'New to Naomi' has been going on for quite some time now, so I figured it's time to explore the big one - Utica. This is part one of the Utica series, which took me by the Parkway to the Utica Zoo, Proctor Park, and that area of the city.

As 'New to Naomi' starts heading into its last few months, I figured it's time to explore my new home city - Utica. This is probably going to be a five-part series (just because there is so much to see and do in Utica, it's going to take some time to explore it all). This weekend I kicked off the first part of this series.

First stop was the Utica Zoo - which I have been waiting to go to since the first weekend I moved in. And I was not disappointed! The animals were really active, especially the lions (seriously - I've never been so close to a big cat like that). I also sat and watched a sea-lion show, and learned about a few animals I've never heard of before like the Serval. Plus that giant watering can in the park - now that's cool. It's in the Guinness Book of World Records, too!

After checking out the animals and wandering around the zoo for a few hours, it was time to get some dinner. I wanted to check out someplace I had never been before, but someplace in the same area. The verdict...'The Secret Garden.'

Outside 'The Secret Garden' in Utica
Naomi Lynn/TSM

I don't know if you know this or not, but The Secret Garden won for best riggies at Riggie Fest 2009. That being said, I had to try them! Now, the prices are decent there, it was a little more costly than an everyday restaurant, but after I got my meal, it didn't matter. Look at all that food! No wonder it was a little more!

Plate of Chicken Riggies at 'The Secret Garden'
Naomi Lynn/TSM

I had enough food for three meals. No seriously.... I ate there, brought some for lunch today, and I have enough for dinner tonight (and I'm not complaining).

After dinner I headed over to Proctor Park to walk off some of that delicious meal. It was a beautiful afternoon - perfect for a little walk around the park. That was my first time at Proctor park too, and it was pretty nice.

I had fun a lot exploring this area of Utica for 'New to Naomi' this weekend. I'm wondering where my next adventure will take me, and what else in Utica I'll check out in the coming weeks. I don't know what the plan is yet, but I am excited!




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