Inside of the rainforest building, there’s a small main entrance area with big information posters on the walls about some of the animals inside, and then a 2nd set of double doors, leading to the enclosure. Daddy slipped his hand around mine as we walked into the 2nd set of doors together. I made a little coo and gripped his hand tightly.
The rainforest led you on a dirt path, through trees, plants, and vines, past various animal encloses and small ponds. Different colored butterflies flew all around you as you walked, which was a beautiful contrast to the horrifying bats that would occasionally screech past your head. I felt a little chill as I remembered they might be around. The zookeepers had started letting them roam freely within the rainforest a few years ago, and I still wasn’t used to it.
We passed a few smaller enclosures housing some different snakes and birds, before rounding a corner and reaching a large lagoon, behind a massive wall of glass. The enclosure for the hippos. It took up about a third of the rainforest. At the far end of the lagoon against the wall was a little island, where the 2 hippos were currently both asleep and sunbathing. A mother and her daughter. The zoo had gained a lot of publicity and donation money when the mama-hippo had given birth. But now they were both old news, mostly left to sunbathe and wade through the water as they pleased. One of them woke up and started to swim around, and we watched them together for a few minutes.
We continued on our way down the path after feeling content with our hippo viewing. We passed a few more enclosures with smaller animals and different types of tree frogs, and ponds with little fish. Suddenly one of the scary bats flew over us, letting out a screech right above my head. Or it seemed like it was right above me. Like it had been waiting in the trees and plotting for the perfect moment to scare someone like me. I shrieked and jumped as it flapped away into an opening in the wall that went to a private cave system for them.
Daddy laughed at me, and when I shot him a glare he said “Awwww it’s okay little Rory. That was scary.” He cleared his throat and took my hands in his as he kissed my forehead. “Daddy’s sorry he laughed- I shouldn’t have laughed,” he said, looking into my eyes. He got a small smirk and kissed my nose, “It was very cute though” he said, teasing me again. I blushed and pretended like I was mad, but I couldn't help but giggle slightly. He kissed my forehead again and tousled my hair a little. “Let’s keep going little bug,” he said, taking my hand again.
As we rounded another corner, into a small area shrouded by vines of different sizes, he slowed down and looked around us. He had a look in his eyes that gave me butterflies, and I could tell the gears in his brain were turning. “What is it?” I asked, and he smiled. “Oh, I just think it's the perfect time and spot for a diaper check little mister,” he said, with a bit of a playful growl.
I felt the blush return to my face, this time a hot crimson red. I wanted to protest, but I knew better than that. I bent over slightly, to show him my poofy butt in my shorts. He put his hand on my butt and squeezed a little, and then ran his hand along the back sides of my diaper, into the crease of my thighs. “Feels dry…” he said, trailing off. “But with these shorts how can I be sure?” he finished. I whimpered a little, but his fingers were already digging in the waistband, and in a swift move he pulled my shorts down, letting them fall to my boots. He did the same motions with his hands along my safari onesie, to check if I was really as dry as I said. I was a little wet, but nowhere near wet enough for a diaper change.
I felt his finger covertly slip into my onesie right where the snaps were and I jumped a little, turning around to face him now, with an angry baby face. He already had his hands up in surrender and I couldn't stay mad at him when I saw his big goofy smile. “I was only kidding,” he said, and kissed my forehead again.
When he pulled back though, I froze, because suddenly I could see a guy staring at us through the vines. He was maybe 20 feet away, on another part of the trail, but he was at the perfect spot that provided a peak through a small gap in the vines. He looked like he was probably around my age, with athletic shorts, a tank top, a gold chain, and a baseball cap. His mouth was open and he was staring. It didn’t feel like a negative stare, more like he was fascinated, but suddenly he looked to the side, because someone was calling to him, and he walked out of sight. When I looked back at Daddy I could tell that he had seen the guy too.
I scrambled to pull my shorts back up and my face felt neon red from embarrassment. I tried to run around the corner but Daddy caught me with his arms around my waist. “Hey hey…” he said in his soothing voice. He turned me around to look at him and we locked eyes. “I’m sorry, that was too reckless of Daddy,” he said. He smiled again and said sheepishly, “I got too excited.” I smiled back at him, feeling calmer. “I’m not really upset, it just scared me,” I said. He pulled me into a big bear hug, took my hand in his again, and we continued walking.
The last big attraction in the rainforest was a very large tree which housed a few different types of monkeys. We watched them swing around and call out to each other for a little while, before finally exiting the rainforest. On the way out of the building, you're shuffled through a gift shop before the exit. Every building at the Hilstonbury had at least 1 gift shop, if not more. This one had been cleverly designed when they built the rainforest, with mini replicas of the hippo enclosure and monkey tree built into the gift shop, complete with stuffed hippos and monkeys to set the scene.
“Do you want anything?” Daddy asked, looking around at the different plushies. He was asking to be nice, but I could tell in his voice he already partially knew the answer. I was holding out for the gift shop at the cat house. “No, I think I’m okay here. I want to get a lion or something!” I said, playfully roaring at him. He laughed and led me out of the gift shop exit.
“That’s what I thought. Well bud, where should we go next? We could go back to the petting zoo” he said, pointing behind us. “Or we could go to the aquarium first.” he finished, pointing now to the building on the other side of the walkway from us. “If we do that, you could probably use your pacifier in the dark undersea tunnels” he said persuasively.
Thinking that sounded very nice, I pointed at the aquarium and we headed towards the front doors, hand in hand… TO BE CONTINUED