Sunday, May 22, 2011

Outdoor Adventures: The Zoo

Check out the Oregon Zoo here.
Continuing our outdoor adventures today and we are headed to the zoo! 

I didn't have a zoo close to my home when I was growing up.  This means that I only visited a zoo maybe 5-7 times as a kid.  I had no idea what I was missing.

First off, if you live close to a zoo, I highly recommend getting a membership.  I also recommend getting the type that allows you to bring in one free guest because then you can always invite a friend along and they aren't having to fork over money to join you.  Even if you don't choose that level of membership, being a member allows you the freedom to spend as little or as much time as you want there and many times includes a lot of other perks (ex. free parking and free/discounted admission to other events).  I love being able to spend an hour or two at the zoo and then leave without feeling like I have wasted my money. 

So you may be thinking to yourself, "Don't you just look at the animals when you go to the zoo?" and you would be partially right.  At 16 months Superman has favorite animals to go watch.  He loves the fish, polar bears, birds, and otters.    He is not a fan of the animals that are farther away from him or that just stand there when we look at them.

But there is more to the zoo than this.  Our zoo has a petting area that is definitely Superman's favorite part right now.  He loves talking with the goats, saying "baa" to the cows (haven't gotten him to moo yet), and toddle around from one animal to another.   Sure you have to take the time to clean up after you are done with this area, but given the amount of entertainment it brings both my son and I, I say that it is totally worth it.

Another great activity at the zoo is a picnic!  I had no idea that most zoos allow you to bring in your own food and if your zoo is like ours, there are plenty of spots to sit down and enjoy it.  Our particular zoo has an amphitheater that is perfect for laying out a blanket and enjoying a snack or lunch.  

**Beware of the school groups at the end of the school year.  It can get really nutty!  I spoke to one of the employees at our zoo and they recommend coming before 10am or after 2pm to avoid them.**

Activities for the zoo: 
  • Looking at the animals
  • Petting animals
  • Having a picnic (many zoos allow you to bring in outside food)
  • Practicing animal sounds
  • Summer Camps (for older kids)

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