April 28, 2011

Overnight Zoo Field Trip

So yeah, I spent the night at the Altanta Zoo Tuesday night as a chaperone for my daughter's 2nd grade class field trip.  But it's a big school.  There are nine 2nd grade classes.  Three of them went Tuesday night and the rest were doing it Wednesday.

It was wonderful and crazy.  So you get there, dump you stuff in this big room, then head into an auditorium where they lay out the rules for the kiddos.  The kid I'm sitting next to?  Lost his tooth right there.

Then we split up and our class went into tis room where our guide brought us different creatures to talk about and touch including a six foot python that used it's tail to try and pickpocket her radio.

After some other activities we hiked out at night and saw the Komono dragon, then up to the Reptile house.  Each of the kids were given little squeeze lights of different colors, the lights were left off and they were let loose inside.  It was wonderfully controlled mayhem with these kids seeing all these freaky snakes and snapping turtles being much more active (and creepier) by the glow of little quivering lights.

Then the highlight of the evening, off to the kitchen where the "food" is prepared for the animals.  I'm not going to go into detail on this.  It was awesome.  You should go.

Then we crashed in that huge room with sleeping bags.  I had a little camping pad under mine and smirked at the adults who had gone all out and brought air mattresses. How bourgeois, I thought to myself.  Next morning?  Wished I had one of those dang things!  But it wasn't like I was getting much sleep with the adults snoring and the little kid away-from home nightmares.

How good is my daughter's 2nd grade teacher?  My little friend was freaked to find the tooth fairy had left him a dollar.  At the zoo!  Wow.

Wednesday was the best.  That's the reason to do this trip. You get to run around the zoo with a knowledgeable guide and no massive hoards.  They answer all your questions and, even better, the animals are being fed and very awake and active (except for that lion who was up roaring at night, he was crashed out).

Some hilarious bits:  That lion was spreadeagled with his, um, boy parts getting happily aired out.  One of the kids said, "That's a boy lion!"  The guide smirked, "Clearly."  The kid: "Ya know how I can tell?  Because of his mane!"  Oh. Yeah. That too.

The rhino backed up to a large flat rock and let go an impressive jet of urine.  Guide: "That's how they mark their territory.  That's his rock."  Me: "He can have it!"

A gorilla decided to vigorously scratch his ass. Kids: "Ewww!  Why is he doing that?"  Guide: "It itches."

Guide at the Kangaroo pen: "These are all females with our one intact male." Me: "Intact?"  Guide: "I'm just going to leave it at that."

Fun times!

It's a great program, our guide couldn't have been better and the kids reportedly remember it forever.  Totally worth it.

Atlanta Zoo NightCrawler Program

(Oh, and that picture is one of my many from the trip. It's of the Red Panda which isn't really red or a panda.)

3 comments:

doug0077 said...

Hi Ninja,

Loved the post.

What I remember as chaperone for my son'd (day) field trip to the Minnesota Zoo was that out our little group of five, only my son and one other kid had ever been there before. And this world class zoo is about an hour and a half from our town.

Had the school not arranged the trip, a huge number of kids would never had had the zoo (or opera or theater or whatever) experience, nor probably would their children.

Yet sadly field trips seem pretty easy to cut.

Doug

Victoria said...

I just got back. We had a great time and I love your quotes from your guided tour. The lion and the gorilla ones, particularly. So cool that The Tooth Fairy works overnighter zoo trips.

Jim Randolph said...

Doug,

I hear you and my daughter goes to a nice school in which most of the kids had been to the zoo. I work 15 minutes away at a school that can't afford this kind of trip and most of the kids haven't been to the zoo. Sigh.

Victoria,
You went on the night of the storms! Hope you got _some_ sleep!

Thanks,
Jim