Thursday, June 6, 2013

Back at the zoo

      We were having, what had started out, as a perfect summer day.  While we never really stop learning, I officially consider us on summer vacation at this point.  I've recently discovered Duck Dynasty and just love this show.  The antics of the Robertson family crack me up and yet they seem like a really sweet, very close knit family so I don't mind the boys watching it either.  I was joking with the boys that you know when "school's out" when I allow them to watch TV in the morning and it doesn't have to be educational.  Then I stopped and really thought about it.  What a great social studies lesson.  Here they are learning about life in a Louisiana Bayou; these people hunt and live off the land, eat vastly different foods, and have a different "culture" from ours.  Hmm.. who knew such a fun show could be educational?
       At the last minute we decided to head out to the zoo.  The boys were extra happy when I let them bring some of their own money to buy a toy or stuffed animal.  Every now and then I love to give them the opportunity to learn a little real life money management.  We have a few trips planned in the next few weeks that I know they'll want money for and so I reminded them of that before they decided how much to bring today.  The weather was gorgeous and we hadn't been to the zoo in quite awhile so everyone was very excited.   I was a bit apprehensive when we arrived and heard that they were going to have 30 buses of kids there today; but honestly it wasn't that bad.  We managed to see all the animals (some a few times), watch a bird talk show, a new show called peacock party (since a group of peafowl is called a party--- did anyone else know that?), and one all about various animals in the Earth Conservation building.  We went on a train ride through the elk forest and got to hold a parakeet.  The boys got to pet ferrets, chinchillas, a snow corn snake, a hedgehog, and more.  We listened to the lioness growl at everyone and heard tapirs make little tooting sounds to one another.  We saw new animals too-- like two toed sloths!  The two younger boys brought their cameras and practiced taking pictures.   The zoo has long since been our favorite way to learn about animals and geography.  All three of my boys have become experts about animals.  Even Evan could tell you all about prehensile tails and the difference between apes and monkeys.   And yet, with as much as they know they learn more each time we go.  It's the best form of life learning!  I took so many pictures it was ridiculous!  Yet I was only able to upload a few so here they are:      

Evan taking pictures of the kangaroos
"Bamboo! Look mom they have Bamboo here"
The giant tortoise was walking and moving
The lion cubs have gotten so big and were awake and yawning.
Prairie dogs are Evan's favorite
turtles playing follow the leader
The lion was growling and even crouched down like she was going to pounce! 
The sloth is carrying a baby sloth! 
    We listened to Stuart Little in the car and compared what we were hearing to the movie that has long since been a favorite in our house.  I just love books on CD; especially the chapter books.  It is so quiet in my car that you can hear a pin drop while the books are playing.  They all get so engrossed in listening that no one fights or complains.  I keep thinking I'd like to take a break from the audiobooks and play other car games but I'm reluctant to give up my peace and quiet.  We used to play all sorts of fun learning games and I have tons of trivia type car games we could bring with us but they inevitably lead to arguments and fighting.  As much as I miss our car games, I figure more exposure to literature is never a bad thing, especially when it also contributes to my sanity!


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