We push past the wrought iron gates and enter the park. My kids are brimming with excitement as they start to point in all different directions, debating on where to go first. I notice parents trotting after their little ones who have started to make their way across the grassy knoll to a lookout platform. An earthy mineral smell with a hint of popcorn tinges my nose. Everything turns to slow motion as I’m struck with the most vivid memory from my own childhood: standing in front of a cage holding my Mom’s hand watching 2 Tigers frolic in the water together. I was just around 7 and it was the first time in my life I realized that animals had feelings, and friends, and (although I most certainly didn’t use this term at the time) a hierarchy of needs. In that moment I understood that animals were real, not just fun toys to play with or watch on a screen. They had a place in this world. I felt my 3 year old’s old grab mine and his little voice shout “Come on Mommy let’s go see the ‘raffe!” I shook my head at the memory to help bring me back to the present. Now, I was just as eager as my 3 and 5 year old to spend the day at the Franklin Park Zoo.
As we walk past the grazing Zebra to our right I notice there is an entirely new section called “Nature’s Neighborhoods: The George Robert White Fund Children’s Zoo.” It features a bamboo climber, an accessible eagles nest built into an oak tree, a prairie dog pop-up encounter, a grasslands maze, and an aviary. We could have spent the entire morning in this part.
I still, to this day, maintain that the Franklin Park Zoo features the best playground in the city of Boston. (It’s worth a membership here just to be able to use it!)
My kids and I have a couple of favorite animals at the Zoo. The gorillas always make us laugh. Weeks after our visit my 3 year old son reminded me of the time we spied on the baby gorilla picking his nose and eating it. That kind of thing just never leaves a little boy’s memory bank.
My 5 year old daughter could stare at the giraffes for an hour. There is something so majestic about them. They look other-wordly in the most awesome of ways. We never miss sitting in the Jeep to get an up close and personal look at the Lions and the camel always inspires a loud rendition of “TWO HUMPS!”
There are so many reasons to bring your children to a Zoo, and most importantly a Zoo that respects and educates the importance of wildlife conservation like Zoo New England. For one, it reinforces the idea of care. At any given stop at Zoo New England’s 2 zoo’s – Franklin Park Zoo or the Stone Zoo- you’ll find animal caretakers (the employees responsible for the wellbeing of the animals) raking and cleaning animal exhibits, feeding their animals, and ensuring their general wellbeing. They will learn at an early age the impact a human can have on an animal. Zoos offer new sights, sounds, and textures than our children are exposed to in their everyday lives. A Zoo can foster new conversation, spark curiosity, discovery, and develop new brain patterns. Walk around a Zoo for the day and watch how much more energized you are than after walking around a Mall. I love the time I spend at the Zoo with my kids. Zoo New England will always hold a special place in our hearts.
In my last post I talked about non-traditional, non-tangible holiday gifts that build memories, promote quality time with loved ones, and that invest in someone’s future. I can’t think of a more perfect gift that does all 3 than a local Zoo membership.
Head over to the Misadventures in Mommyhood Facebook page to enter. Tell us who you would take to the Zoo to make your experience more memorable and you could win two Zoo New England Wild Gift Prize Packs—one for yourself and one to give to a friend! Each prize pack includes a Family membership plus two tickets to ZooLights, Stone Zoo’s annual holiday light festival. (For an alternate way to enter, click here)
PSST: There is a holiday special running right now on membership. Don’t miss out on the discounts. Save $15 off a Family Plus membership or $11 off a Family membership! Find more information here: