Travel Skills

Lunch with the Elephants

This is another archive I’m transferring to this blog.  It’s an oldie, but a goodie hopefully.  I thought you might enjoy a peek into an everyday outing for me and my children as a blind mom.  (Originally written in Spring of 2014)



Every spring, the circus comes to town in Baltimore; and the elephants have a special lunch engagement. I remember first hearing about it about eight years ago when I first moved here and thinking to myself that it might be a fun thing to check out sometime.   I mean, come on, it’s not every day that you get to see an elephant up close and personal right? The event took place just up the road too from where I worked at the time so I always thought it would be fun one year to take an extended lunch hour and go visit the elephants when they were in town. Needless to say, for one reason or another, I never have, until this year.

My daughter is now three, so I figured she might enjoy the event too.

The elephants are part of the Ringling Brothers Circus and are escorted down from the arena where they are performing in the circus all week to Lexington Market, unhistorical market located right down town. I was a little disappointed to learn that they don’t actually go through the market (strange enough, somehow I’d got that wild impression over the years and thought it would be sort of surreal to see these elephants waltzing down the isles of the food stands). You can’t go for rides or even pet them like I also hoped, but it was still interesting to hang out and watch them. They are escorted into the parking lot behind the market where there are crates –and when I say crates, I mean more like freight crates–of food for them to enjoy. Fans line themselves all along the fence line surrounding the lot to watch them enjoy a “little” lunch (they consume something like 200 loaves of bread and 700 heads of lettuce. Then, when lunch is over, they march back up the street to the arena.

I told my daughter earlier this week that we were going to go see some elephants and she got so excited! I am pretty sure she knows what an elephant is, at least conceptually. They are always using a baby elephant as one of the “Mouse-Ker-tools” on “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse”, and the dumbo ride at Disney World is one of her favorites. So, I figured it was time to show her the real deal.

WE invited two friends of ours to join us whose children are the same age as K for a little play date. We made plans to take the light rail from where we live to downtown since it would be easier with parking and the crowds. Let’s just say, half the fun for K was introducing her two little friends to the light rail train as they had never ridden it before, while she is a regular. Half the fun for me was giving my friends a little peek into my world as a blind mom who relies on public transportation(neither of them had ridden the light rail before), and observing the slight cultural shock from the two of them who have not spent a lot of time in downtown Baltimore. (I too was once a naïve Utah girl, but now I guess I’m a well-seasoned city dweller. Not sure whether to be sad or proud of that fact.)

When we got there, we got some lunch from inside the market and had a picnic in the middle of the parking lot just outside the fence line where the elephants were going to be. Let’s just say it made for a little bit of an unusual picture with us three moms and our toddlers sitting on the pavement eating pasta out of Styrofoam containers. I am also proud of the fact that I managed to do this with my six-month-old son in the baby carrier on my front. He may or may not have had a noodle dropped on his head.

Sadly, the whole event wasn’t as exciting as I had hoped, nor was my daughter as interested as I thought she would be. Maybe we’ll try again in the future when she and my son are a little older and we’ll make sure to have a closer seat. . But, I’m at least glad we attempted it. I was pretty pleased too at my friends’ trust in my travel abilities to get them to and from an area that was unfamiliar to them and a bit out of their comfort zones. (Even though I am sure they researched the directions online ahead of time.) It turns out that riding the lightrail downtown turned out to be a highlight for the trip. Who knew? Score one for public transportation.


P.S. I am sorry that there are no pics to accompany this post. Juggling a cane in one hand, holding onto a toddler with the other, and managing to support the head of the sleeping infant in the carrying pack made taking photos a bit of a challenge and I always forget to ask others to take them for us.


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