We decided to have a day out locally. I asked my parents to give Sophie her mid-day medicine so we didn't have to come home.
One thing we wanted to do was run the loop around Forest Park in St Louis. There are two tracks, one paved and one gravel. Both are just over 5.5 miles. I cannot tell you how far we've come in 5 years. . . neither of us ran back then. Driving to St Louis to run is not something either of us ever thought that we'd do. But that's what we did! It was a windy day (there were wind advisories) and Forest Park has more hills than we have at home. It was challenging and I walked briefly to get up a hill. The wind was getting me and affecting my breathing and I was just so done. But I didn't walk long and I picked it up again and kept going. Thankfully my husband stayed with me otherwise I'm sure I'd have walked more. I was kind of thinking "whose idea was this?" and I actually said that at one point near the end. But soon it was over and we had ran 5.75 miles! It was actually fun for the most part. Forest Park is just full of people being active and that's inspiring to keep going.
Forest Park is HUGE at 1,293 acres, it's larger than central park. It's the 7th largest urban park in the US. The St Louis zoo is in Forest Park. So we changed clothes at the visitor center and decided to go to the zoo. The St Louis zoo is free, but you have to pay to park if you don't park along one of the streets in the park. We paid to park cause it's more secure and I look at it as a donation to the zoo. The zoo is really really fabulous and there is often random chatter about charging admission. I hope they never do. It's so great that it's free!
We saw the penguins :) We see them more often than the other animals because the zoo is open during Christmas at nights. It's called Wild Lights and the penguins are one of the only animals you can see when you go. Of course you're going mostly for the Christmas light display.
St Louis Zoo just got a Polar Bear named Kali (it's pronounced like Kuli and he's a boy). I don't think he's been there a year. He was available to see during Wild Lights this past year but he wasn't too cooperative while we were there. This time we had *perfect* timing. We arrived right as they were feeding him. They toss his fish (?) in the water and he finally jumped in and started eating. It was so fun to watch such a big bear swim around. I even took video!
Late we walked by to catch him outside. He's soooo gorgeous.
I love all things monkey! So of course we hit that section of the zoo. This guy was just hanging out. :)
This guy was hanging out on the platform playing with the crowd. People were nodding their heads and he'd nod too. He even poked his hand on the window at children. It was really cool. I wish I could have got closer, but the crowd was too large.
The St Louis zoo has quite an elephant population. I love watching them as they are so big and fun to watch walk around.
We rode the train for he first time in years. It isn't free, but for $8 you get an all day pass and can get on or off wherever you want. We rode it once all the way around the zoo. What we didn't know was that the train took you past some elephants that aren't on display to the public. One of them in the youngest one at the zoo and it was so adorable. But I didn't have my phone ready to take a photo.
After the zoo we stopped at Ballpark Village for some drinks. It's across the street from Busch Stadium (the St Louis Cardinals' stadium). We sat at the outside bar. It might be April but it was chilly. We moved near a fire for our last drink. . . it wasn't very crowded so it was really nice to enjoy the place without the normal crowd during baseball season. The fact that we were wearing Cardinals attire yesterday was a fluke. :)
The Anheuser Busch emblem above the fire is really old and was originally in a different city near a train track. We think that's why it's black in some parts. It's not from the fire below - that's for sure.
On the way home we stopped for dinner at Peel Brewing Company. We've never been and have wanted to go for some time. They are known for their wood fired pizzas. My husband ordered a flight of beer. I had told the waitress that I wanted the Blood Orange beer on the flight, but she misunderstood me and brought me a full size beer. Thankfully I liked it.
I was told their Mac & Cheese is fantastic and that was the truth! We got it as an appetizer. It was amazing. Of course we eat pretty low carb and haven't had mac & cheese in forever, so that certainly helped with how impressed we were. But I really think it was just *that* good.
We ordered the Maple Bourbon Pork pizza. It was good but the toppings were kind of scarce. We weren't all that impressed. Our expectations were really high so that didn't help. It was good but we aren't anxious to go back any time soon. We honestly prefer Papa Murphy's take and bake pizza. I'm not sure if that sad or funny.
We stopped at the grocery store and got some cake for dessert. I chose this one cause our wedding color was pink. :) In the past we've ordered small cakes from the bakery that made our wedding cake. That bakery makes amazing tasting cakes, but this was certainly yummy enough.
And since this was all about our 5th anniversary, here is a photo of our amazing wedding cake. Not only did it look fantastic, the taste was amazing!!!!! Everyone commented how good it was - that it wasn't just pretty. Wedding cake has a reputation of being dry. Ours actually had filling in most of the layers. Totally yummy!!!