Animals

Rosamond Gifford Zoo in Syracuse, New York

We took a short family trip to the Finger Lakes in New York. During our visit, we had some cold, windy weather so one of the days we decided to take an adventure away from the lake. We took advantage of our Cleveland MetroParks Zoo reciprocal membership and went to the Rosamond Gifford Zoo. We were so glad we made the trip!

This was a GREAT zoo. It was the perfect place to visit with small children because it isn’t too big or too small. It was also felt very clean and updated! My children enjoyed riding in the wagon that resembled a Safari jeep. It was only $7 for the whole day and it was well worth it (see image above).

There is an indoor aquarium, nocturnal exhibits, reptile exhibits, bird house and several other exhibits inside that we took advantage of. The aquarium is home to several marine life like octopus, starfish and other fish. The aquarium tanks were kept very clean which allowed us to enjoy the beautiful collection of marine life.

In the reptile area, it was fun seeing the snakes and iguana as well as other animals held in the exhibit. The bird house is a very large space, home to several large and small birds. My youngest daughter specifically loved the ducks. My kids enjoyed searching for the animals in the nocturnal exhibit – the porcupine came right up to the glass and stood up to look out as us. Other exhibits indoors held lemurs, various monkeys, otters and an absolutely beautiful leopard which was literally inches away from us.

Outdoors, the exhibits were also very clean for the animals and absolutely beautiful. It was relatively easy for my children to spot the animals without much help. The majority of the exhibits allow guests to get up close and personal with the animals so it is easy to spot them.

I personally learned quite a bit about Tigers’s at their exhibit during our visit. There are very few left in the wild and the sad reasons that they are disappearing and almost extinct. We need to do more a society to save these beautiful animals. See some the information about the tigers below.

They are currently reconstructing their elephant exhibit. Once complete, it will serve as a gigantic resort for the elephants. The zoo added several beautiful viewing balconies to allow guests to get as close as possible within a save distance from the elephants.

We ate lunch at the zoo Jungle Cafe and we felt the selections were great and prices were reasonable. Unfortunately, I did not get a photo but all prepared food is nut allergen free.

Towards the end, we were able to feed the ducks for 50 cents. My girls LOVED watching the ducks swim towards them and quack for food. When we turned in our wagon at the end of the day, I saw the staff immediately begin cleaning the wagon – what a wonderful sense that the staff take great care and pride in not only the cleanliness of the zoo but also in the items that enrich their guests experiences.

We would definitely recommend this zoo to anyone that visits this area. It was only a 40 minute drive for us from the lake house we were staying at in the Finger Lakes. Zoo’s are great places for children to learn about animals, view them up-close and appreciate them.

Have you visited this zoo? What zoo’s are your favorites? Let me know at momgineeringthefuture@gmail.com.

Animals, Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, Cleveland Zoological Society, Nature

Check out the Veterinary Procedures at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo

On November 5, 2018, we visited the Cleveland Metro parks Zoo and we spent some time in the Sarah Allison Steffee Center for Zoological Medicine.

 

I would consider this somewhat a ‘hidden gem’ inside the Cleveland Zoo.  It is nestled back behind the Rising Waters Safari Camp, just past the Rhino exhibit and building.  On most of our visits to the zoo, we either spend very minimal time in this building or we’ve skipped it.  Since it was a little chillier outside, we decided to spend a bit more time exploring this building and it was well worth it!

According to the Cleveland Zoological Society, the center is “dedicated to the diagnosis, treatment and surgical procedures, has a radiology lab, clinical labs an endocrinology lab and a pharmacy.”  And actually, the site map inside the facility shows that their is much more to this facility than the typical visitor actually gets to see.

20181105_105533-e1541457439873.jpg

This center walks through the care of animals from birth to end of life.  Along the way, there are interactive activities for kids, for example, filling crates with the appropriate meal items for various animals and a diagnostic challenge.  The diagnostic challenge steps you through the process of determining what is wrong with an animal and the diagnostic tools that a veterinarian might use to determine it.  My 3 year old especially loved these areas.  She loved pretending to care for the animals and prepare their food for the day and she also loved pretending she was a veterinarian problem solving why the animal was sick.

The absolute best part of this center for visitors is being able to see scientists provide veterinary services to the animals.  There are 4 rooms visible to guests – 3 surgical / procedural rooms and 1 imaging room (i.e. for x-rays).

