The Lion Died…

But his memory will linger for a long time–if not always.

Hi all. Hoping all is peaceful with each of you. I was away from Monday through Thursday, so I guess my aspirations for posting twice last week were a tad high.

The lion at the Cape May Zoo died right around Memorial Day this past year. That’s what we heard at the zoo’s entrance as my sons, Older Son’s girlfriend and I embarked on our annual walk-through. (It seems to have become a bit of a tradition during our third-year-in-a-row trek to Wildwood. Is it possible one is never too old for the zoo?)

Wildwood sunset 2014 Sunset in Wildwoodpicture doesn’t do the sky justice 🙂

Uh, that’s when I originally started this post: three years ago. Yes, it had to do with the lion. Until this past Saturday morning the original sat on the notebook laptop that lives in my beloved Camry’s trunk—in case I need to stop on a random road to work on a laptop whose battery won’t recharge anymore.

Anyway, my only problem with family vacations—you moms of boys can probably relate—is that my guys (Hubby included) want to do stuff that doesn’t generally interest me. Boardwalks, beaches, restaurants—they’re okay but none of them floats my boat. Call me a stick in the mud but if there is nothing to actively engage my mind—i.e., learn—most of the time I’ll pass. (BTW, I’m bad at relaxing too.)

Boards at Wildwood 2014

Night-time on the Wildwood boards. As busy as NYC. 

So, the first year, after a family ride on the go-carts followed by brunch on the famed Wildwood boardwalk, I started thinking about how I might like to wile away a few hours. I’d done Cold Spring Village with Hubby years ago and liked it. I also thought about taking a ride to the Hereford Inlet Lighthouse, a ten-minute drive from our hotel. (The gardens behind it are ridiculously gorgeous and quietly peaceful. Follow the walkway pictured below and–surprise!–you’ve stumbled onto the inlet, where the view of the inlet and beach are stunning. BTW, double-clicking on the photos to enlarge them will provide sharper detail, as much as my lowly iPhone 4’s camera can capture.)

Hereford lighthouse front (1) Hereford Inlet Lighthouse

Hereford lighthouse back

Back of the Hereford Inlet Lighthouse

Hereford lighthouse gardens

Hereford InletLighthouse gardens

Hereford lighthouse gardens (2)

Hereford Inlet Lighthouse gardens

Hereford lighthouse inlet

Hereford Inlet Lighthouse inlet

IDKY, but I also kept toying with the notion of a trek to the Cape May Zoo. I’d never visited it, but had always heard nice things. I chose door number three and texted the kids an invitation.

My guys were a couple months shy of 16 and 14 at the time. They came simply because it was “something to do.” (Yep, even the boards and rides get old after a short while. And Older Son probably felt badly his ma was doing something alone. Nah. No such issues. Me-time rocks.)

photo_2[1]   Joanna ‘n’ her boys. Y’all can decide who is who. BTW, this photo is from first trip to zoo, in 2012. Didn’t take any group shots this year. 😦

I certainly enjoyed that afternoon, and since the kids asked to go again on both subsequent trips to the area, I assume they did too. The zoo is pretty danged big, beautifully maintained and packed with about 550 creatures, most of who are easily viewed in their exhibits. I particularly like the zebras; their markings are so stark. I also enjoyed the quiet calm surrounding the giraffes and their new baby.

Aside: the zoo is always free, with non-mandatory donations accepted. (Cash gets tossed into a ‘mailbox.’)

The lion ties into this recounting how, Joanna? Well, it involves Younger Son, who can be the best kid going on his better days. Oy. Not so much when he gets himself in a mood, thinks he’s right or (wants to be). Those are the days I offer him up for Lent, rent, or to the lowest bidder. Hubby and I are much improved reacting to him, but he’s often brought out a side of us we don’t very much like on many occasions.

photo_3[1] This boy be reachin’ the bear’s mouth by now. Bet he could get a live version to growl, too. Just sayin’… 😉

He might have been in that kind of humor that first “annual” trip to the zoo. Guess he couldn’t wait or might have wanted some space from the rest of us when he asked if he could walk ahead to see the lion. (Three years later I don’t remember such minor details.)

