Being the embarrassing dad that I am (she doesn’t know it yet, but I’m going to be VERY embarrassing! Heehee!) I couldn’t resist the opportunity to turn our trip to the zoo into some good fun for us in the moment – as well as something that I can embarrass her with when she's older! So, what started out as a seedling of a silly idea turned into a very real plan and I started to look at whether or not I could find a zookeeper outfits for someone under the age of 3. Then, after hours of scouring the internet, BOOM… I spotted the perfect ensemble and my plan immediately became a reality – well, I say “immediately” but what I mean is, after waiting 5-7 working days for the cutest little costume to be delivered we were there! From the moment I put her tiny outfit on she was SOOO excited, looking in the mirror, wanting to have my phone to see herself and touching the cute little patches on the jacket and trousers – the only one more excited than Jade was ME, and it got me thinking, what if *I*
could be a zookeeper with her? Like Daddy, Like Daughter! So I decided to splash out on my own ensemble too! I knew we were going to have a great day – and for once I didn’t even care if the weather held out for us.
Once we arrived at the Zoo, we found the baby changing room and my wife, Shannon, got Jade ready as I pulled on my own zookeeper costume. To my complete surprise Jade squealed with delight when she saw our matching outfits! Watching her little face as she saw the animals was amazing - she absolutely loved the orang-utans and the gorillas but the rhinos fighting scared the life out of her! Their massive snorts had her whimpering and running over to daddy before giggling uncontrollably. Jade only started walking a few weeks ago but she was more than capable of running around to see everything that she could. She loved the family farm section because she could get close to the animals and try to make their noises and then giggle afterwards. We even met a real zookeeper who was only too happy to jump in and take a photo with us in our funny outfits. I think that this is the first time that I had no interest in the animals myself, all I really wanted to do was see the reaction of Jade as she wandered around the zoo – creeping around corners, climbing up to see through windows, smiling and waving at strangers; it was a pretty special feeling watching her get so excited and be so happy experiencing the world on her own terms.
She managed to walk by herself about 60% of the time and climbed up on my shoulders for the rest but there was no time for a nap – that day was all work for my little zoo keeper who had things to do and people to see! We had a fantastic day together and while she has no idea that the clothes she wore have anything to do with work I hope that in a few years she’ll look back on our day as zookeepers and see a world of possibilities. Which is just what our special excursion did for me - playing dress-up for the day has opened up my eyes to how much fun we could have in the future with a little bit of planning, a big imagination and a passion to show my daughter everything the world has to offer. Watch this space!