(To my Utah friends: I did look up how long it would take me to get from Colorado Springs to Salt Lake, and it told me 9 hours. I told Sven, "How about you take the kids for a day while I go meet some friends for lunch?" Being a typical "detail-oriented" fellow, he dragged the rest of the information out of me and ascertained that I would be on the road for 18 hours for this event. The kibosh was then applied. I'm working on an actual trip to Utah for next year, though.)
Day 3 of our trip opened with the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. This zoo is tucked into the side of a mountain and is not funded with taxpayer money. I was not expecting much, but I was totally blown away.
When we got to the zoo to buy our tickets, some deer wandered out of the woods and into the zoo, then some came back out. We saw one perched in a decorative shrubbery just inside the gate, gnawing on leaves and viewing us with a jaundiced eye.
Giraffes! This zoo has one of the largest giraffe herds in captivity, has bred more than 150 giraffes for zoos all over the country, and has a special pen where you can pet and feed them. That's my hand.
Princess and Dexy loved feeding the giraffes. I had to stop taking pictures because Dexy was trying to jump in to the pen with them, which, besides being a fall of about 20 feet, would have put him in a pen with over a dozen giraffes who, frankly, were somewhat hostile if you didn't have a special "Giraffe Cracker" (3/$1).
In one of the stupider things I have ever done, when I purchased zoo tickets, I asked for tickets to the Mountaineer Sky ride, which takes you up the side of a mountain in what was described as a "cable car." I was picturing one of those enclosed cars, like you see at amusement parks. What we got was a ski lift, with no seat belts or safety equipment. Sven said, "No, that's not it, it can't be it," but it was, and we rode it up the side of the mountain. We were terrified. By "we," I mean Sven and me. The kids loved it. Dexy immediately scooted all the way up so he could look over the bar, which prompted me to clutch him to my side so tightly he said he couldn't breathe. We got to the top safely and planned to make our home on that part of the mountain, but since our stroller and things were at the bottom, we rode back down and vowed to never speak of it again. This is the one picture Sven got before he began to get too scared to let go of Princess. ("Daddy, you're choking my tummy. Stop it.")
We got a new camera, and this picture shows how awesome it is: you can clearly see that we were watching "The Land Before Time 17: Little Foot's Digestive Trauma."
After the zoo, we went to Garden of the Gods again, but you've seen pictures of that.
Our last stop in Colorado was Miramont Castle, in Manitou Springs. I am so writing a book about this house.
With that, it was time to go home.
It was a great trip. Tune in next month for Branson 2010.