Gave him the okay. He was 13+ and old enough to do so.

He was just out of sight when a roar rumbled through the zoo. We surmised it was the lion.

“Figures,” I told Older Son. “Your brother probably got on the lion’s nerves already.”

We caught up with Younger Son, just outside the lion exhibit. Ironically enough, on that very hot day, Younger Son thought the lion was dead. (He wasn’t.)

We made our way through the rest of the zoo. Just before the last leg, Younger Son asked if he could go see the lion once more.


I kid you not: the kid took off and the beast roared for a second—and only other—time that trip.

We were really saddened to hear that incredible creature was no longer there. But Younger Son will never shake being known as the boy who could inspire the lion to roar.

Do you do repeat vacations? If so, where do you go? Are there ‘traditions’ or go-to activities that are part of every trip, or do you devise new ways to pass the time? Do you have a “challenge child?” Were/are you your parent(s)’ “challenge child?”

Thanks for stopping in and for SHARING if you choose to do so. Have a great week!

All the best,


16 thoughts on “The Lion Died…

  1. Not a beach person? Oh such blasphemy. 😉

    We repeat vacations in the sense that we cruise a lot. They make for a great family vacation. Plenty to do, and everyone can go off in their own direction if they so desire (without getting lost since it’s a nice confined space 🙂 ).


      1. Actually, I love the beach. I just don’t like being stuck there all day. If I plop myself in a chair around 4 PM, chances are I is not leaving for quite a while.

        BTW, the Wildwood trek from boards to ocean is at least half a mile long. Most of NJ’s beach erosion lands there, making it longer every year.

        Those gardens are one of the prettiest places I’ve ever seen. They have the flavor of the English gardens at the Vatican inside Rome.


    1. Hubby hopes to do a cruise for our 20th wedding anniversary. I’m sure they do make for a wonderful family vacation. Anyplace that keeps kids occupied, where “I’m bored” are non-existent words, works for me.

      Our all-time favorite place to date: The Inn at East Hill Farm in southern NH. If you’re a fan of Dirty Dancing, you’ll get this: the place just reminds me of Kellerman’s in many ways. My kids have outgrown it, but had we continued to go they would have made friends of the repeat customers the place is known for. Best vacation ever.


        1. What I’ve seen of the state is just beautiful. We drove up Mt. Washington too–so scary coming down! Hubby likes the idea of living there, but winter would be way too cold for my taste.


  2. What a wonderful place. I could spend a long day just walking and even though I don’t do pictures, I’d take pictures.
    Imagine that. Free: donations welcome. I don’t know how they manage to keep the area so well maintained. 🙂
    Love your pictures. I was going to mention one but decided it’s too hard. That lighthouse is charming; the gardens stunning. ❤


    1. On our first trip, I entered the lighthouse. There were some items and photos of the family who lived there. The keeper and his family’s life was reputed to be lonely and hard, but one that always seems to interest me.

      Lots of Canadians come down to Wildwood yearly, Tess. Maybe you could be one of them. 🙂


  3. I’ve never been to the Cape May Zoo, but we did take a family trip a few years back to Ohio to visit friends. We went to the Cleveland Zoo. That was the best zoo I’d ever seen and I’ve been to the famous San Diego Zoo. Cleveland was much better.


    1. I hear the Philly Zoo is worth a trip. Haven’t seen the Bronx Zoo since 3rd grade, but heard it’s WAY overpriced. Turtle Back got a serious and pretty awesome makeover–they now host a light show every Christmad and holiday season at the cost of FREE.


      1. Always took my kids to the Staten Island Zoo when they were little. The aquarium was so peaceful and colorful.


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