|Zoos are for children. Everyone knows that, so why do the kids get bored? Often parents have gone to great effort to plan the day. Travel to the zoo might be a couple of hours and a few different buses. If you're "going to the zoo" you should let the kids take the lead. Don't try to see everything. Bring some simple toys. Play catch, read a book about animals, or make up names for the animals.
Zoos are sized to keep adults safe. Kids often have poor views of the animals. When they do get a good look, the animals aren't doing anything. I can remember a happy hour at the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago, sitting on the walkway with my parents watching a group of chipmunks scurry around hiding peanuts. We might have been near the elephants, but I don't remember them. I remember the chipmunks. And I remember my parents sitting on a sidewalk.
The Beijing Zoo and others now have Children's Zoos or Petting Zoos to help children enjoy the day. To make it work, the kids have to set the pace. Kids find the most interesting things boring and the oddest things interesting. But then, they think the same of us.
Last update: November 2009
© Marilyn Shea, 2009