Trips to the zoo have never appealed to me. Not a fan of hot smelly places and that's been my experience with most zoo visits. However.... last night we had the most amazing zoo excursion. Through our affiliation with Shriners Hospital we were invited to Dream Night at the Houston Zoo. Libbie was allowed to invite one special friend. Without any hesitation or wavering... Libbie selected Kate to be her zoo buddy. We picked Kate up and Hoot decided he would rather stay and play with Harry. So with two silly girls buckled in, we made our way to the zoo. I've decided this is the only way to see the zoo. No lines, great guided exhibits, face painting NO LINES, rides, crafts and dinner. (fritos and ice cream sundaes for the girls). All of the Shriner's clowns were there making the night extra special and the zoo staff was just awesome. I learned more than I ever needed to know about the African iguana. The girls and Lambert skipped through most of the visit when we weren't riding on a zoo golf cart... Did I mention it was the only way to experience the zoo?? It was a very different dynamic having two girls rather than our usual crew of Owen and Libs. Girls are really girly when they get together. Kate's brother was on the Zoo Crew Jr. staff last year so Kate acted as our very own personal guide. She was VERY informative and new several of the animal's names. For instance she knew Neiman (as in Marcus) was a young female giraffe that was different from the other giraffes in that her coat was much lighter. When we fed the giraffes we indeed met Neiman and the trainers informed us of what, thanks to Kate, we already knew. I thought it was interesting that the girls chose to ride the panda bear and the tiger on the carousel. As we were riding Kate said, "were riding animals from China". I thought it was just a coincidence, but maybe not. After our ride we visited the face painting station and the girls chose pink tigers. Too cute! They were in tiger character the rest of the night, growling at every one they met. The very best part of our visit made me a little (okay a lot) anxious. In the pavilion where we had dinner a zoo member told us if we waited just a minute they were going to bring out a very special animal. They put up a plastic chain to rope off the area and we were right up front. In a moment they brought out the largest dog I have ever seen. It was an Anatolian Turkish Shepherd. Truly a giant, but beautiful. I thought wow this is pretty special, but she was not the special guest. The Shepherd was a "protector" of the animal they were leading out... I could see from the corner of my eye that they were leading out on a small leather leash a real live cheetah!! I was very nervous for the girls. They informed us that the cheetah was the fastest animal on the earth and that it could run 30 miles per hour... Not good news for us face to face with just a plastic chain rope separating us from this animal. We made it without being attacked and decided it was getting late so we would head towards the exit. Little did we know we were still in for a hulla hoop contest, craft exhibit and dance yourself silly stage... I know I selpt like a baby last night and Libbie didn't wake up until 9:30 which is late for her.