The Bug loves the Cincinnati Zoo. I don’t think I can overstate that fact in any way. Her lifelong dream is to be a zookeeper, but she has recently narrowed her focus. She wants to be in the Bird Show…or more accurately she wants to be in charge of the Bird Show. This girl has goals.
With her love of the zoo, it was only natural for us to enroll her in Zoo Camp this summer. While the zoo offers a couple different camp options for the little ones, we went with their half-day morning program called “Growing Up.” She loved it!
Each day I dropped her off in her classroom, which was really a tent overlooking the giraffes. Since she has always had a soft spot for the giraffes, I’m surprised she was able to focus at all, but she learned a lot! Her teacher is a zoology major at a local university and was INCREDIBLE with the kids. (And I know a thing or two about being patient with 7 year olds.) Not only that, but they had three “volunteens” in their class to help the learning and fun go on.
Every day, they focused on a different kind of animal — insects, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. They had visits from animals in those categories and went on hikes to see them in their enclosures at the zoo. All along the way, they sang songs and played games. Their time together ended with a craft about that particular animal.
THE BUG LOVED IT!
We made plans early in the week to eat lunch together at the zoo on Friday. Now, I’ve mentioned before that we normally pack a lunch to save some money, but I didn’t tell The Bug that we were going buy pizza instead of eating a sandwich. She flipped out with excitement. (Seriously, it doesn’t take much when you’re 7.) On our way to buy our food, I told her we had to hurry if we wanted to make it to Bird Show in time. Oh! My! Goodness! I had one hyper girl on my hands! We hooked up with one of her camp buddies at lunch and had fun hanging out with her and her family that afternoon.
I highly encourage you to enroll your kid in Zoo Camp. Slots fill up fast, so start looking for sign ups in Spring 2017. Just to warn you… The Bug plans on taking a full day slot next year.
Here are some pro tips.
- Take something to do. It was silly for me to drop her off at the zoo, head back to Kentucky, then turn around and get her again. So, I camped out with a laptop and did some blogging last week. They have free wifi throughout the zoo, so come prepared. The views above your laptop are probably much better than what you see in your office anyhow.
- Don’t be a nerd and hang out with your laptop the entire time. You have a world class zoo right there in front of you! See some animals before you get your cup of coffee and hit the wifi.
- Find your kid during the zoo hike. The Bug’s teacher was really cool about me meeting them at random times and places to snap a picture or two. I never wanted to be in the way and just wanted a quick hi and picture. It got so The Bug was looking for me while they were out and about.
- Don’t forget the Pizza and Bird Show Trick. It’ll be a winner every time! Add some ice cream too. I give you permission to compromise.
One other thing, I’m already pushing The Bug to be a volunteen when she turns 13. This is an awesome opportunity to spend time in and around the zoo helping out and seeing if this is what she wants to do full time.