Hubs took a day off work so we could enjoy a trip to the zoo with the kids. This sounded like a great way to spend a summer day. Did I mention that we’re in the middle of a heat wave? The high yesterday at the zoo when we were there was 96. That’s without factoring in the heat wave. Strike one.

The zoo itself was great. The animals were obviously not having it, but the kids enjoyed seeing them. Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia, S.C., is better than the NC Zoo (in my opinion) because it is so compact that you don’t need to take trams everywhere. You can walk to everything.

Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia SC

We originally intended to pack our lunches to take in the stroller with us. A quick online check of the zoo site said outside food and drinks were prohibited, so I scratched that plan. Instead I made a coffee shake with protein powder and packed car snacks for the rest of the family.

All is well for the first hour or so of the trip. Then the heat really starts to take its toll on the entire family. They are fading fast. We decide to eat an early lunch in the air-conditioned on-site restaurant. Hubs gets a cheese burger. The kids get chicken tenders and a quesadilla. It took me a while looking over the menu options. Yes they had salads, but to get a protein on top would make it a $10 salad. Plus salads have almost no calories and I needed fuel. So what’s left? All carbs, basically.

Crap. This is going to be bad for me. I just bite the bullet and order a “Sicilian,” which is basically a large hunk of white bread with processed meats and a hint of tomato and mixed greens. Oh, and it comes with a side of chips. Double crap. 

Zoo lunch

Oh but it gets better. We can’t find water fountains anywhere, and because of the “don’t bring drinks” warning I didn’t even pack water bottles for everyone. So at the restaurant we decide to invest in the souvenir cups that can be refilled all year for $1.50. We get two, one for the kids to share and one for me to share with Hubs. I’m standing in line and the guy asks what we want to drink. Lemonade for the kids and, uh… (We just paid $6 for this souvenir cup and I can’t really ask for water in it can I? Brad drinks diet sodas, so I’ll just suck it up and share with him).

In hindsight this was stupid. Stupid. It feels like 100 degrees outside and all I’ve had to drink is coffee and now diet soda. The only thing I’ve had to eat is a carb bomb. Strike two.

I don’t last long. By the time we are done looking at animals I feel like I’m dying. Obviously I’m dehydrated and improperly fueled. All that bread is sitting on my stomach wrong  and I’m getting grumpier by the minute. Hubs is trying to help. We are actively searching for places to fill up our souvenir cups with water. We can’t find a water fountain anywhere and the water stations they have set up near the tram stops are empty.

We take the tram over to the gardens so we can cool off in the splash pad before heading home. We wait 10 minutes for the next tram, load everyone on and ride up the hill. Once we get off and walk to the splash pad an employee tells us it is closed for the day. Probably for poop (oh the things I’ve seen at splash pads). Strike three.

The only one open is the toddler splash pad. The kids play in the water for a bit while Hubs goes off in search of water. He returns with luke-warm water from a water fountain he found somewhere and I chug an entire cup. He’s off again to refill. When he returns a second time he’s encouraging me to drink more water. I must have looked like death. At one point he asks me if I’m going to pass out.

Time to go. We ride the tram back to the zoo, hike all the way back to the car and crank the air down as low as it will go. Hubs drives us back and I relax in the passenger seat. I don’t have dinner plans, but I tell him we can make what I intended to pack for lunch and eat that for dinner. He’s pounding cheese crackers and popcorn on the ride home, then has a big turkey sandwich I make for him once we get there. I have tasty turkey roll-ups using these low-carb wraps I found at Aldi the day before. I also pounded about 30 ounces of water.

Low-carb “sprouted grain” wrap with turkey, colby jack and mixed greens

To add complete insult to injury, I weighed myself this morning. I know: stupid. Weigh in is on Saturdays and obviously that wheat brick moving through my system is weighing me down. I’m holding on to 3 pounds. Keep in mind a MONTH of work got me down 5 pounds and one day of stupid decisions added 3 of those back.

I am utterly defeated.