This past weekend, the weather was absolutely gorgeous; just under 80 degrees. We decided to utilize our zoo membership and took off for the Sacramento Zoo. We purchased our zoo membership in October of last year. For three people, a year membership is the equivalent of going to the zoo three different times; about $90.00.
While that seems to be quite a bit of money just to walk around and look at some animals, I took a different perspective. One, we go to the zoo at least three times a year, normally more. I like the educational value and the zoo becomes a school field trip for us. There are membership perks: discounts to other zoos (except San Diego and San Francisco – BOO!), 10% food and drinks at the zoo, membership days, and so on.
When we arrived, we noticed the entrance line was down the block. Yuck! That would have really put a damper on the start of the day had we not had a membership. Why? One of the best perks of membership is our own “members entrance” that rarely has a wait. They look at your membership card and ID and off you go into the zoo.
If you go the left upon entering the zoo, you pass the gift shop and just a few feet after that, these strange birds appear. My daughter loves to stop and watch the flamingos. The picture with several flamingos was when they were all walking together. We hadn’t seen that yet. They normally are just standing, with one leg up, sleeping. How they can balance on legs the width of chopsticks and balanced on tiny webbed feet is amazing to me. Perhaps, it is because my own balancing skills are dismal in that regard.
There is so much of the zoo to see, we rarely take it in all in one day. We didn’t get see the elephants, kangaroos, red panda or our school mascot; the Arctic (white) wolf. Yes, we have a school mascot. Just because we homeschool doesn’t mean we can’t have an animal represent us. My daughter chose the white wolf, before she knew it was known as the Arctic wolf. She had to choose an animal and then tell me why it should represent us. She came up, “it’s beautiful and fierce”. How could I argue with that? Now when we visit the zoo, we see “our” wolf sometimes.
My daughter enjoyed seeing the orangutan. She watched the pair for a good five minutes. She pointed out their hands. How they used their fingers like humans do; their similar body structure. She was fascinated. The zoo brings science to life. She learns about animals from around the world and the conservation efforts to save those in danger of extinction.
In addition to practicing reading skills at each exhibit, she reads if there is no threat, if there is a threat, if endangered or is extremely endangered. We discussed extinction. My daughter wants to save the tigers. She wants to adopt one. She stated she knows she can’t have one in her home, but she could donate to the zoo and they could live there and be cared for.
Enter perfect timing. It’s hard to see, but there are three lion cubs in this corner. Their parents are sunbathing in the exhibit as well. There was a sign near the exhibit about becoming zoo parents. We discussed this. When she is older, she can choose to donate in that way if she wanted. My daughter really seemed to like this idea.
Another fascination was the giant anteater. I have to admit, he’s quite the large insect sucker-upper. He just walks around, looking for food and if you’re lucky, you’ll see his tongue dart out to scoop of the bite-sized food he seems to love so dearly.
We started making our way back to the front entrance. My daughter’s “ritual” is to stop by the gift shop for a memory before leaving for the day. The most recent of her purchases was a water bottle on a strap, displaying the zoo name and indicating which continents certain animals were from. Another unintentional lesson.
Thanks for joining us on a quick trip to the Sacramento Zoo. I highly recommend visiting zoos, especially with kids, if you are close enough to enjoy them. There is a lot of educational material just waiting to be discovered; not to mention the exercise from walking.