Thursday, April 19, 2018

Z is for Zoo (Blogging through the Alphabet)

burrowing owl

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Among the many memorable experiences of my life, probably one that impacted me the greatest, was my time working in the education department of our local zoo. I volunteered for several years with summer camps before turning 16 and becoming a paid camp counselor. I then taught summer camp, workshops, outreach programs, in-zoo lessons, and more for over ten years.

food chain, bulletin board

As my mom started working at the zoo when I was young, I also had many experiences and memories from the years prior to working at the zoo myself. I had many wonderful opportunities to meet animals up-close and feed them because of many great keepers.


Another exciting memory was seeing an Asian elephant create art first hand. The keepers provide a variety of different enrichment activities for the animals from simply hiding food in the exhibits to working with different animals and 'teaching' them to paint. One of the coolest experiences was getting to see the elephants paint. I received an elephant art for one birthday. Later, when I was leaving the zoo to start my job as a high school history teacher, I was also gifted another piece of art - created by one of the snakes in the education department.

Elephant Art

There are so many ways that one can work with animals - more than just being a veterinarian or zoo keeper. But those are great careers to start studying if a child is interested in animals. Just studying animals is an ever better place to begin because there are so many different types of animals! 

Studying Animals

There are so many ways to study the world around us but one of my favorite resources for education has become It offers access to almost 400 self-paced, homeschooling online courses, when you become a member. There are no books to buy. For under $20 a month, all the children in your family have access to courses that might further their interest in animals and zoology. Older children – middle school age and up – can take the Animal Science Course or even learn about Marine Biology.

In the Animal Science Course, there are twenty-seven weekly lessons that include the study of animal classification, digestive systems, reproduction, human responsibility towards animals, and preventative care in domestic animals.

If your children are elementary age or younger, there are plenty of opportunities to learn about animals from, too. Elementary aged children could take A World of Animals which teaches them how animals are classified, what they like to eat, whether animals are endangered or not, and even how to care for possible pets.  Younger children have access to a variety of books through World Book Online such as Forest Friends and a World of Birds.

If you are hunting for lessons grounded in Christian values and designed to support a self-paced education for your children, then this is the perfect time to check out

I linked up with the following blog(s): 


  1. Interesting program. Love the idea of your Mom being able to share her job with you.

  2. My middle son wanted to be a zookeeper for years and we have studied so many animals and species. I think it's awesome that you got to experience so much!

    1. Being a zoo keeper is a great job. And there are so many opportunities at most zoos now to work with animals even if you aren't a zoo keeper (like what we did in education).

  3. That was a good read, neat to see your experiences