Lots to do at the zoo (Sundays until Feb. 22 and anytime)

January 21, 2009

It’s been an infirmary around here, complete with ear infections and respiratory viruses and stomach flu, plus a touch of pink eye, not to mention routine cuts and bruises. Once we’re all healthy again, we’re going to check out these activities at the zoo, because I’ve heard about them from multiple moms and a grandma, and I’m very curious to see them myself.

On winter Sundays, the zookeepers “walk” the penguins among passersby at 1:30 p.m. Not only can you see how they toddle along, you’ll also observe them observing you — pecking at your shoelaces, maybe, or trying to pick your purse. The walk happens outside the entrance to Penguin and Puffin Coast and lasts about 30 minutes. If the temperature is above 50 degrees (not a problem lately!) the penguins stay in their habitat. The final walk of the winter is scheduled for Feb. 22. For details, or to see the feeding schedules of penguins and other animals, check out the zoo’s Daily Schedules homepage.

No matter the weather, the ZOOmagination Station is open every day from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. for 45-minute time blocks during which young kids can get some hands-on time with habitats, costumes, water, puppets, feathers and more. The various exhibits are staffed by employees of the zoo’s education department, who’re there to offer as much (or as little) information about the scientific concepts behind each activity as your child wants.  My tipster tells me that her preschool son became so engaged in each area that, during two visits, they barely scraped the surface of the offerings.

Although ZOOmagination Station is open to all ages, it’s targeted to kids 9 and younger.  Timed tickets are required; they can be picked up (for free) at the entrance, in the upper floor of the Living World, starting at 9 a.m.  No more than four kids per adult are allowed, and the last admission is at 3 p.m. For details, call 314.646.4544.


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