When I was a young child, my parents arranged their schedules so one of them was always home with me. My mom ended up working on weekends, so my dad and I spent our weekends exploring western Pennsylvania.
One of the places we visited was Pymatuning Deer Park. It's a small family owned and operated zoo. The family handles all the animals, so the animals are very interactive and you can pet and feed many of them. We loved it so much that we went almost every other weekend in the summer! We ended up returning every summer, and eventually, my first nephew joined us on our adventures.
The year I met Grant, my parents and I took him to Deer Park and the Linesville Spillway. It was so much fun to share a piece of my childhood with him. A few years later, we took Dylan and Lexie. We haven't gone back in 3 years. My parents talked about taking the kids to Deer Park all summer. Finally, in early August, we piled into the car and made the hour and a half drive to Pymatuning.
It rained all morning, but cleared up just as we arrived. Perfect!
One of my favorite animals is the marmoset. I could watch them for hours! I was so excited to see the two little babies clinging to one of them!
Petting zoo animals are mixed in with the caged animals along the path. The kids loved feeding them!
We ran into two of the cutest lions ever!
A small town sits in the middle of the zoo. There's a schoolhouse, a jail, and a general store. I think the kids love this part the most! I don't blame them. It was my favorite part when I was a child, too!
After eating some popcorn and seeing a few more animals, we took a train ride through the back of the zoo! Deer and ostriches roamed freely and wolves ran behind the fence.
After the train ride, the kids burned off some energy on the wooden play structures. They drove the wooden train, pretended they were caged animals, and climbed aboard the pirate ship!
Meanwhile, Liam had a great time hanging out with his Papa. They are best buddies!
Surprisingly, we ran into two people who had Down Syndrome, in this tiny zoo. The mother and I bonded over talk of late teething. Both of the boys we met were so sweet and happy!
We saw the rest of the zoo animals before heading into the big petting zoo. I loved all the baby monkeys!
As soon as we walked through the gates of the petting zoo, Lily spotted the ducklings. She LOVED them!
Dylan immediately spotted his favorite animal: The Zorse! He spent the next 15 minutes hanging out with that cool dude!
He WAS cool.
Lily reminded me so much of myself at her age. Up until a few years ago, the goats roamed free. I have pictures with all the goats surrounding me. Lily is apparently a goat whisperer, too!
We made it through the zoo, and Liam said goodbye to the deer. We all had a great time!
From there, we drove over to the Linesville Spillway. Basically, it's an area on Lake Pymatuning, where all the carp cluster together. People come from all over to feed them. The fish are so clustered together in spots that the ducks can walk right on top of them. They're disgusting, but the kids thought they were fascinating!
We had a great day! I'm so glad I got to share a piece of my childhood with Lily and Liam, and so grateful my parents were there to enjoy it. It was a memorable day for all of us!