Winter has come but unfortunately so far has not brought much snow. At least not snow that is sticking around! Cold temps with no snow is probably my least favorite weather situation.
But we are making it work and today we headed to one of our favorite spots, even when it is the "off season".
We headed to the Henry Vilas Zoo, in Madison. We didn't see all the animals that the girls like, no girafffes or bears or prairie dogs but we did have a great time watching the lions, getting to pet a snake, watching the monkeys play and a very active river otter. The girls got to play on the big tree house jungle gym and some great outdoor play time.
Of course I forgot my camear. BOO!
The biggest perk to going to the zoo during the winter? NO CROWDS! The girls can always have a great view of the animals, one on one attention with the zoo keepers/naturalists that are in the exhibit areas and can play freely on the climbing equipment without big kids to push them around or make them nervous.
My biggest tip about taking your little ones to these kind of attractions in the off season is to set them up for a different experience. They won't realize that it will be different unless you tell them. If they are use to riding the carousel and then they can't because it is closed during the winter, don't let this be a surprise when they get there, prepare them ahead of time that it will be closed. Visiting the website of the place you are visiting is a great way to find out what may be closed or, as is the case with the zoo, what animals may not be kept outside in the winter. Even though I had warned Sam we may not see everything she was still sad that the prairie dogs were not out (yes, I know it is weird that my girls really like the prairie dogs!). So instead of trying to comfort her I switched into teacher mode and asked her why an animal like the buffalo (which is in the shelter right next to the prairie dogs) could be out in the cold and not prairie dogs. We talked about their differences in fur and where the prairie dogs might be right now to keep warm. Great learning experience!
What outside places do you still visit in the winter? Any tips on how to make the experience a super positive one even though it is different for the kids?
The Nitty Gritty!
With no pictures I have kind of talked your ear off already! So nothing more from me.
But here is the post from our last off-season visit to the zoo!