Steve Irwin: 180 Minutes to Remember Him By

One of the bigger events in town this summer was a visit from Animal Planet. I have to admit taking two teenagers and one already past the double digits made me feel, well, like a young(er) mom again. The enthusiasm the kids showed for the event was mirrored by my muted excitement. We all love "real animals" and Animal Planet is the only approved network for in-hotel viewing. So, when we found out we could interact with "real animals" right here in town, we put the date on the calendar in great big bold letters. When we got there, it was no surprise to see my friends with their preschoolers and I wasn’t embarassed to sit alongside mini-kids in the air-conditioned tent at all. Each of my kids auditioned for "Endurance" – and 1/3 rock climbed. On the way out of the park, I remember thinking, "Were we really there for two hours?" Yep, we were. And our stop wasn’t complete until we stepped up to the gift tent so I could check out Steve Irwin’s video – the last one left. "It’s three hours of crocodile wrestling, Mom! We HAVE to HAVE IT!!!" The passionate pressure pitch was enough to crack up the entire tent of volunteers. What’s a mother to do in a situation like that except pull out the credit card? "At least you get three hours of peace when you get home," one of the volunteers chuckled. She was right. I got three hours of peace that day and  for a few days after that. When the kids heard Steve Irwin was gone, they said, "At least we have three hours of video." That’s all we have, but at least we have that. Here’s hoping there are lots of crocodiles to wrestle in the sky.

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