Rain gave way to beautiful weather on Friday, and a friend invited us on an outing to the zoo. All three kids found the animals fascinating – Lily even skipped her morning nap, she was so absorbed. They were especially excited to see this bear climbing.
We decided to look up why flamingoes stand on only one foot when we got home. It turns out that scientists don’t know for sure, but it looks like it could be to regulate body temperature, and possibly prevent parasitic infections and fungal growth. Which I say is just a detailed explanation of my in-zoo guess that they do it to give one foot a chance to dry out.
There are so many zoo extension activities that can be done! Here are a few that I want to try:
- Learn more about specific animals seen at the zoo (general biology)
- Sort animals seen by geographic location and discuss reasons they might live in those places, such as local temperatures, terrain, and vegetation (geography)
- Divide animals into groups based on what they look like, how they move, what they eat, or where they live (sorting, classification, critical thinking)
- Get a zoo map in advance, let your child plan their path and then have them navigate their way through the zoo (map-reading, planning, and observation skills)
- Talk about the connection between the way animals are designed and the foods they eat and the places they live (anatomy, critical thinking)
- Learn how to sign the animals you see – many US libraries have a copy of the Zoo Train Signing Time DVD, which is a fun place to start. (language)
All of these can be done before a zoo trip or once we get home from the zoo. This is a nice way to continue the experience – especially since the drive to the zoo is long enough that we don’t go frequently. For in-zoo activities, I love Valerie’s Zoo Journal idea at the Frugal Family Fun Blog, although I plan to wait until my kids are a bit older to try it.