FIRST LOVES: The first person who ever put a kitten or puppy gently into our tiny, dimple-elbowed arms was very likely our mother. Likewise, our mom was probably that adventurer who pointed out the butterfly on the daisy to us -- look look look! -- and the turtle in the pond and lifted us higher so we could admire the fish tank at our pediatrician's office. And it happens quite a lot that our mom isn't just pointing out the pelican or the lizard to educate us on the natural world (though that's definitely a large part of her action). She loves animals, is mad for mammals, she could swoon all day over reptiles and felines and snakes and the occasional hamster. If you had a hamster growing up you likely had to clean up its hamster home, per your parents, but surely your mother snuck in to cuddle the little furry ball of joy now and then. If this is your mom -- a true-blue friend to animals, through and through -- then perhaps her special day out, on the second Sunday of May, requires that our four-footed co-earthlings be a part of it. And they can be, at Safari West, which pauses each year to celebrate moms on Mother's Day.
PLUS, MIMOSAS: That's always an important "plus" to add, because the meal on Mother's Day is often mimosa'd. There shall be two seatings for brunch at the Santa Rosa animal preserve, mid-morning and early afternoon, and the price is forty two dollars and fifty cents for the grown-ups (less for the kids). But the delightful focus of the day, beyond the Champagne brunch, is the chance to admire the zebras and giraffes and other denizens of the nearly 400 acres sometimes dubbed "The Sonoma Serengeti." And a charming add? There shall be a face painter, on the ground, but the colorful touch-ups are not just for kids; "(m)others are also welcome to get a small animal painted on their faces or even hands." That's a big awww right there, and a sweet memento for the person who might have very likely started you on your own lifelong road of animal adoration.