Kids of all ages – and quite a few grownups – enjoy meeting the local wildlife, and summer is a fantastic opportunity to get up close and personal with some furry four-legged friends. An afternoon at the zoo or a walk through a nearby preserve not only gives everyone a chance to see the animals, but is a good time to teach your children about nature as well. It is also a nice getaway from the homestead to see other animals (and not have to take care of them yourself!)
- Enjoy an Afternoon at the Petting Zoo
The petting zoo is a fun place to take kids of all ages. Being able to pet and feel the animals is one of the draws. Even if you have animals already on your own homestead, kids love seeing different varieties in other places. Little ones especially love it because many of the animals are so small they’re kid sized. Some of the animals you’ll find are:
- Pygmy Goats
- Miniature Horses
- Potbellied Pigs or Micro Pigs
2. Visit a Local Farm
Take your family on a tour of a farm in your area. Many local farms welcome a chance to show off what they do to bring food to your table. Maybe they’re growing something unusual that you didn’t even know you could grow in your area. Or maybe they have an unusual breed of a typical farm animal that just might inspire you to try something different.
You might get to milk a cow, collect eggs or feed the chickens or some other “chore” that you haven’t yet mastered on your own homestead. Some even have patches of pick your own product so you can show your children where fruits and veggies come from (If they don’t already know).
3. Discover a Fish Hatchery
The fish hatchery is an interesting place to see how fish, crustaceans and shellfish are bred, hatched and reared through the early life cycles.
Many times they offer catch-and-release programs for children to see what it’s like to go fishing for the first time. Many fish hatcheries offer tours and sometimes have large events, such as a salmon festival to celebrate the salmon spawning season.
4. Stroll Through a Nature Preserve
Going to any nature preserve can be a whole lot of fun and educational at the same time. Many preserves cater to different things – some are for wildlife, plant life, geology or any combination of those.
You can stroll through to see nature relatively undisturbed and the wildlife roaming freely within the preserves borders. Nature in all its wonder! There are many wildlife specific preserves you can drive through as well, such as a bison range, a wild horse range or a bear preserve.
This is an activity probably best suited for older kids, as the wildlife you encounter will likely shy away from a noisy crowd. Not only that, but a bit of patience is often needed to spot elusive animals in the wild.
5. Spend the Day at the Aquarium
Going to the aquarium is one activity your child is sure to remember since we don’t see marine creatures every day. There are so many types of colorful fish, eels, lobsters, crabs, otters, turtles, sea lions and that’s just for starters. The aquarium is chock full of interesting creatures to let your little ones inspect.
Many aquariums offer touch tanks filled with marine life your children can touch, feel and sometimes pick up. Things like sea cucumbers, hermit crabs, and even octopus.
Getting out and exploring new places with different types of animals is something your children will enjoy and help will foster a love for nature and wildlife.
No matter where you live, chances are you’ll find several places nearby where you can see both domestic and wild animals. Not only will the kids have the opportunity to see local – or even exotic – wildlife up close, but the time spent outdoors is a healthy alternative to indoor games and television and provides a nice day trip destination after all the homestead chores are finished.