Zoo-topia? Zoo-mazing!

Sometimes we get the chance to do something as a family that is memory-making. Sure, we’re supposed to strive for that all the time, but how often is it that we’re just trying to occupy the hours of a weekend, keeping the kids from whining the whole time.

This weekend was one of those special weekends. A while back I signed us up for the Bronx Zoo Family Overnight Safari.

It’s one of my bucket list activities. And it was worth every penny.

We arrived in the late afternoon, as the daily visitors were just leaving. Checked in with the organizers and were given a packet of information and were directed where to pitch our tent. Once we were set up, we could go to the starting point.

It was easy enough to get our tent and sleeping gear ready for the night. The kids spent their time getting to know neighbors (Ben) and leaning against a tree, reading (Claire.) Once the gear was ready, we headed over to the picnic area.

Insert photo of Ben in tent

Opening the envelope, I found four buttons with our names and the animal that represented our team for the duration of the event. We were armadillos! There was also a schedule for the team for the evening, and a passport of sorts.

(I have pictures I want to add, but technological issues are keeping them safe, ON MY PHONE.)

Once the groups finished dinner and broke into their groups, the fun began.
At each location, we had certain tasks to complete on our way to becoming “Zoofari Adventurers”

We went to the reptile house, where the kids’ made terrariums of their favorite habitat. We learned about field research and helped a team of researchers hunt for poachers, while riding the zoo’s tram. We helped a team identify animals with a night vision camera. Claire loved this part, since it involved some of the kids dressing up as their favorite animals. We also attempted to mimic owl cries and hunt for bats in the evening sky.

For me, the highlight of the evening was the portion where we went to a classroom and learned more about identifying animals from the clues they might leave behind. It wasn’t the lesson that was important, but the animals that we got to meet. We met a pair of juvenile penguins! And got to pet a baby American alligator and were introduced to Callisto, the two-toed sloth.

(This is supposed to be a picture of penguins, damn it.)

Once the tour portion of the evening was over, the whole group met up for a snack and a sing-along. Then it was off to bed. The only blip in the evening was the location of our tent, which was directly under one of the bright white street lamps. Which stay on all. The. Damn. Night. Long.

Dave was able to wrap our tent in a tarp to soften the light a little, but we were all so tired, I don’t think it would have mattered either way.

I was awake with the sun, early the next morning. The Bronx Zoo has a healthy population of birds - roosters and peacocks especially - that like to make a huge fuss in the morning. Still, it was nice to lie in my warm sleeping bag and feel the world around me. I love waking up next to my kids like that. Ben was burrowed so deeply that only the barest wisps of his curls peeked out. Claire was so snuggled in she was all but invisible.

Once we were awake, we packed up our gear and headed to breakfast. Afterwards, there were a few more events we had to complete in order to finish our “graduation.”

I’m so glad we had the chance to make these memories with our kids.

Insert picture of t-shrt?

#bxovernight #makememories #familystrong #familyfuntimes


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