On the 4th of July, Jess and I took a day trip. Our only goal was to see Tajiri and April, the mother/son dynamic long-necked duo who quickly became social media sensations during April’s pregnancy. However, the rest of our daytime adventure was unplanned and totally random.
Our day started with the hour and half trip to Animal Adventure Park to see the giraffes (which became my favorite animal in the 90s after a trip to the North Carolina zoo).
Of course we stopped on our way to the giraffes to see the other animals.
There was plenty of knowledgeable and friendly staff around to educate visitors on the animals. When we stopped at the spotted hyena exhibit, I was surprised to find two staff members in the exhibit playing with them. They informed us that these particular hyenas were not aggressive. My misconception was that ALL hyenas were aggressive and mean (I blame the The Lion King), so I was excited to learn otherwise.
We finally arrived at the famous giraffe exhibit. April and Tajiri were roaming around, enjoying all the attention.
Tip: Do not buy animal food from this place. The animals are overfed and will not eat your food. It is a waste of money.
We went around back to the inside of the building to visit Oliver, Tajiri’s dad. I was surprised to find out that father and baby are separated because father giraffes can be quite aggressive. So after Tajiri is done nursing, he will be transported to a different park or zoo, away from his mother. #giraffedadsaredeadbeats
After a few hours at the zoo, we decided to go grab some lunch. We weren’t sure where to go, but decided Binghamton was the best bet, just 20 minutes down the road. We tried a few places suggested on Trip Advisor, but due to the holiday they were closed. We finally found the Colonial, an old timey restaurant with outstanding food.
Jess ordered a burger, and I ordered a grilled cheese with onion jam. We both left full and happy.
It was a chill place to just relax, enjoy a local beer and eat some good grub.
Afterwards, I wanted to explore the city a bit. I have to say-I was not totally impressed with Binghamton. We drove around a bit, seeing a lot of the city, but most streets looked very dingy to me.
Anyway, I had heard that there were multiple carousels around Binghamton (seven I believe), so I was intrigued and wanted to see one for myself.
We drove over to Ross Park, which is home of the Binghamton Zoo and one of the city’s carousels. The area looked like one of those old abandoned amusement parks-sort of creepy and cool at the same time.
Unfortunately the carousel wasn’t running or else I would have taken a ride, motion sickness aside.
After the quick trip to Ross Park, we made our way to Antique Row. Jess loves all things old (he’s a 70 year-old trapped in a 34 year-old body).
Antique Row was disappointing. It was a small, run-down street with old lamp posts and an antique 7-up sign. Total letdown.
I had been to Binghamton only twice before, so my experience was limited. However, after a short tour, neither of us are eager to go back.
So we left and took a detour toward Oneonta in the hopes of finding quaint shops and some good eats. However, we never made it into the village.
About a mile outside the village is Neahwa Park, there was a big 4th of July festival. It is a pretty big park with a veteran’s memorial and a small pond. Intrigued, we stopped by to see what was up.
For a small town, it was a pretty big festival. There were bubble ball and paintball tournaments, local entertainment, food and craft vendors and of course fireworks (we had left by that time).
Naturally, we stayed for some food. Jess decided to dive into a BBQ sundae with pulled pork, baked beans, coleslaw and mashed potatoes mixed all together.
I went for the cheese fries with gravy. Yum!
We hung around for a bit and then decided to head home. But it was the 4th of July and we forgot one little thing. Nope-not fireworks… but ICE CREAM.
On our way home, in Cooperstown, we stopped at The Penguin. BEST DECISION EVER.
Similar to Cold Stone, they custom make their ice cream. I got the s’mores ice cream and it actually had chunks of marshmallows. It was amazing! I would definitely visit again!
All in all, we had an amazing day, full of fur, food and festivals! We can’t wait for our next adventure.