Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! These can be so much fun to look at, especially when you also get to see the monkeys and snakes and giraffes. But wouldn’t it be even better to do something more than just look at the animals? Many zoos offer special programs and activities that can really enhance your visit. Check out some of these activities to make your visit extra special.
- Camel rides – Would your kids like to imagine they are part of a caravan in the desert? Some zoos, like the Bronx Zoo in New York, offer camel rides. Just think of how seeing a live camel up close coupled with the opportunity to ride it would enhance your child’s view of desert animals.
- Penguin feedings – New York’s Central Park Zoo has Gentoo’s and Chinstraps that love an audience when they are eating. Morning and afternoon meals are shared with the public, and you get to ask questions. Your local zoo may also have animal feedings that you can observe; all you need to do is ask.
- Movies at the zoo – Why go to a stuffy movie theater in the summer when you could kick back and watch a movie outdoors. Many zoos offer movie nights throughout the summer months. Make a picnic dinner for the family or bring some wine and cheese (if permitted) and make it a romantic evening for the two of you.
- Buy some poop for your garden – Did you know that some zoos offer zoo poop mulch for sale to the public? Give your garden a nourishing boost and support your local zoo at the same time. What could be better than that?
- Zoo camp – Summer camp, day camp, maybe overnight camp; your kids get to visit the animals and experience the zoo in a way that’s really up close and personal. Find out what your zoo has to offer and sign the kids up.
- Eat with the animals – Many zoos have special galas or dinners to raise much needed funds. You can support your zoo by taking part in one of these special events. Some events are themed and some are annual gatherings.
- Be a zookeeper for a day – Some zoos have programs for kids to help with the animals. For a few hours, you child will have an opportunity to see what it’s like to be a real zookeeper. Just be prepared to pick up a rather dirty kid at the end of the day!
- Take a class – Birmingham Zoo is one of many zoos across the nation that offers classes for school-aged kids. This is an especially cool opportunity for homeschooled kids. Check with your zoo to find out what enrichment classes are available in your area.
- Elephant aerobics – Remember those days of sitting on the couch watching the exercise video while you decided whether or not you actually wanted to participate? Well, the Louisville Zoo in Kentucky has exercising elephants you can watch. These big guys may just inspire you to get off the couch and do a little workout yourself!
- Sleep with the dolphins – You don’t actually sleep in the water with the dolphins, but you do get to learn a lot about them and spend the night in their area. The Minnesota Zoo has family programs for a wonderful overnight adventure including behind-the-scene tours and in-depth learning about sharks, dolphins and other watery creatures. Many zoos offer overnight adventures paired with specific exhibits.
Whether going by yourself for some inspiration, arranging a date night with your partner, or planning an outing with the kids, with a little planning you can make your trip to the zoo something to be remembered for a long time. An added bonus to some zoo camps and classes is that all or part of the fees may be tax deductible in your state. Check with your local zoo to find out.Taken From Summer Nanny Jobs