spring fest. It's a family fun that they do to raise money to help fund it's operation. Sounded pretty cool and the girls haven't actually been here yet. Not sure how that happened, but it did. This needed to be changed.

I took about 350 pictures on this day. I think the pictures with a few words will tell a pretty fun story. I've posted some of the more artistic and less cute kid pictures over at my photoblog. Having shot this many pictures, I might be sifting through them for a while. Here are the highlights condensed down to a mere 15 shots.

Is it all kids or just my girls? Face painting is required for them. Surprisingly, this was free.

OhPrincess2 has gotten quite patient at sitting there waiting for someone to paint her face.

OhPrincess1 opted for the butterfly look.

I worry that my time is running out with my 9 year old when it comes to days like this. Until that time, I will be cherishing every minute!

Here's the result of OhPrincess2's patience. She was pretty excited to have the little lady bug.

I can't help but smile when I see my little girls get so happy...being a dad rocks!

This is an American Badger. Not sure I ever knew that there were badgers in other parts of the world...but rock on dude!

I just couldn't resist shooting this guy. I figured that someday, I might look this relaxed.

This, I think, is the coyote. Here's a description of the source of the animals from their website:
The Dr. Paul E. Zollman Zoo houses over 30 native Minnesota animal species, including mammals, birds of prey, and reptiles. Most of these animals are permanently injured or are surplus from other facilities, and therefore can never be released to the wild. These beautiful creatures provide countless opportunities for learning and personal enjoyment, and are utilized in Oxbow’s environmental education program. The zoo was named in honor of Dr. Paul E. Zollman, DVM, in recognition of his dedication to Olmsted County parks and his help in the care of the

These guys were just too cute. This is a prairie dog. He just looked so cute eating while sitting in the food dish. I sure hope he doesn't, you know.

There were other prairie dogs around in this little pen, I'm sure they would appreciate dry goods.

We left the small animal area at the zoo and headed over to one of my favorite parts.

There is this old farm house. Inside, there are displays of life in the first part of the last century. As you can see, the girls were pretty excited to see what was inside.

This barn has always inspired me photographically. The contrast in textures and colors is really cool.

My girls really hate posing for pictures now but I let them ham it up for this shot.

Inside this barn are a couple of rooms furnished as they were 80 years ago. There was even a stove in the room that appeared in pretty good condition. On the wall is a framed newspaper clipping showing the ad for this very same stove. $59.99 from Montgomery Wards. I wonder if they still have some of those?

In the same area as this old farm house are large fenced in areas for much larger roaming animals. They've got some bison and elk, but the girls absolute fav was the whitetail deer.

This girl had stood next to the fence and let anyone feed her. What my smart kids figured out was that one of her favorite foods were dandelions. Good to know! I might have a job for her later this summer.

Before we left for the day, the girls enjoyed the music stylings of Brother Music, Sister Rhythm. A folky couple that would play all kinds of old folky and country songs.

If you check out Sister Rhythm with the suitcase in front of her, she was demonstrating the ingenuity of days gone by. She had a drum pedal behind it and was using the now empty suitcase as a drum. OhPrincess1 just thought that was the coolest thing.

They even played a few songs I remembered from my youth from the K-Tel Looney Tunes album. Man that one rocked! I believe we wore it smooth.

We were wrapping up for the day after listening to the music. The girls had been really good all day and since this was a fund raiser, they were selling these little stuffed animals.

OhPrincess2 picked the fox. She thought he was just the cutest. After watching in horror as a Webkinz got rung up for $15 (those are just little ones! DAMN!) I was pleasantly surprised that these were a mere $5.

OhPrincess1 is a big fun of huskies and wolves. I think it was seeing the movie 'Eight Below'. She picked the wolf for a stuffed animal, but before we could leave, she really wanted her picture taken with the real wolf.

Living in the city like do, it's hard to tell her that unless we move, there is probably no hope of ever getting a husky type dog. Those are dogs that need lots of space to run, unleashed. It's sad to see them on a chain.

The people that run this park have such a great sense of humor. They planned a wolf howling contest, and the kids were supposed to get their parents to do it too. The kids thought this was a brilliant idea, well, mine didn't. They knew that I wouldn't have a problem with doing it :-)

This guy is one of the staff at the zoo. What a card! He spent probably 10 minutes giving the demo on how to do a perfect wolf howl.

Even without prizes, most of the kids raced to get in line, I'm pretty sure not everyone got a chance. Who wouldn't want to howl like a wolf? I mean really?

OhPrincess1 had been asking questions all day about why this place needed to do fundraising. It's hard to explain places like this just don't exist. With an economy in the pooper, I worry about these places keeping their county funding. This day was organized by the Friends of Oxbow, the volunteers that make the extra effort to keep this place running above and beyond what the county pays for. So, on our way out, we each took turns depositing in the collection boxes. OhPrincess1 was glad to help, "Dad, can we come back?"



WeaselMomma said...

That looked like a great day.

Kim said...

What a fun day.. the photo of her running towards the barn is just precious.. Sounds like a perfect day..

Nellie said...

awwww... that looks like FUN! Ellie would love it there.

Mike said...

What a fun day. And yeah, enjoy your time with them now. Soon they grow up and it's not as cool to hang out with dad...