Yesterday was a girls day! The weather was predicted to be hot, which made it ideal to visit the Camden Aquarium. We had planned to take the River LINE, not the Hudson, ha ha, but a light rail diesel train that runs from Trenton to Camden. The wee train is pleasant and has a scenic route, but it’s really only good for the one destination. Jessie’s Auntie had other ideas and offered to drive, so off we went. At the time, we didn’t realize what a good choice this was. Little did we know, we were off on a great adventure.
Jess had been rather quiet. Typically, she is chatty in the car. I figured she was listening to our catching up and was being shy. It’s been awhile since we’ve seen her Auntie.
Even with traffic, driving had us arrive much earlier than the train. The aquarium is nestled along the Delaware river and there is a boardwalk that runs in between.The water was like glass and there was a great view of the city. The Benjamin Franklin bridge is at one end, and the Battleship NJ is at the other. There was not much activity along the Delaware at this hour except for a small bike patrol and a fisherman who had set out three poles. It’s Shad season so maybe that’s what’s for dinner?
When Jess goes to new places, typically we open more vocabulary on her Talker. As I went to add the words battleship and fishing, I realized the Talker had run out of charge during the drive. Crisis! This rarely happens. Turns out, one of the cables at our charging station wasn’t connected (which reminds me I’m stopping to fix that now). Momentarily Jess was frustrated, but she didn’t let it dampen her day. There was a lot to see and she was ready to take it all in, however, this was frustrating for me to lose opportunites to catch conversation.
The smaller exhibits were eye-catching, walking through shark tunnel gave a sense of awe, but walking over the shark bridge tested Jessie’s nerve. There was a time she would not have attempted this. The rope bridge was narrow and had a slight swing to it. Jess hasn’t always been steady on her feet but was able to walk this bridge with confidence. She let out a knowing laugh here and there as if to say “I’ve got this”.
Jess enjoyed the penguins the most. I’m pretty sure she would have brought one home if she could. It’s a good thing they check pockets at the door. Fortunately, she wasn’t able to get close enough due to the glass window. Believe me, we thought this out.
Seeing the big animals in small tanks made me sad. Like the movie Finding Dory, I wonder if they think about escape? Auntie shared the story about Inky, an octopus, who did just that! It’s an example of life imitating art.
The final thrill was experiencing a rainforest rainstorm at the Piranha Falls. We’ve had a bit of rain recently at home, but this reminded us of our upcountry bungalow on Maui, except for the Piranha of course. Feeling a cool breeze and being misted by the gentle rain was soothing, but when the thunder clapped, Jess was ready to leave.
Now, what do we do? It wasn’t even lunch time. Recently Jess had done a historical tour of Philly, so our options were the Zoo or head to Great Adventure. With the NFL draft and the football festival in full swing, Philly was jammed. We decided it would be less frustrating to head to Great Adventure than stay, it was an easy decision to flee the city.
By the middle of the day, it was nearing 90 degrees. Hot, but not humid, a perfect day to be at Six Flags. It was our good fortune that it’s early in the season. Crowds were small and lines were short. Jess loves amusement parks, but me not so much. I admit it. Most of the time I’m not the “fun” mom.
On this visit, our mission was head to the Safari Off Road Adventure to feed the giraffes. We were transported on large, loud, open trucks that hauled us as fast as they could through the park. Apparently, the main objective was to get people from point A to point B. The guide warned us about animals coming up to the vehicle, but there was no such opportunity. This truck did not stop and the driver made a point of keeping a wide berth.
Phone/cameras were to be used at our own risk. If you dropped it, there was no going back. The guide said that the animals have been known to take the phones and that the park is not responsible for roaming charges…ha ha…however, I think the intention to keep us moving was so there wasn’t the opportunity to lose their phones.
The giraffe park was sparse. Inside the building, there were some reptiles; snakes and lizards. Outside there were cages of parrots. I hate seeing birds caged. They didn’t look too happy. When I said “hello pretty bird”, there was one meek, pitiful reply “hi”. Not very stimulating for smart animals. Behind the birds, there was a small gray pony? He was very fuzzy and cute, but he was the one thing is not like the others. My guess is he’s the last remaining pony from when the park offered rides.
Outside in another pen, there was a giant anteater. Andy was pacing and appeared bored. Did you know that they can eat 65,000 ants a day? They provide him something that meets
his nutritional needs, which somehow doesn’t seem to be the same as foraging for live ants. Like being offered Lays Kettle potato chips and getting baked Pringles instead, but worse. I’d bring him home too, but we don’t have enough ants to satisfy him either. There was a food truck for people. Out of desperation, I paid $5 for a small coke. Andy might have enjoyed that but he looked like he could use a beer.
Right on schedule, the giraffes meandered up to the balcony. Their presence did not disappoint. I was impressed how they politely waited their turn for a snack. We fed them raw sweet potato fries held in an ice cream cone.They ate it all.
At the risk of stating the obvious, giraffes are tall. Our platform was tree height. Their tongues are black and can be up to two feet long. Jess was less intimidated by them than she was Sylvester and Tweety, whom she met when we entered the park.
After our giraffe visit, we hopped on another truck and sped back to the amusement park. Along the way, we learned that a lion’s roar can be heard up to 5 miles away and that a Tiger’s roar only two. We also learned that male ostriches are black and white and the females are gray and white.
As soon as we walked in the door, Jess got her back-up Talker and started chatting about the day. Over dinner, she told her Dad “roller coaster exciting” and “penguins remarkable”, then talked about the battleship (because I added the word). Jess was relieved to be able to say what she wanted to say, even if it was hours later. When the Talker lost it’s charge she didn’t forget what she wanted to say. What had been pent up was soon released!
Jess went to Great Adventure and lived to tell about it on her Talker.. and all is well with the world.