One of the first animals we saw when we arrived was this beautiful Trumpeter Swan  
  As we moved further into the zoo, we encountered the river otters, some deer,
and a couple of African Pygmy goats.
  After this we headed over to the Polar Bear passage to see one of the highlights of the day—Nikita and Berlin, the polar bears.  
Berlin stuck her tongue out at us!
  Then came the Penguin Plaza  
      Fist we saw these sweet little Humboldt penguins.      
  Then we moved on to the much bigger Emperor penguins.  
Look, Ma! No Heads!

Is this my best side?

Or this one?
Addie Jo loved the penguins!
As they swam by, she called them "fishies."
  Next, we headed to the Discovery Barn so Colleen could see the Ring-Tailed Lemurs  
  As we left the Discovery Barn, we encountered this fellow. He seemed to love to pose.  
  From there, we headed over to the Sea Lion exhibit. We were just in time to catch the "Sea Lion Splash" show.  
  While we waited for the show to start, we had a close encounter with a couple of the smallest critters at the zoo.  
  This little lady seemed settled in to watch the show.  
  I'm not sure what this little green guy is, but he sure is photogenic.
(Come to find out, he's a flatid planthopper.)
  Sea Lion SPLASH!!  

The zoo currently has two trained California Sea Lions—very talented ladies called Daisy and Delilah.
  First Time at the Zoo for Gracie and Joshua  

  After the sea lion show, we had just enough time to head to the party room for the festivities.  
  There we found a decorated room and our party host, Melita.  
  One big table was covered with paper and crayons. Everyone found something to draw.  
  Mrs. Dugan was able to help some find their inspiration.  
  There's just something about a baby…  
  There were some special adults in attendance, too.  
  Anut Jenny and Cousin Heather with Baby Joshua   Aunt Sarah   Aunt Jenny and her mom Connie   Mrs. Dugan, Colleen's karate sensei  
      And special friends, Helen and Joan      

  After some time coloring, Melita and Colleen invited everyone to play a game of Animal Charades.
It was great fun as each person imitated an animal and the others guessed which animal they were.
  Even some of the adults got in on the action. Helen Bishop imitated a frog. (We didn't get a picture of it, darn it!) Uncle Ryan made a very convincing monkey. And Mrs. Dugan got down on all fours and became a turtle.  

  Next, Melita brought out a couple of Animal Ambassadors' to visit with us.
First was the African Giant Millipede that the kids named Pete.
  Then we met Tibbar. (That's rabbit spelled backwards, in case you can't tell.)
Tibbar is specially trained to sit very still and allow people to approach her and touch her.
Melita explained how she should be touched very gently on her back or sides and that no one should
touch her face or ears. All the kids (and adults) got to pet her. She was super soft.
  Gracie decided a very cautious approach was called for.  
  Addie Jo decided that charm was called for. Amira had no hesitation at all.  
  Charlie was very gentle. Thomas seems to have some small person hiding behind him.  

  Melita brought out chocolate and vanilla cupcakes, ice cream cups and Capri Sun for everyone  
  Happy Faces! Happy Cousins!  

  A few days before the party, Uncle Dan (aka Uncle Santa) sent pictures of the very special ADULT-sized rocking horse that he designed  
  and built for her. The horse is even wearing purple flip-flops!