We went to the zoo yesterday. We started with breakfast in a nice restaurant where they played “Rhapsody in Blue” and had a good enough copywriter that we were reading bits of the menu aloud to one another.

#2 daughter drove us past the building where she works — it’s a nice building, too — and thence to the zoo. Along the way, we admired the architecture and held critical discussions of hip-hop and R&B.

I told my husband we could quit worrying about #2 daughter now. She has a good job that she likes, with good prospects. She has a cool apartment and a reliable car which she maintains properly. She’s financially responsible. She’s dating a couple of nice young men, with nothing very serious going on for us to be concerned about. She has outside interests and is involved in a couple of worthwhile causes.

I’m not sure I convinced him. He was muttering about vacuum cleaners. But I sort of think we can cross “Bring up #2 daughter off our list.”

The KC zoo is good at interpretive exhibits. They’re not the largest or most well-populated zoo I’ve ever been to, but it’s fun to go to Australia and to Africa, with the buildings and cultural artifacts and such to add to the illusion.

I was not able to persuade the family that it would be fun to ride on the little train. In a way, they’re right. There you are, cooped up with a bunch of strangers with no control over how long you linger with any particular animal, in a little train for heaven’s sake. I like them anyway.

We got to see the elephant show. My husband’s country has lots of elephants. They’re used for work animals on the farms. He believes that if yousay to elephants, “Big ears, small eyes,” they’ll be angry and stampede. The trainer kept talking about the elephants’ big ears, so my husband was feeling a bit nervous that he might incautiously remark on their small eyes and it would be the end of us.

It was nice to be out among plants and things, too, though I kept having the experience of breathing deeply because I’d just caught the scent of honeysuckle — and just then, stepping into range of the smell of the tigers or something. Then of course I’d have a great lungful of tiger.

There was a woman at one point who said. “Eeeeew! Don’t you just love the smell of fecal matter!” but I think she was wrong on that. It’s a clean and well-managed zoo and they take good care of their animals. It’s just that some animals are smelly. It’s part of their communication.

We got to the zoo at 9:30 and walked all around it, finishing up at 1:30 with a sea lion show.

The kids and I wanted to sit down to watch, but my husband liked the idea of standing at the rail to watch, so that’s what we did.

The show was good, both fun and educational, a fitting cap to our visit.

We headed on to the Narnia exhibit at Union Station. It was essentially a very good interactive museum exhibit. I don’t know whether it travels, but if you have the chance to see it, you should. There were lots of props and costumes from the films.

I really like the decorative arts of the Edwardian period, so I particularly enjoyed seeing the way the designers had used textiles and metal work, but all of us enjoyed it very much. 

We had a 4:00 lunch at the diner made famous by the Judy Garland movie about the Harvey Girls, strolled across The Link, wandered around Crown Center a bit, and headed back to daughter #2’s apartment.

Frankly, my husband and I were tired by then. We waited for the kids to get the car and fetch us at the entrance to the parking garage, commiserating with one another about how old we were.

We had been planning to go on to a movie after that, but even the kids were tired, so we stayed in. I read, my husband watched DVDs, #1 son played guitar, and #2 daughter got all the photos into the computer, so I have pictures for you today.

#2 daughter went out to a party later on, in spite of her daddy’s lecture on staying out too late. He also lectured her on cleaning her bathroom, locking her door, and various other things. He briefly lectured #1 son about not falling out of the window, but by then — having also lectured us all on not getting eaten by the wild animals at the zoo — he was running out of steam a bit and couldn’t really get into it properly. Usually his lectures have a great deal of verve to them, with many imaginative details.

Today we’re going to #2 daughter’s church to sing, and then I’m going to meet one of the designers I’ve been working with, who lives in this city, and then we’ll head home.

It’s been a very fun visit.