Stuck for ideas on what to do with the kids for a fun day out? What about a day out at the zoo?

The UK has more zoological gardens than any other European country but some of these are specialized such as butterfly centres, wildfowl sanctuaries and wildlife parks.  There are also city farms and petting zoos in many parts of the UK, so finding somewhere animal-centred to visit with the kids shouldn’t be too difficult wherever you live.

Most of the animal centres and zoos will be geared to attract families and have plenty for the children to do.  A visit to see animals or birds or fish is always an opportunity for education.  It’s a chance to discuss animals from other countries:

  • What sort of environment do they normally live in?
  • What do they eat? How do they find their food?
  • What sort of plants and trees grow there?
  • Where do they find water?
  • Do they build nests? Where do they sleep?
  • How many young do they have and how do they look after them?
  • What other animals live in the same areas? Do the creatures live side by side peacefully or is one a predator and the other prey?

These are all questions that can be used to promote lively discussion of the animals that you see.  It will help your children to learn about animals and the wider world around them, giving them a broad knowledge of life on this planet.

If you’re visiting a city farm type of attraction, this is a great moment to start teaching the children about where the food that you eat comes from.  It’s difficult nowadays to show children where their food comes from.  Vegetables, fruit, meat, milk, eggs, and cheeses – we usually buy all these fresh goods in the supermarket where they are presented to us ready wrapped on shelves and in fridges.  Showing your children where food really comes from, the work involved and the length of time it takes to produce can make them more thoughtful about what they eat.  It’s also a great way of promoting healthy eating.

Whether it’s a zoo, a farm, a butterfly house or a sea life centre, taking the children to see animals is always a winner!  It’s fun, it’s interesting, it’s educational and it makes for a great day out for the whole family.

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