Let’s just pretend this is Tango, okay?
Last month, after my sister’s impressive finish from Yale, we drove back down to NYC to spend a few days exploring the sights and sounds. I was really excited to visit, mainly because NYC is awesome, but also because the Gravy Baby is finally at an age where he is vocally excited about traveling and adventures, too. We read books in preparation for our trip — about the subway system, construction sites, and the American Museum of Natural History (at Christmas, but still). For the Gravy Baby, the single most exciting part of our visit was the chance to meet some celebrity penguins he’s known about since he was born: Roy, Silo and Tango. These three penguins are the subject of a book based on actual events that happened at the Central Park Zoo almost ten years ago.
The Gravy Baby and his uncle try to figure out where Mr. Gramzay is (answer: not there)
The story the Gravy Baby knows is this: once, there were two boy penguins named Roy and Silo who very much wanted a baby penguin of their own, and so their keeper, Mr. Gramzay, gives them an egg to sit on and care for. From that egg, a baby penguin hatches, and Mr. Gramzay names the penguin Tango, because it takes two to tango. It’s a heartwarming, untraditional little story, one that we’ve read over and over and over again.
Obviously, we had no idea which penguins were the famous ones, so we just arbitrarily pointed to three, and that seemed to satisfy the Gravy Baby. It’s been a big week for two-daddy penguin families, and so reflecting back on the Gravy Baby’s enthusiasm for seeing what amounts to the most famous animals he’s ever known makes me believe that everything can be fine and normal for kids as long as you create a happy, loving space for them. Maybe it’s the grownups that muck it up for everyone.
Okay, enough soapboxing. The zoo was gorgeous, and pretty unbelievably large considering it’s in the middle of a city. I know New Yorkers probably have their own opinions about which zoo is better, but for us, with two young kids in tow, the size was perfect for an afternoon stroll.
The best part of the zoo for young kids is the Children’s Zoo, which is right next to the main zoo entrance. There’s a part where kids can feed the animals, and lots of nooks and crannies to explore, like shoving a hand through a water feature (pictured above). For whatever reason, this was one of the most popular places in the Children’s Zoo. You can’t see it from the photo above, but there are kids lined up behind the Gravy Baby to take their shot at the waterfall.
Some of our favorite books about NYC (clockwise, from top left): ABC NYC, A Walk in New York, A Dinosaur’s Night Before Christmas (based at the American Museum of Natural History), Job Site (not really specifically about New York City, but it’s about construction sites, which are abundant in the city and it’s also the Gravy Baby’s hands-down favorite book of all time), And Tango Makes Three
It just goes to show you — no matter where you travel in the world, kids will take delight in even the simplest things. And that makes the trip, no matter how hectic or exhausting or time-consuming, worth it.