Saturday, August 07, 2004

A Wedding! Toledo, Ohio—Day 189

Today one of my best friends from Macalester got married to her high school sweetheart. It was a wonderful occasion and much fun was had by all, but there was one location hitch.

Guess where it was. Just guess.

That’s right. The Zoo.

My friend Kathryn got married at the Toledo Zoological Gardens, which her now-husband’s father just so happens to be the President. Isn’t that funny!?! Even attending a friend’s wedding can’t get my away from the zoo!

Several things were different about this trip to the zoo, besides the fact that I was going to attend a wedding rather than primarily for the hippos. (Btw, Adam, my boss’ son, had already photographed the hippos there so there was no need for me to photograph them, which is kind of ironic in a way since I had another reason to go there!)

The rehearsal dinner was at the new Africa! exhibit which was quite exciting and it was super fun to be at the zoo with all of my friends from college, a first of course. We basically spent the evening riding the train around the African animal’s exhibits while sipping gin and tonics—yet another thing I hadn’t done at a zoo before!

This morning my friends and I all decided to go on the special behind the scenes zoo tour with Jeff’s dad (el Presidente) acting as a tour guide. We met up at the Zoo gates at 9:00 am and for the next two hours or so were taken all around the zoo, and of course stopped at the hippos. I might be biased, but I think the hippos were the best part. Not only because they have a “hippoquarium” there where you can see the hippos underwater, and not just because the water was so clear or that we were viewing them way before the zoo even opened, but because there were all of my friends there with me, ooohing and ahhing over the hippos.

I was happy.

I took tons of photos and my friend Lucy reminded me that I didn’t NEED to take pictures of the hippos, but I couldn’t hold back. I even tried to get a picture that made it look like I was kissing Herbie, the baby hippo (who now doesn’t even look like a baby because he is so huge).

We saw lots of other animals on the tour, were given new insight about the history of the zoo and the buildings, and just learned a lot of neat stuff in general. I am so used to just going into the zoo, taking my pictures, and then leaving afterwards that it was nice to have an actual tour about the OTHER interesting things in the zoo besides the hippos.

On the way out my friends and I of course couldn’t NOT get a picture of us with the hippo costumed zoo worker before walking back to the cars. We had just enough time to eat, get ready and come back to the zoo later on in the afternoon, which would make for my third trip to the zoo in two days. Why break out of my habit? J

Once we all had eaten and made ourselves more presentable, we headed back to the zoo into the formal gardens for the wedding ceremony and then on to the reception which was held in the Lodge—a huge banquet space at the zoo which was beautifully decorated for the wedding.
We ate and danced the night away, stopping only to go outside to get fresh air and to hear the zoo animals settling down for the night. While the hippos were not the main event for me in this case, I have to say that tonight was hands down my most memorable zoo experience yet.

(c) 2004 Sarah Galbraith. All Rights Reserved.