We went to the zoo today! Animals in winter.
First....it's always a good idea to call ahead to make sure that what you want to see is actually there. We were there to see animals in winter, and also intended to see the polar bear and the penguins since they are animals that live in polar regions. Yeah...apparently the polar bear left the zoo a year ago and was not replaced....and the penguins exhibit is being renovated. Doh! We did get to see other animals, and got to talk about some of the animals that were NOT out, specifically because of the cold.
Second...the best part was there was NO ONE there. We walked into the oceans area and they have a "pet a shark" exhibit. We have been there in the past but there are usually so many kids kids and people in the area that I have to keep the kids "on a tight leash" so to speak, so that I don't lose one in the sea of kids. That can make it difficult for them to actually get to the shark pool. Today....it was totally empty. They could go to where the sharks were surfacing instead of waiting to try to see if the sharks would come to them. Plus there was a zoo employee there and with no one else there the employee was only too happy to answer all my kids questions. With the language issues DD7 has, it can take some time and patience to have a conversation with her...which this employee had plenty of both of.
Third, compared to a regular school field trip they are SO MUCH easier. I have done many a regular school field trip, both as a parent volunteer and a teacher. So much of a regular school field trip is spent on kid wrangling. "Cody don't touch that! Kayla, get down! Baylee, the lady is talking, you need to pay attention to her. Cody, I said don't touch that!" It makes it very difficult ensure the kids actually achieve the objective of the trip. With just my 3 kids and I, there's still a little bit of kid wrangling, but SO much less and it's much easier to discuss the reasons we are there.
And finally, being on our own timetable was great.
We need to do more field trips lol.