|Ledger & Daddy atop Pike's Peak|
Later, the Hindmans drove in from Longmont and we met the Pogues and Yosts at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. I, personally, LOVE this zoo. It has an amazing giraffe feeding station and they just come right up to you, wrap their tongues around your hand, and eat the lettuce you're offering. It's pretty cool. Locke was not too excited about the giraffes. Ledger was SUPER excited about the giraffes, but wasn't brave enough to hand-feed or touch them yet. Also, this zoo is undergoing some major renovations. Since our last visit in 2012, they've done a major expansion of the elephant enclosure along with improvements in lots of other areas. The new grizzly bear enclosure was a big hit with Grammie. At the new elephant enclosure, we got to watch an elephant get a bath and then roll in the sand. But the thing that Ledger and Locke loved the most was getting to spend time with their big cousins, Connor, Chase, and Brady. Chase, the oldest, is SO great with the little kids and was especially good with Locke -- who is still kinda finnicky with people other than Mommy and Daddy. It was so great to see them all together. I hope we can do it again soon!
|Family photo at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo|
|Ledger's first horse ride! He loved it.|
One of our favorite places in Colorado Springs is the Garden of the Gods. Chris and I just love the scenery and uniquely red rocks that jut out of the ground to create amazing formations. Before we had kids, we hiked up to the Siamese Twins formation and loved taking photos up there. On our last visit, we took the kids and even Grammie and Papa up there -- we all loved it. This year, we were excited to take Jaime and Brett up there too. Lucky for us, they are good hikers and adventurers, so instead of just keeping to the standard trails, we went exploring through the backwoods of the park to see if we could reach some other formations too. It was so much fun. The kids were exhausted, of course, but we all had a great day. (Amazingly, Locked liked being in the hiking pack and was very content to enjoy his "ride" through the trails!) It's probably one of the best memories I have of being in Colorado as a family.
Last year when Pam and Steve went to Colorado on vacation, they visited a nearby wolf preserve and took a tour. Ever since then, Pam has been very determined to go back there and take it one extra step by going INTO the wolf enclosures for a photo shoot provided by the preserve. Of course I was more than willing to join her! First, we took the tour of the facility and got to see all of the different types of wolves that call the sanctuary home. The kids liked the animals, but got bored with all of the talking. After the tour, Pam, Steve, and I had a safety briefing and then were taken into an enclosure with three wolves. Kekoa, a very large male wolf, is well-known for being very friendly and came straight up to us to give us wolfie kisses! It was so amazing. Up close, this wolf was truly huge with a head the size of a steering wheel. Kekoa settled into a comfortable spot between Pam and I and enjoyed a butt rub while we talked about the wolves. The other wolves watched from a distance but never approached us. The whole experience was magical.
The next day, we did a little more hiking in another part of the Garden of the Gods park. The rock formations were amazing, but we did a little less "off road" hiking this time around. We especially liked some of the ledges and crevices we went to explore!
It is a family tradition that we visit downtown Manitou Springs and take photos on this cool back-alley stairway. We also took "old time" photos, but Ledger wouldn't cooperate this year, so only Locke got his done.
On Chris' birthday, we packed to drive home from Colorado. We stopped at McDonalds for breakfast and went into Garden of the Gods park to eat at our favorite overlook. Although I'm certain that Chris would rather not spend his birthday in the car, at least he got a memorable birthday breakfast! (We also stopped at Taco Grande in Hays on the way home, which made him very happy too!)