On May 1st, Emily and I were very honored to accompany our daughter on her very first school field trip. We went to the Fort Chiswell Animal Park with her classmates at St. John’s Preschool. It was a great trip for Bella because she loves animals. She had been to a zoo last fall when we were vacationing in the Myrtle Beach area where my parents live. While the buses of our local zoo were not handicapped accessible, thus preventing me from taking the entire tour, I was able to go with Bella to view the petting zoo part of the excursion.
Because I was aware of the lack of accessibility, I had not planned on joining my wife and daughter for this trip. But Bella wanted me to go, which made my coming along of the utmost importance to me. Her principal, Jennifer Quigg, was kind enough to wave my admission fee as well as that of my daughter. The kind and friendly staff were more than accommodating and even told me to come back on another day when I can take a handicapped-accessible bus to tour the rest of the property.
The more than 200 animals from six continents on display at our local with County attraction was a most impressive sight. My favorite animal to see in a zoo is a camel, and I had the good fortune of watching my wife feed puffs, the friendly camel, through the best window. I also spend a lot of good quality time with their brand new giraffe, Cheeto who seemed to be a very handsome and friendly fellow.
Bella’s favorite part of the trip came when she was able to pet the goats. Daisy Mae, one of the more friendly creatures on the property, was a black goat that liked Bella so much that she followed her around the park. This made her day. I was also very pleased and humbled that she seemed to be happy to have her daddy along on this trip. She was the only student in the pre-school group that got to ride on her Daddy’s lap. I guess being the only kid who has a parent on wheels can have a perk from time to time. I thank God for these unique and meaningful moments.
It’s also really fantastic to see Bella interact with children her age. Her best friend Brynn Fisher accompanied her to pet the goats, and the whole class jumped up on the stone rhino for a group picture. That made the trip worth the effort for me.
A staff member named Vicky was kind enough to tell me all about what I might see if I had been able to take the entire bus trip. I certainly think anyone who can swing the $10 admission fee for their child should do it. We are lucky to have such a special attraction in our area. My family and I will certainly be coming back. Again, I think they’re wonderful staff and the great people at St. John’s Preschool who enabled us to have a wonderful family memory in which we will never forget and always treasure.