As today is the first day of school, we focus on getting kids back to academics. This summer we provided our son with a little less formal and more interactive education (and fun!) at zoo camp.
This little boy wants to be a zookeeper and a major league baseball player when he grows up. He seriously believes he can rock both. This is the innocence, the magic and the dreams that childhoods are made of. We work hard when we are motivated by our dreams and desires. We are fueled by things that make us happy, and animals and baseball, do just that to his happy little soul.
Last week he attended Zoo Camp. Last year
he went as well and he had an experience that left him talking about it until this summer. He has had a lot of amazing animals experiences in his life, I’ve seen more things alongside him than I did in my 25 years before his birth. He had seen and interacted with young tigers, lions, and foxes, lemurs, large snakes and all sorts of lizards, all the typical farm animals, large birds and dozens of other animals in a one on one setting or interactive lecture through various organizations.
There was a lot of controversy over the last year surrounding The Bowmanville Zoo. Despite this, we still sent my son back to camp. I did think about it long and hard. Media can turn things any way they want. We are not condoning actions of a former director who has stepped down, or the way things we dealt with, nor can we verify or falsify them, but we can tell you of our firsthand experience and we will not paint every keeper/caretaker of these animals with the same brush. We also feel that his attendance did our part in helping fund the rehousing of the animals to other safe organizations.
Zoo camp was an amazing experience yet again! They rounded out the days nicely with animal experiences, crafts, splash pad time, making new friends and learning. They spent time learning! They learned about poaching, conservation or what different animals eat. The shapes of their teeth and why they are suited to different food types, how/which/why animals show aggression and what their habitat would be like in the wild. Like any experience you get out of it what you put in, but if they wanted to listen the information was presented. How do I know they learned this? My little zookeeper told me. On our parents night walk about the zoo he explained things. He looked at the animals and told us their names, some of their ages, and an interesting fact or few about them. He was so proud sharing his knowledge and eager to learn more. He came home with questions each night after he thought about things a little more… “Does a male kangaroo also have a pouch?” curiosity fielded by seeing a baby Joey in pouch at camp. Things we could look up and read about further or go back to camp and ask a keeper. Things to keep his mind questioning, young and inquisitive.
Bedtime stories are back to the animal books his Nanny bought him years ago. Last night he chose the Giraffes book, which he called the “book about Morgan” based on the giraffe named Morgan at the zoo. “Did you know when you call him he comes to you?” – we tried it at parents night and it worked! We weren’t even offering juicy vegetation or treats and were behind the safety barrier. You can imagine the smile on the little keepers face at this moment.
Animals are in my son’s heart. We attempted to watch Disney’s Dumbo years ago, and a few minutes in as the elephant was chained and thrashing he immediately turned it off and cried. It has never been put on again. He loves animals and has their well being in his heart. He isn’t a fan of those with outdoor cats in the urban areas as there are so many dangers. He truly cares.
I will continue to support his passion and provide him educational experiences and knowledge to continue to learn, conserve and educate others. When and if his dreams change we will still be supportive of his new desires. As parents I truly think we need to educate beyond the classroom and we are happy he had this experience. He was sad when he left on Friday knowing this zoo is closing but we promised we’d look for other opportunities of camp. Next year we are eyeing up Toronto Zoo camp for hopefully another great educative experience. If the passion to learn is there, we must provide the opportunity.
A new red eyed tree frog for his collection of species of stuffies!