Learning About Big Cats at the Zoo

The two older boys have been signed up for a junior zoo keeping class at Southwick's zoo for quite some time.

Today's theme was big cats.

Before leaving for the zoo we watched the documentary African Cats by Disney Nature to prepare the boys for their day today.

It was a wonderful documentary that followed both a cheetah mom and a lion pride through a year's journey.  We had downloaded a kindle book called African Cats by Disney Nature that was all about Sita the cheetah a while back when headed to the doctors office one day, so they had quite a background on the movie already.

African Cats: Sita the Cheetah (Disneynature African Cats) by [Disney Book Group]

They all sat enraptured for the 90 minute movie. 

By the time we left the house this morning the boys were so excited they could hardly contain themselves!  I was just hoping the class would live up to their expectations and that they'd learn a lot more about the big cats.

We ended up staying at the zoo the whole day and closed it out yet again.

The class started 30 min before the zoo opened so Evan and I stayed in the car and read a ton of his little Batman books.

It was nice that we got to walk around the zoo for over an hour just the two of us and I found out Evan knows Africa and Australia on the map.  He also knows all the lemurs at the zoo are from Madagascar.   He knew quite a few animal facts too!

Once we picked up the boys, who were all full of "big cats" facts, we ate lunch and saw the bird show.  Then we walked around the zoo reading signs and managed to see three new animals.  

We also went into the bird sanctuary and fed some parakeets; yet something else we'd never done.  The boys just loved it too.  

We sat through another animal encounter show and learned about armadillos, macaws, binturongs, blue tonged skinks, and boa constrictors. We were thrilled to realize it was a different show than the last time.  

He's holding the armadillo 
They try really hard to have different animals in their talks and once the show was done we went into the Earth ltd. building and pet the skink, a tortoise, the binturong, a hissing cockroach and the boa constrictor. 

The boys learned so much too.  

  • Ian learned that if you shave a male lion of his mane he will not be able to have children
  • A lions roars can reach REALLY far away like from the exhibit to the far side of the parking lot
  • A  three banded armadillo can roll up into a complete and total sphere
  • There really is real life applications to multiplication (which Ian tried to convince this morning was pointless) then he tried to figure out how many rides he and his three brothers could go on if we only had 18 tickets.... "6 tickets each right mom?  So that's three rides!"  
  • Alec learned that a parakeet's beak is sharp enough to hurt if they bite you instead of their food (luckily no bloodshed was involved or he wouldn't have continued to feed them)
  • A binturong (also known as a bear cat) likes to swim and leaves a scent trail that smells like buttered popcorn
  • Not all armadillos can roll up into a complete ball
  • Leopards are very fast too (just not as fast as a cheetah). 

It was a wonderful day at the zoo filled with learning opportunities galore!


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