Monday, October 20, 2014

Three Ways to See Animals Without a Zoo

Last week, my child wanted to see a turtle.  Our city, like many, does not have a zoo of its own.  We did see some turtles though! Traveling to the zoo is definitely worth the effort, but not an every day excursion. Here are three ways we can all make opportunities for our children to develop their love of nature by watching animals.

Hang out out of doors

If you have a yard of your own, pay attention to who shares it with you.  Consider adding habitat and food sources that will attract and support insects, birds, and other creatures of interest. The National Wildlife Federation has some good information on making your yard into a habitat. The turtle above actually showed up in our yard one Sunday.

Even if you do not have your own yard, you can sight animals in the wild. Find a quiet corner of the park and sit still and quiet for ten to twenty minutes.  Keep your eyes open as you ride down the trail.  You might be surprised at what creatures you can sight even in major cities.

Visit a Pet Shop

This is how we found turtles to watch last week.  The great home town business we visited actually keeps a few animals just for display.

Not for Pinning

We have visited several shops over the years, and staff have always seemed pleased to let children wander and gawk.

Watch videos on-line

When we lived in the Middle East we did not go anywhere much.  I would ask what my children wanted to learn and find videos about it.  If you are stuck in doors or want to see something particularly exotic, videos a great free way to watch animals from home.  National Geographic and Animal Planet have good You-tube channels, but be sure to do your own search too.  There are some fantastic amateur videos out there that give your child the opportunity to simply observe animals in their natural habitats.  

If we want children to take good care of nature, we must give them the opportunity to fall in love with it.  Simply making time to observe creates that opportunity.  How are you going to see some animals today?

You may also like:
How to Attract Butterflies: Finding the Question

Easy Windsock Project for Kids


  1. Very good reminders of free ways to see animals. We have a nature center nearby that allows viewing and interacting of animals as well. We are planning a trip to the zoo soon as well.

    1. Thanks! I like the small nature centers too! As far as I know we don't have one that is open on a regular basis, but our previous town, which was smaller did and it was great.

  2. I love turtles! We visit our local pet shop all the time to check out the animals - it's like a field trip! :)

    1. There is something especially intriguing about turtles. Maybe it's the shell?

  3. Great ideas! Thanks for sharing. I used to take my kids to the pet shop every week when they were young. It was a fun way to get out of the house. :)

    1. Getting out of the house is important in its own right sometimes.

  4. Super post - just what we need here in the UK as it is the school's half term holiday and our budget is stretched! Your post has been featured on this week's Frugal Family Linky :)


I can't wait to hear what you have to say! Thanks for sharing.