Our day at Brookfield Zoo using reusable bags
My husband suggested the other day that we go to the zoo over the weekend for a family day. He had plans to go fishing Friday night and Saturday morning with his brothers, and was spending Saturday night visiting with his relatives from Australia who are here (in the Chicagoland area) on vacation. So that left Sunday for our family day.
This was our daughter’s first trip to the zoo, so we decided to go with the big zoo…Brookfield Zoo. Kayla is crazy about monkeys, so I knew this was our best bet because there are tons of monkeys there. Not to mention, Brookfield Zoo is the best zoo in the area. No other zoos even come close. I’ve been telling my husband since last summer that I wanted to take Kayla to the zoo, and this summer I knew it would be a great learning experience for her. She knows all the basic animals now and likes to make their sounds. She gets excited when she sees stuff with cows, pigs, horses, zebras, bears, sheep, etc., so this is the perfect time to take her to the zoo to reinforce everything I’ve taught her about animals so far.
I have various reusable bags, and I was determined to put a few of them to use today. I decided to go with a simple thin non-insulated market tote, and my large tote that is both insulated and non-insulated (with matching wristlet purse). The large tote has two sides to it. One side is a big insulated section, and the other side is a decent size non-insulated section for necessities. There is also a zippered compartment on the backside of the large tote. Let me just say that these totes were lifesavers today. They made my life so much easier. There are all types of reusable bags on the market right now, and I’m sure a lot of them are great, but I think these bags are among the best. Kudos to Sachi for coming up with such user-friendly bags.
I used my non-insulated market tote for a few different things today, and it really served it’s purpose. I was worried at first because this tote has a very thin material that I wasn’t sure would really hold up. It’s also tall and not very wide. I was concerned I wouldn’t be able to fit much in it, but I was wrong. This bag held way more than I expected. I had this thing jam packed with items and the thin material held up without any issues. It was also easy to carry. The handles/straps are just the right length.
On the way out of the house, I had the bag packed with a large cosmetic bag that holds our daughter’s diaper necessities, a portable DVD player, two DVD movies in their cases, a monkey backpack, and a sippy cup. Some of this stuff got unloaded in the car, so once we arrived at the zoo we only had the large cosmetic bag in it along with a sippy cup. While walking around the zoo, we stopped in a few gift shops to buy things for our daughter. We started to put the purchases in the market tote so that when we left the tote in the bottom of the stroller, people wouldn’t be able to see what we bought. By the time we left the zoo, the tote contained the large cosmetic bag, a stuffed animal, a toddler t-shirt, a small photo album, a small monkey purse (that we bought at the zoo), a box set of zoo animals, the monkey backpack, and a sippy cup. This bag was stuffed. My husband commented that the bag was very convenient to have with us.
I opted to not bring my purse to the zoo today, but put all of my essential items in the large tote. I also decided to pack us a picnic lunch in an attempt to save us some money. In the large tote, I put my keys and cell phone in the outside zippered compartment. On the non-insulated side of the bag, I put my wallet, a small cosmetic bag, my camera, our camcorder, and a spare outfit for Kayla. On the insulated side, I packed sandwiches in two 8″L x 5-1/2″W x 2-3/4″H containers, three small juice bottles, a few sticks of string cheese, a couple protien bars, a 1 cup container of dry cheerios, a few 100 calorie snack bags, and two freezer sheets to keep the food cold. I still had a little bit of room left if I wanted to add something else. I had the big tote pretty much full though. In the little matching wristlet purse that came with the tote, I carried sunscreen, a little hand sanitizer bottle, some tissues, and an extra binkie for our daughter. This big tote was a lifesaver. It fit everything we needed for the day, and it was easy to carry.
When I first got the bag, I was worried about the straps. They didn’t seem long enough, and they didn’t seem like they would stay on my shoulder properly. I was wrong again. The straps were just long enough for me…but I am petite at only 5’2. And I had no problem with this bag staying on my shoulder. I don’t remember it slipping off even once while walking around the zoo. Of course, the bag would get heavy at times when we were doing a lot of walking, but I was able to shove it into the bottom of our stroller when I needed a break.
I couldn’t believe how much I liked using these reusable bags. We didn’t have to worry about having tons of different bags or stray items. Everything fit into these two bags. Our lunch stayed cold in the insulated section of the large tote. I was able to bring everything I needed from my purse without having to actually bring my purse with me. I will definitely be using reusable bags in the future when we have family day outings.
For now, my next planned outing is a trip to a U-Pick Farm this week to pick some fresh fruits and veggies. I know I’ll be bringing at least one reusable bag on that trip.