ZOO TO YOU: Zoo offering winter break camps

12/13/2013

In just a few short days, all the schools will close and the students will cheer as they enjoy their two-week winter break. The parents of said children may not be cheering, as they know from experience that the time off plus cold weather usually equals bored kids with ants in their pants.

In just a few short days, all the schools will close and the students will cheer as they enjoy their two-week winter break. The parents of said children may not be cheering, as they know from experience that the time off plus cold weather usually equals bored kids with ants in their pants.

So if your little monkeys are likely to suffer from cabin fever, the zoo has a solution for you! This year we will be offering two new winter break camps. It is the perfect opportunity to get your child off the couch and out of the house to experience a winter break like they never have before.

What do animals do when the temperature drops? Our first camp, "Brr! It's Cold Outside!" on Dec. 30 and 31 will focus on the folk story "The Mitten" and also discuss different ways animals survive cold weather. We will migrate like geese, build shelters, and learn how thick coats and hibernation help animals to survive the winter season. By playing games, making crafts and interacting with our zoo animals, campers will go home with an understanding that each animal faces the challenges of extreme conditions in their own unique way.

Some may think the crisp winter landscape of Kansas seems bare compared to the vibrant greens of summertime. Guess again! There are many animals outside right now that are active and managing just fine in the good ol' Kansas winter. Animals of our lovely state not only have to adjust to hot weather in summer, but freezing temperatures in winter. Our second camp, "Our Winter Wonderland," will take a closer look at the wonders of our own backyard. We will explore which animals are still around in winter and how we can give our furry and feathered friends a hand when the wind blows and the snow falls.

Both camps run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and include a mid-morning snack, but campers are asked to bring their own sack lunch. Camps are open for students who are currently in first to fifth grades. We will be outside each day, come rain, snow or shine, so campers need to be dressed for the weather, and layers are highly encouraged. Cost is $40 per camp ($35 for Friends of Lee Richardson Zoo members) and needs to be paid in advance to hold your spot. Please contact the zoo at 276-1250 or visit our website at www.leerichardsonzoo.org for more information.

Even if you are unable to attend camp, make sure to bundle up and get outside despite the chill in the air. Kansas is a beautiful, vibrant state, even in the middle of a cold winter, and what better way to experience the wonders that the outdoors has to offer than to visit the zoo? The zoo is open at 8 a.m., and the front gates close at 4:30 p.m. through the holiday season (we are closed Christmas and New Year's Day). Vehicles may enter between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. daily.

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