Are you searching for fun ways to keep your kids engaged and learning this summer? Would you like to teach them about environmental conservation and the impact our choices have on the world in which we live? The zoo is the perfect place to learn about these concepts. At the zoo children can learn about the welfare of animals and the importance of making intelligent decisions that impact the environment. Zoos encourage curiosity for young children as they bring to life the images and caricatures seen in storybooks. Visit your local zoo this summer and spark your child’s imagination.
The Toronto Zoo hosts 5000 animals representing over 460 species. The zoo is divided into seven separate geographical locations including Indo-Malaya, Africa, Canadian Domain, Americas, Australasian, Eurasia Wilds and the Tundra Trek. Each region showcases the animals and plants native to those parts of the world, so you will find species native to southern and southeast Asia in the Indo-Malaya pavilion and lions, zebras, baboons, antelopes, white rhinoceroses, river hippopotamuses, hyenas and giraffes in the African Savanna. The goal of the Toronto Zoo is to showcase the animals in their natural environments. Landscapes were created to make the animal’s pens look more like native habitats then cages. Public walkways were also constructed to provide visitor viewpoints from different levels and angles. When you visit the zoo make sure your children get a chance to explore the Discovery Zone, which features educational themes and exhibits, as well as a children’s water park. Waterside Theatre also gives young guests a thrill. The theater features live animal demonstrations in an open-air venue.
The Calgary Zoo has been showcasing animals for over 80 years. While visitors can view animals from Africa, South America and Eurasia a special emphasis is placed on native Canadian species. In fact, the zoo has dedicated over 20 acres to Canadian wildlife so visitors can view these creatures in their own natural habitat. If you visit the zoo don’t miss the Penguin Plunge. This exhibit, added in 2012, features four species of playful penguins. The impacts of climate change are also presented. Guests can learn about how climate change alters the animals native habitat and what they can do to prevent further destruction.
San Diego Zoo
The San Diego Zoo houses over 3,500 rare and endangered animals, which includes 650 species and subspecies, as well as a botanical collection with more than 700,000 exotic plants. The San Diego Zoo pioneered the concept of open-air, cage-free exhibits, which removed metal bars and cages from the landscape of zoos across the country and around the world. Most zoos require lots and lots of walking to see the animals and exhibits, but at the San Diego Zoo you can take a guided bus tour that covers 70% of the park. You can also view the zoo from Skyfari; an overhead gondola lift. When you visit the zoo be sure to check out the Panda Trek exhibit, which features giant pandas on display. The first two giant panda cubs in U.S. history were born at the zoo and survived well into adulthood. In fact, the San Diego Zoo hosts the most successful panda reproduction program in the country.
The Columbus Zoo features a number of attractions that will thrill young visitors. Children can watch giraffe feedings, get up close and personal with kangaroos, touch turtles, snakes, sea stars, horseshoe crabs and stingrays and even ride camels. The Columbus Zoo also features a few animals that are not commonly found at other zoos. Those include West Indian manatees, kangaroos and koala bears. After watching the animals children can ride the Mangels-Illions Carousel, visit a water park called Zoombezi Bay or ride on 16 attractions at Jungle Jack’s Landing.
This summer keep your kids engaged and learning with a trip to the zoo!