A day at the zoo

I actually wrote this a few months back and never got around to posting it:

A great way to get kids interested in nature is to tIe them to the zoo. It’s fun for all ages and you can, likely, learn about local species in a controlled environment. By getting an idea, up front, about what you should be looking for on your nature walks you’ll greatly increase your chances of actually seeing something when you’re out. Most zoos have a local species area (the Calgary zoo even has local trees!) and, far too often, these areas are ignored by the public in favour of exotic areas featuring lions, tigers and zebras ( admit it, you thought I was going to say bears, oh my). My experience shows that these areas are less crowded and that a child is just as excited to see a moose as they are to see a giraffe. What a great place to explore together!

Here are some ideas to try while you are at the zoo:

– try sketching one of the animals – make sure that you note the features
– try sitting near an animal habitat and listening – Many open air habitats attract local birds, etc
– look for misplaced species – today we saw deer mice in with the monkeys
– try to guess the animals without looking at the signs using field guides
– make sure that you visit at least one exotic species – and compare features

So – the zoo, an easy place to share a bit of local nature

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