Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Cheap Thrills, With The Monkeys

Cheap Thrills are awesome.

Cheap Thrills, if you need a refresher, is an outing that meets certain criterion: A) is within driving distance so no overnight stay is necessary, B) costs 20 dollars or less (minus the price of gas), C) appeals to children and adults, D) little or no fee to enjoy. My awesome blog buddy Willoughby came up with this idea, and I've tried to implement it.

I did just that last week on an outing the girls and I took to the Santa Ana Zoo.

If you're not too familiar with Southern California geography, let me fill you in. Santa Ana is in Orange County. The rest of the county is fairly well off, but Santa Ana is kind of an exception. With some exceptions, there are few places in Santa Ana that I'd like to live in. But I did live in Santa Ana, from the time I was in an infant to when I was about five, then again for one horrible year in the late 1980s.

The Santa Ana Zoo is a fairly small zoo. I actually visited some family that lives about two miles away, right there in Santa Ana, and they referred to it as el Parque de los Changos, or the Monkey Park. It's not even a zoo to them, just a park.

It's cool though precisely for that reason. It's small enough so that not too many people know about it so it doesn't get too crowded but big enough for me to make the 40-minute drive there. And the best part is that it didn't cost anything to park.

So what about the price? Well, I was not sure what the price of admission was, but one of my good buddies got us annual passes to the park so we got in for free. Can't beat that! The actual price of admission is 8 bucks for adults and 5 bucks for children 3-12, so it might still have met the criteria for the Cheap Thrills.

Now, the thing with this zoo is of course the monkeys. It's tabbed as the "Home of the 50 Monkeys" for good reason. Originally, the land it sits on belonged to a fella named J.E. Prentice, and he donated the land to the city of Santa Ana to be used for a park, the only stipulation being that it needed to house 50 monkeys at all times, no less. Apparently, this Prentice guy liked monkeys and wanted to spread his love of the primates around.

Hence, the zoo's full name: "Santa Ana Zoo at Prentice Park."

The girls were enthralled by the monkeys, but my camera wasn't. So I got a lot of pictures of blurry things and the like.

Not sure what species this is. Might be some sort of tamarin. They had lots of tamarins. They also had ring-tailed lemurs, which are especially popular around the LB house because of King Julian, from the movie Madagascar. Unfortunately, all the King Julians were on their throne somewhere as we didn't see any of them.

Oh well. It'll be a focal point for our next visit.

The girls did get to pose with a frog.

I guess each of those pictures could be captioned "The princess and the frog." We're really looking forward to that movie, by the way.

The park also featured a playground, and that was one of the highlights for the girls. The playground was, well, a playground and there were lot of other children on there as well. Not a ton because it was Friday during school hours (Yvie's school was not in session; parent conferences) but enough so the girls had some company.

I splurged for lunch there and spent about eight bucks for lunch. Yup, big spender I am. The food was just okay, though. But still it kept us under our 20 dollar limit, hence making it a Cheap Thrill indeed.

And it will be a Cheap Thrill for a year, until our passes run out.


Lisa said...

Love cheap thrills!

Sounds like a fun day and fun memories for your girls!

5thsister said...

Cheap thrills are the best. Now that I'll be spending about $12,000 this year on health care coverage we'll be partaking in this type of activity a bit more often!

Raoulysgirl said...


Since you mentioned that the girls are Madagascar fans (my girls are too), I have to ask...

When you're running, do you ever sing "Physi-cally fit...physi-cally fit...physi-cally, physi-cally, physi-cally fit!"????

Inquiring minds want to know.

L.B. said...

Ha! Love that song, RG!. I tried to buy it off iTunes but it's not available. Sad face.

I have run to the will.i.am version before - that is one of Kennedy's favorite songs.

"LB in the house, I'm about to turn it out, And you know it's going down, Physically, physically, physically round."

thrasherswife said...

Ahhh, the good ol' monkey park!! We use to frequent that park often. Do they still have the elephant rides??

L.B. said...

Well, we didn't go to the part that the carousel or the train so maybe they were back there. I'll have to check that out for next time. So little of a park, yet so much territory left to explore :)

Tattoos and Teething Rings said...

We'd be there all the time if we lived down there, my kids LOVE monkeys! And we're on countdown for The Princess and the Frog, too!

Angie Eats Peace said...

Yay! I love that zoo, especially the monkeys.

Willoughby said...

Thanks for the shout out! I'm glad someone is still enjoying Cheap Thrills road trips. We haven't been on one since summer. Maybe now would be a good time to plan another one!

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