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The Zoo, take two, and Shakespeare in the Park

May 28, 2009

Look at me, the social butterfly!

Patrick, Vince, and I decided that it was time to stop waiting until the last week of the festival to do all the fun stuff.  Which makes for a very busy schedule, especially during those short weeks due to a three day weekend.  However, I love it!

Patrick and I met up with Kelly and Laira at Panera for breakfast before synchronizing our watches and heading to Forest Park in separate cars.  Our first stop was at the St. Louis Zoo (hooray), where I, in all my excited glory, was inflicted upon them.  What can I say?  I like critters.  They make me happy.

Our first stop was to pet and feed the sting rays.  That was WAY cool!  I found the little sting rays to be slimy, but apparently the big ones were just rough.  I could not say so on my own experience; the big ones would swim toward me then, at the last minute, veer away.  I felt so teased.

Feeding them is quite the trip!  You put the fish bits in your fingers and hold your hand flat.  Then, when the sting ray comes around, it is like a bunch of suction cups sweeping across your hand.  Very strange.

Laira got drenched by penguins and puffins.  I have seen kids get splashed, been splashed myself, but never to the extent that water was dripping down my face.  Perhaps I should not have laughed, but it was funny.

Laira had to leave to go to work, but we continued on to a variety of animals.  Including the hippos, who were quite happy to swim around and around and around.  And, my, when they poop, it is very much the show — equally delighting and disgusting the hoards of children plastered to the plexi-glass window.  Ah, those choruses of “EWW!”

We were tired and cold (it was a dreary day, though this meant the animals were active), so we went to the art museum across from where we parked.  Patrick went for a nap, Kelly and I for hot drinks in the cafe.  Vince had arrived in the park by this time, so he eventually wandered down to the cafe as well.

We probably should have finished our drinks and went to check out the art.  The museum is free as well.  However, we were enjoying sitting and chatting and there we remained until just before the museum closed.

Patrick staked out a spot for us front and center.  There was one blanket in front of our tarp, but because of the angle of the hill and the height of the stage, we were in great shape.  The show would not begin until 8:00, and we were there at 5:00.  We had a long wait ahead of us, but plenty of munchies and wine.  Laira showed up shortly, then Tracie and Stephanie and the party began!

While I appreciate the attempt at pre-show entertainment, it is a free show and most people come VERY early to claim a spot (like we did), I must admit I found it sort of lame.  I think I have lived the circus life too long and know too many jugglers and magicians and fire eaters and morris dancers and and and.  Add to that being in the company of a bunch of performers and you have a fairly hard group of critics.  But we tried to play along and cheer when asked.  They have a tough job too, I suppose.

This year, they are doing Merry Wives of Windsor.  It is a very solid show, funny and enjoyable.  I especially liked the actor who portrayed Ford.  He was quite intense!  It was set in the 1920’s, and all the costuming was extremely bright and perky.  I watch Shakespearean productions set in non-Elizabethan environments with dubious feelings.  It can fail so spectacularly.  But this went over pretty well.  They did not dwell on the time period, nor did they try to force the connection.  It was just there, very fun.  All things considered, I preferred Richard III of last year, but I had a great time and highly recommend this show if you are in town for it. :)

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