A post today from Katie. As we found out, you all do love to know where your kids can see animals, so this should be a hit. Enjoy:
After reading Sarah’s post on the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, we had to give it a try. When I checked out their website I found that they have regular storytimes and meet the animal sessions, so we built our trip around the morning storytime (this actually included some meet the animals moments in the 30 min session).
On the day we went, the theme was beach animals. The session leader that day had selected a story about hermit crab habitats at the beach. It was a beautiful picture book and simple enough for 2 year old H to enjoy and follow, but the staff member made it engaging enough for older children to enjoy it as well. She stopped frequently to give the children hands on examples of habitats in the book, including rocks, driftwood and shells. H love getting to touch each item, and the interaction clearly held his attention.
Once the story was finished, the leader discussed the different animals that you might find at the beach with the children. She explained where they live, what they eat, and how big they grow. As she discussed them, she brought the animals out for the children to meet. H loved them. From a small alligator that I have to admit was pretty cute, to a diamond back terrapin to a sand and green rat snake (which H and DH loved, and I…well… didn’t), the animals were a huge hit. She carried each animal, out of it’s container, around the room for everyone to see up close. H even cheered for the snake. If you, like I, cannot stand the sight of snakes, don’t worry. When the leader came around with the snake, I turned my head and she steered clear, letting Hsee it as much as he wanted, but keeping it away from me. I never had to say, “I may freak out if you come any closer.” All of the children there seemed to have a great time, and we all learned quite a bit.
The session lasted nearly thirty minutes. I was impressed that so many children, of so many ages, paid attention for that long. Our session wasn’t completely full, but the session after ours (meet the animals only), was packed. While our leader was very willing to open the door to latecomers, the front desk staff told us that if you arrive late, you might have to wait for the next session. There are several meet the animals sessions each day, each lasting around 30 minutes.
Overall, it was a great outing, and one I am certain we will repeat regularly.