We were lucky and a procedure was schedule that day at 11:30am.  We were able to observe the veterinary staff provide health services to a scarlet macaw.  This was extremely fun.  We saw the animal put under anesthesia and the veterinary staff check it’s heart, feathers, skin, talons, and beak.  They also took some x-rays of the bird.  The veterinary staff briefly brought the animal up to the window for everyone to see it up close also.

My understanding is that a veterinary procedure could be happening at any point depending on the needs of the zoo, however I did speak to another zoo member that day and she has observed many procedures there.  She mentioned that the procedures typically occur around 11:30 am or 2pm each day.  This particular one was at 11:30am.

So, if you are there, you might want to check out the center around those times of day!  This was such a great experience for children.  My daughters were able to compare their doctors appointments to what was happening to the animal.  My daughter had questions about why the scarlet macaw had to go under anesthesia for a simple procedure, while she did not for her doctor appointments.  She was also able to make the connection to some of the interactive exhibits in the center.

I am a member of the Cleveland Metro parks Zoo but I have no other affiliation with them.  I was not asked to provide this review and I did not talk directly with any member of the zoo about this blog post.  All opinions and viewpoints in this post are 100% my own.

Have you seen this type of procedure at the zoo near you?  Which zoo?  What other uniques experiences have your children had at the zoo you’ve attended to help introduce various STEM fields to them?  Let me know in the comments or at momgineeringthefuture@gmail.com.

Signature

Fairy Garden, Nature

Coining a new phrase: Fairy God-Momgineering!

OHIO.  Rolling hills with gorgeous tree line views, rivers, lakes, creeks, beaches, ponds, gorges, waterfalls, farmland, marsh, etc.  The landscape here is beautiful and there are plenty of park systems with scientists, naturalists, biologists, zoologists, botanists, geologists, architects, ecologists and engineers that ensure that the beauty of OHIO is preserved for us to enjoy.

IMG_20180916_144735 cropped
Fairy house at Holden Arboretum in Kirtland, Ohio

In our family, we do our best to spend as much time outdoors as we can.

Recently we went to our local arboretum and stopped by the Children’s Nature Play Area.  This area has climbing ropes, a reading area, balance beams, a small zip line and an area to watch birds, squirrels and chipmunks feed from the feeders.

But what was most exciting for the girls was a recently added Fairy Garden. They played with it for more than an hour before we had to bribe them to go.  So, that’s where the idea for our next family project began…

This winter, we will be building a fairy garden for our yard.

There are many fun elements to this project that incorporate aspects of STEAM (I’ll be starting to add the Arts portion to many of our projects too)!  Most of our materials will be found in nature or scrap that we have – other than some items we may need for attaching (like glue, nails, etc.).

Using items from nature will allow us to:

  • Identify trees / plants and their attributes for building,
  • Identify types of fruit / nuts various trees / plants produce,
  • Identify other items in nature that can be used for building / decorating,
  • Use our creativity and
  • Study actual structures out in the real world.  For example, go look at the structural aspects of a bridge – what holds it up?

In the words of William Wordsworth, we will try to “let nature be (our) teacher”.

This entire project will be a great introduction to many disciplines in the STEAM fields.  Key ones that come to mind for this project are Structural or Civil Engineer, Materials Engineer, Mechanical Engineer, Safety Engineer, Naturalist / Biologist, Botanist, Geologist, Architect and possibly even Ecology.

I fully expect that as parents of two young children, we may be doing much of the work, but it will be incredibly worth every ounce of energy considering the tremendous amount of education and confidence that this will provide them.  And the final result will be so much FUN!

20180930_124111.jpg
Our first bucket of nature materials

Over the next several weeks / months, we will be collecting nature materials to use (started this weekend), taking photos of various structures that we want to build, planning our builds and finally, building several pieces and problem solving any (hopefully minimal) failures.

I will share each of the pieces in this blog – how they were made, what we would do differently and hopefully we will inspire some of you to do something similar!  Feel free to submit ideas that you have or items you think belong in a Fairy Garden – let me be your Fairy God-Momgineer (HAHA!) and bring these ideas to life! 

I am also SO excited to see the kids ideas come to life too.  Maria Montessori once said, “A child, more than anyone else, is a spontaneous observer of nature.”

All ideas in this post, as always, are my own.  Please reach out to me below in the comments or at momgineeringthefuture@gmail.com if you have any additional comments, ideas or suggestions for our fairy garden.  I’d love to hear them!

And if you love this blog, PLEASE share it with family, friends, colleagues, etc. that you think would love it too.

Signature