Zoocation to You: Animal Encounters at Home
One of our favorite things here at Animal Attraction Wildlife Learning Center is when children (and adults too!) are able to have up close and personal interactions with one of our animal ambassadors. Many of your favorites like Sid the sloth, Joker and Harley the american alligators, or King Tutt the ball python enjoy this time as well. So while your school, group, or family may not be able to visit us, we still wanted them to be able to share an experience with you. So today, we’re going to help you create an animal experience you can enjoy at home.
Zoocation – Home Edition
What you’ll need: Stuffed animal or a cooperative family pet. Tablet, smart phone, or laptop.
Time: 5-15 minutes per child
Ages: 24 months to 8 years old
Gather up some of your child’s stuffed animals. We use the actual animals here at Alligator Attraction Wildlife Learning Center, but you can use stuffed animals, toy animals, or even a picture of an animal they’ve drawn.
Next, you’ll need an audience. This can be other family members, or even a grandparent via FaceTime, Skype, or Zoom. If they aren’t available, get creative and have your children put together an audience of items from around the house. Dolls, action figures, pillows, plants, and other items are always a great audience!
Now, ask your animal handler to tell you a story about the animal they are holding. This can be a story they know or they can make one up. Those are some of our favorites! If they’re an animal enthusiast, have them tell you some things they know about that type of animal or they can answer questions from their audience.
Now it’s your turn. Tell a story about the animal, maybe even the one they will see after you are done. This is a great time to get them interested so move around like the animal, sing or play a song about them like “Itsy, Bitsy Spider” or “Crocodile Rock”, or imitate the sound the animal makes.
After a story, we like to have our visitors meet an actual animal. If they are willing to participate, this is a great time to share a pet with your audience. Even at our attraction, sometimes our animals may not want to participate. If so, we always respect them and choose a different animal. Your pet may feel the same, so another option is to choose one of the following videos that can introduce an animal to your group.
If you use your pet, this is a great way to practice safe touching using one or two “science fingers” on the back; never near the face! Then after you’re done, just like at Alligator Attraction Wildlife Learning Center, make sure we use hand sanitizer and wash your hands before eating.
For older children: Reading a story about an animal aloud is something we love to do during a Zoocation! This is a great way for older children to practice their reading skills when it’s their turn to share a story.
If you have a chance, send us a copy of your Zoocation at Home. We would love to see them!