Visit an Insect Zoo
Episode 1 of Magic Adventures features the activity of visiting an insect zoo. This guide applies to insect zoos and traditional zoos. Use this guide for tips on how to get the most out of your visit.
Step By Step
Locate Insect Zoos by Searching the Web
We found listings for more than 20 butterfly zoos across the U.S. While many of these zoos are similar, most are independently operated, so you will have to find out what is available in your local area. A great way to do this is by searching the web. Search for the term “butterfly zoo” or "insect zoo". See the "More Help" section below for links to Insect Zoos.
Budget for Admission, Lunch and the Gift Shop
Expect to spend between $30 and $35 on admission for a family of four. Other expenses may include dinning at the zoo and visiting the gift shop. To keep costs under control, consider bringing a sack lunch and having a picnic outside after visiting the zoo. And while avoiding the gift shop may be your plan, remember that many zoos strategically place the gift shop in your path of travel. Consider having your kids earn money ahead of time by doing some extra chores around the house. That way, they will appreciate what it took to earn their money. This is a great concept for kids to learn. It allows them to understand the choices that must be made in managing money and it will show them a direct tie between the hard work they have performed and the benefit of that work. In some cases, your kids may even choose to save their hard earned dollars for another purchase that is more meaningful to them.
Plan for 2 to 8 Hours Depending on the Size of the Zoo
There is a lot to see, so plan on spending between one and two hours to cover a smaller butterfly or insect zoo. In larger zoos, you can easily spend an entire day and still not see everything so set a time limit and just accept that you may not be able to see all of the exhibits in one visit.
Bring the Right Gear
In smaller insect and butterfly zoos, strollers may be difficult to maneuver in the tight spaces so consider making your visit shorter and letting your kids walk a bit more. In larger zoos though, a stroller or wagon can be a life saver with younger kids. If the zoo is outdoors, consider bringing an umbrella on sunny days to shield your little ones from the sun. Above all, bring sun screen and be sure everyone drinks plenty of water.
Create Learning Games Before You Visit
You will get the most out of your adventure by learning about the creatures you are visiting. While adults will enjoy reading all of the informational plaques at the exhibits, younger kids may have a harder time staying interested. Try making a game out of the learning process by creating a treasure map for the zoo. Ask your kids to find a nocturnal creature or an insect that glows in the dark. For younger kids, copy photos of the insects or animals onto a page and have the kids check them off as they find them. By doing research on the zoo’s web site before you go, it’s possible to create a great learning game.
Use Navigation Duties to Teach Courage and Independence
Zoos are also a great place to allow your little ones to exercise some independence by putting them in charge of navigation. Show them how the map represents the zoo and then let them blaze the trail for your family. They might find this responsibility a bit scary at first, but most will love being in charge. This is a great opportunity for kids to show some courage without the pressure of having to be correct. After all, no matter where you end up, there is always something fun to see at the zoo. This simple exercise can boost kids' confidence and it is a great opportunity for you to show that no matter where they lead you, you are proud of their effort and hard work guiding the family.
Consider an Artistic Activity
For older kids, try bringing along a sketch pad, digital camera or even a cell phone camera. Allow your kids to find a scene they want to sketch or photograph. Not only will this make the trip more special, but you can create a great souvenir of the trip for your memory book. Keep in mind that while any camera will work, digital cameras are much more economical with kids since they are likely to take lots and lots of pictures.
Research Educational Classes Before Visiting
Many zoos offer educational classes that are not always advertised. Check with the zoo to see what is available. These classes often give you access to the behind the scenes workings of the zoo and can make your trip extra special.