This week we went to the Buffalo Zoo in conjunction with Unit 7 in the Moving Beyond The Page curriculum, which is based around the book, But No Elephants by Jerry Smath. The book does not actually involve a zoo, but lots of animals, nevertheless it seemed to ignite the idea of zoos in Elizabeth anyhow. The parent guide suggests a trip to the zoo as a fun optional extension for this unit so I was planning one as well, thus to the zoo we went!
We generally make a yearly zoo trip. Last year, we happened to go in November also. I had been thinking that the Buffalo Zoo had more animals indoors (than what they actually do), so that is where we went. The day before our trip, the weather had been in the 60’s, but the day we went it was in the 40’s. My husband greatly dislikes the cold, as he is from a tropical region, but he survived.
Since it was quite cool, a Wednesday, and a random day in November, the zoo was pretty empty besides us and the animals. The neat part about this, besides not having to fight crowds to get where you are going or to see the animals, was that the animals seemed more aware of us. Probably, when there are swaths of people crowding around, it is much easier for the animals to just tune them out rather than overload themselves with all of the stimulation; but with less people, it’s easier to notice visitors, or even interact with them. We had a neat experience with the sea lion, who did multiple rounds back and forth under the bridge we were on; it came up every time, blew out, and seemed to take a good look at us. Both of the kids were enthralled. I also recall the zebras who kind of gave us inquiring looks, as if hoping we were there to give them some dinner. The river otters were down in the pool/tank that is right by the sidewalk, they were swimming and playing and came right up to the side as if swiping against the kids.
Some of our other favorite animals of the day were the elephants for Elizabeth, since we have been discussing elephants a lot lately. I enjoyed the baby giraffe, who was just soooo cute! Paul liked the bighorn sheep, I think they were the first animals that he really realized were there and alive. And Chepe liked the tropical bird house – surprise 🙂 . Elizabeth was disappointed though that the rhinos were not out.
I’ll admit that I didn’t exactly go out of my way to add an extra educational element – keeping the family together, fed, and getting where we need to go was enough work. Besides, Elizabeth is only four, and just the experience of going and seeing the live animals seems like enough, in my opinion. I know that Paul has been interested in monkey things since we went.
Your turn to chime in: What are some neat animal experiences you and your kids have had, whether at a zoo or not?