I accompanied my friend and her children to the Sacramento Zoo on a quiet afternoon. Watching the kids wander through the zoo in amazement was such a unique and inspiring opportunity. With animals from all over the world including Africa, Asia, Australia, and the Americas the children were learning about species they didn’t even know existed. Experiencing the zoo from a child’s view was refreshing and entertaining. The zoo’s mission statement: “the Sacramento Zoo inspires appreciation, respect and a connection with wildlife and nature through education, recreation and conservation” matched perfectly with our time at the zoo. Keeping up with the children while zigzagging through the zoo from exhibit to exhibit, kept me on the run for hours.
The children were particularly interested in the giraffes. For just $2 they each got to get up close and personal with a giraffe at the Tall Wonders Viewing Deck to feed leaves to a giraffe. After the interactive feeding experience, the children asked what seemed like hundreds of insightful questions. Most of our time at the zoo was spent with the kids interrogating the zoo keepers at the giraffe exhibit. Their endless questions kept the zoo staff on their toes. One of my favorite questions one of the children asked was: how many species of giraffes are there? The answer: nine different species of giraffes.
Other questions included:
How many leaves does a giraffe eat in a day and what is their favorite kind of leaf?
What is their favorite kind of food?
Why do giraffes have humps on the top of their head?
How tall to giraffes get?
Where do they sleep?
How many babies do they have at a time?
I loved watching their curious eyes light up as their questions were answered. If only we all still possessed that child-like-wonder we once had when we were young and naïve. The kids were also amazed by the zebras, primates, tropical birds, flamingos, and of course the lion, tiger, and jaguar oh my! While walking through the Australian Outback, the kids were delighted to see the wallabies sleeping lazily in the warm afternoon sun. A trip to the zoo is not complete without ice cream at the Kampala Café. With over 50 different animal exhibits, the Sacramento Zoo is the perfect place to visit on a slow weekday afternoon; it was as if we had the zoo to ourselves. What a perfect day at the zoo!
Definition of BIODIVERSITY HOTSPOT:
“A region with significant animal and plant life that is threatened by humans. In order to qualify as a HotSpot, a habitat must be home to at least 1,500 plant species (that are found nowhere else), and at least 70% of the habitat must already have disappeared. There are 34 unique HotSpots on earth; together they support 60% of the world’s plant, mammal, bird, reptile and amphibian species!”
Our world’s HotSpots are fragile, unique, and disappearing.
-From the Sacramento Zoo brochure
Most of the animals at the Sacramento zoo are native to nine regional HotSpots: Horn of Africa, Sanaga River, Himalayas, Sumatra, Islands, Mallee, California, Mesoamerica, and Sierra Madre. The Sacramento Zoo is the perfect place to tickle a child’s wonder and curiosity.
3930 West Land Park Drive
Sacramento, CA, 95822-1123
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*Media coverage for the Sacramento Zoo