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First Day of Zoo Camp
By: Brenda, Director of Education and Volunteers, Audubon Zoo
Wow, it’s finally here, the first day of zoo camp. We spend so many days planning this and never seem ready and then –here it is. Everyone is happy and sweaty-real sweaty. It is very hot today. Staff and campers will need to acclimate to the Louisiana heat, but I know it won’t take long. We had an easy day of rotating in the AC for animal encounters, library and art room.
I premiered my favorite new activity-the “Brenda Bee”. I painted a rock in the bright yellow and black of the bumble bee and each week I will hide it in the zoo in an exhibit. The camp group that finds it gets an ice cream party that week. Each day that it is not found I will give them a clue. The clue will correspond to the theme of the week. This week is Dinosaurs! The campers and counselors are so excited. They searched every inch of the Dinosaur Adventure and could not find it. (It's not there!) A tiny little camper came to my window and told me he was going to find that bee if he had to stay all night.
I know this will help get them out in the zoo more and that is my goal. Campers learn through osmosis here and you would be surprised what they pick by just walking by an exhibit. I also want the children to experience all the wonderful green space our zoo grounds have to offer. There are plenty of studies to show that green space supports healthy child development. Our campers walk through it, sit in it and play in it. On Mondays when the zoo is closed to the public the entire zoo is the campers “secret garden”.
Knock on wood-the day has gone well. There were plenty of sand toys, the water was cold, the animals thrilled them. Tonight I know all the campers, camp staff and education director will need a nice cool shower, a light dinner and we’ll all be sound asleep by 7:30. That’s a good day!