Saturday, May 21, 2011

Bronx Zoo Trip 2011

For the “big kids,” the fourth graders at our school, the most exciting thing they look forward to is the Annual Fourth Grade Bronx Zoo Trip. Parents start asking if they can chaperone for this special excursion in September. I was glad this year that I could invite all parents who had volunteered as chaperones! I was also fortunate to be able to invite my husband along.

This trip is a big deal. After lots of planning and fundraising, the big day arrived. With an iffy weather forecast, we left Southwick on four King Ward buses—over 200 students and chaperones! The one change we did make was our goal to leave fifteen minutes earlier—6:45 AM rather than 7:00 AM. Success! This put our actual departure at 7 AM whereas in the past we left closer to 7:15 AM.

Fifteen minutes may not seem like a big deal but it made a huge difference in our arrival time at the zoo. We got into the parking lot around 9:50 AM and zipped right into the zoo as the gates opened at 10:00 AM.

We headed straight to the Congo to view the gorillas. They did not disappoint. These creatures seem so human-like! One female was reclining casually on a log, watching us. The highlight for many children was the regurgitation habits of one particular gorilla—ew! Then we headed on down to the Wild Asia Monorail and JungleWorld.

Because it was a threatening, overcast day with a forecast of thunderstorms, there were hardly any people besides us at the zoo. It was great! The animals were more active and the lines were very short and quick moving.

While meandering along shady paths we watched animals and people, too. Why teenagers felt the need to screech like the peacocks or roar like lions, we didn’t know but we found it amusing and video worthy.

Animal babies are always cute and the babies at the Bronx Zoo are no exception. Maggie the giraffe, now a year old is getting big but still loves to play tag. She bonked the ostrich on its head and it got a bit agitated! We especially enjoyed watching the newly hatched crane baby and its parents being fed by a zoo keeper. It was so fuzzy!

Enrichment activities equal excitement! There’s primate training at the Monkey House, penguin feedings at the Sea Bird Aviary, sea lion checkups at Astor Court, and the Bee-eater Buffet at the World of Birds. The tiger enrichment was suspended this year. The sign said it was due to the presence of the cubs in the enclosure.

The Bronx Zoo is one of my favorite zoos, comparable to the San Diego Zoo, the Cincinnati Zoo, Busch Gardens Zoo, and the Lowry Park Zoo (Latter two zoos Tampa, FL). In general, the animals at the Bronx Zoo seemed happy and well cared for. The smelliest building was the Carter Giraffe Building. The air reeked so badly that it made my eyes water.

By 3 PM the zoo was almost deserted as the local schools bused backed home. Soon it was time to get back on our buses for the three hour return trip. The chaperones did a great job! We didn’t lose anyone and the students were very well behaved. I’m already looking forward to next year’s trip. I love to go wild!

What is your favorite zoo? Leave me a comment. I’d love to hear from you!

1 comment:

  1. As a kid who grew up in a small island, we had no Zoo... At the age of 7 (I think, my memory fails once in a while), we went to the Mayaguez Zoo.
    That was my first experience and all I remember was a big rhino and giraffes... to that point I had only seen them in books!
    As a grown up I have enjoyed visiting Zoos in United States, Australia and England, beautiful animals in all of them...
    If I was to say: "My favorite Zoo is_____", I would have to say that each one has a special place in my memory (when my memory doesn't fail!) and heart because of the people I shared the trip with... and recently it was the visit to the Bronx Zoo! It was great to share the day and view the animals and surroundings through the eyes of my fourth grader daughter and her friend. The bus trip was exceptional because I was able to spend some quality time with a very special teacher! ;)
    So! There! Today my favorite Zoo is The Bronx Zoo!
    Thanks for everything you do!
    Sincerely, MS