Multicultural Monday: Learning about the World through Animals

On Friday Hazel and I went to the first of three Toddler Treks that I signed us up for at our local zoo, Stone Zoo. We will be going to one each month this summer. Since the zoo expected 800+ students from various schools, the instructor decided to keep us in the Discovery Center since it would be too hard to stay together as a group. She had planned several activities for the kids including showing them cards and asking what animal it is and would you see this animal in your backyard or at the zoo. This got me to thinking that the zoo is a perfect place to look at some multiculturalism. It is where we go to see the animals we do not see every day or in our own neighborhoods. The Stone Zoo is one of two zoos in the Boston area known as Zoo New England. The other is bigger and is in Boston. The Stone Zoo is nice since it is a good size for a young one and we do not have to drive into the city and deal with parking. (You may remember I shared our last visit to the zoo in a Happy Family Times post.)
 A great book to go with this lesson is Around the World on Eighty Legs by Amy Gibson. The book has hand drawn animals from around the world--broken up by regions of the world with poems and sometimes information about them. It is a fun read, but not as informative as I had hoped. However it is a great starting point to see which animals live where and then you could easily research them more.

Stone Zoo itself is divided into sections having to do with where the animals are from (or at least the environment they live in). Since our class was to start (and ended up staying in) the Animal Discovery Center, we went to the right (which is the way we usually go anyway). The first animal you see is the American Bald Eagle. They also have a replica of a nest. As the visitors we were talking to said their family of three could lay in it comfortably if they had to. Then there are the black bears. This is one of the newest additions to the zoo and one of my favorites. Since both of these are native to the United States, I will not go into them. Then we looked at the llamas. By this time it was time to head to our class so we went to the Animal Discovery Center where they have a corner of the room as windows to watch the llamas. The llamas like to come and stare into the glass so it was quite fun. These of course are normally found in South America. Although according to Wikipedia, they originated from North America and migrated 3 million years ago.
Llama on left is staring at window!
Inside the Animal Discovery Center they have six Panamanian Yellow Frogs (I found four of them in the tank), corn snake (who was very active), gecko, tarantula, and box turtles. From this list you can see they are also from all over the world. The Panamanian Yellow Frogs are obviously from Panama. The other animals can be found in parts of the U.S.A. as well as other places. A box turtle was taken out of the tank for the kids to learn more and to touch. I did not take any pictures in here, but I did take a picture of Hazel's craft. They had the kids play a game where they were caterpillars and had to bring the instructor five of the foam leaves they had "hid" around the room. Once they had found five, they received a butterfly and then had to find a flower of the same color. Then they had the kids make a paper chain caterpillar and if they wanted they stapled the butterflies on to change them to butterflies.
Hazel's caterpillar
Turned into a Butterfly
After class we joined the crowds to check out some of the animals. We continued in to the Sierra Madre area of the zoo. This includes the llamas, coyotes, bats, coati, cougar, jaguar, and gila monster.
Sleeping Jaguar
We got to see the coyote, but did not get a picture of him. The jaguar and the cougar were sleeping.
We did see the coati briefly, but there were large crowds around their cages. We didn't bother trying to get into the bat area  or the gila monster because of the crowds. We did see the rosy boa (in a cage here as well as in the Animal Discovery Center). After all this, we went and saw one of Hazel's favorite animals--the flamingos! They were building their nests and sitting on their eggs. Hazel thought they were sitting on rocks, but I showed her that they were mud and not rocks. This of course took our journey to the Carribean!
We went indoors to the exhibits there. They have the African crested porcupines, the Inca tern, a hornbill, Emperor tamarins, blue macaws, meerkats, and two-toed sloths and a large tortoise. I did not get any really good pictures here because it is dark and the windows tend to show dirt in pictures. Sorry!

At this point we went to the gift shop. I found some great books for references and learning more.
This book was written by an 8-year-old about the zoo!
Dover Press Books that use stickers to help learn about animals and their environments!
A coloring book that gives details about each animal on the page
Some origami for us to try!
Next we saw the American river otter. Ok, I have to share this picture because it was so cute. The otter came out to say hi to a zookeeper. Maybe he thought it was feeding time or something. You can see him standing on his hind legs towards the back  here (look below here).
Then we saw the monkeys and the white cheeked gibbons. The white cheek gibbons take us to Asia. They have a family of them. The father lost part of his arm at his previous zoo. The mother was carrying her baby this time.

At this point, Hazel was getting tired and wanted to go to the playground which is in the barn yard. It was a bit crowded there with older kids and I had to help her get down the slide since the older boys wanted to climb up the slide and then were chasing each other around it. Then we went for the rides near the snack bar. She of course had to go on the train.
Then the pink hippo.
Then she went on the zebra truck. Then it was time to go. We were tired and hungry. We talked about getting lunch but the snack bar was full of all the school kids getting lunch. So we went to the car. There I called the vet's office and found out we could pick up Fluffy (second day of x-rays), so we headed there which is basically down the street from the zoo. We found out Fluffy was fine! Best news of the week but we needed to watch her as we started to feed her again. Overall it was a fun day with many things to learn about and how animals live in different parts of the world. I am sure we will share more zoo visits with you soon.

This is where I share...


  1. I just love zoo outings, I am looking forward to heading to ours this summer as well. I think it is a great idea to combine cultural studies with animals from those locations, what a great way to bring it all together. Looks like a fun start to summer! Glad to hear you cat is doing better. :)

  2. This is such a fun idea! We love going to the zoo too! After reading this, I'm getting a lot of ideas for some fun scavenger hunt-style maps to take to the zoo...

    Thanks so much for sharing at Teach Me Tuesday!!

  3. Love this! WE just took a fun trip to the zoo a few weeks ago too! Thanks for sharing at tip toe thru tuesday.

  4. Thank you for linking up to Weekly Kids' Co-op. I love hearing about your visit to Stone Zoo. It inspires me to get done on our Bucket List this summer our visit to our most local zoo!


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