Monday, June 2, 2014

Homeschool Field Trip: St. Louis Zoo

The St. Louis Zoo will likely be the final zoo that we visit in our Year of Zoos, since it was last June that the kids and I spent a day at the Cincinnati Zoo. And as we were four hours into a ten-hour drive from Arkansas to Indiana at the time, we spent approximately three hours at the St. Louis Zoo, not the full day, but nevertheless, the adventure made both children very happy and our Will saw plenty of those animals that she loves so much.

When we've got a limited time to visit someplace, I like to let the kids check out the map, then each choose one spot for the whole family to visit. This has worked in big places, like the National Mall, in small time increments, like 90 minutes at the Children's Museum, and it worked well for one afternoon at the St. Louis Zoo (it wouldn't have if the zoo hadn't started its late summer hours just that weekend--phew!). Will got to choose first, since she'd gracefully[-ish, eventually] conceded to Syd's desire that we go to the zoo instead of the St. Louis Science Center, as Will wanted--I came out on Syd's side, since I preferred to spend the afternoon walking around in the nice weather rather than following the kids and standing around while they played inside a museum, and, since Syd's working on her Girl Scout Bugs Brownie badge and Will's working on her 4-H Entomology project, I wanted them to see the insect exhibit at the zoo--and she chose, as always, the reptile exhibit:

This kid seems to have a special connection with animals, and I am always seeing moments like these.
There was an empty habitat in which the background scene was still being painted, and both kids, old hats at scientific classification and museum signage, found much humor in the academic in-joke that was this sign:

Syd found navigating us next to Sea Lion Sound, her choice, to be a pretty big challenge--

--but we got there eventually!

The children never tap or bang on habitat walls, ever, but I do often notice them gently placing a hand against a transparent wall as they observe the animals inside:

My choice, obviously, was the insect habitat, although frankly I almost changed my mind when I saw who was sponsoring it:


Each summer, I toy with the idea of raising silkworms, since we have two mulberry trees in our yard.
We're not doing the intensive butterfly study that we did last year, but we still very much love them.
 We needed to buy some young chicken sitter friends some souvenirs, so Matt made his choice be the gift shop, which is conveniently by the exit, an aid to an easy transition out of the zoo:
The promise of choosing a statue to pose by also helped get them out.
 After our fact-filled animal afternoon, I looked in the rearview mirror soon after we'd gotten back on the road to find Syd entertaining herself thusly:

Hydra vs. griffin should DEFINITELY be a zoo exhibit!


Tina said...

That is the best zoo sign I have ever seen! Have you checked out the blog?

And yeah, I probably would have stopped and thought twice about that insect exhibit.

julie said...

Ooh, does the St. Louis Zoo have a blog? What's the link? Will has lately been absolutely enraptured by the web cams at the Monterey Bay Aquarium:

We were just checking out the bay cam, and it looks so foggy and miserable there right now!

Tina said...

The sign for the Homo Sapian Pictoris lists a blog

It's about the guy who does the paintings and murals for the animal exhibits. Nothing spectacular, but still kinda neat.

julie said...

Ooh, it even shows the exhibit in the herpetarium that he must have been working on while we were there!