School is out for the summer and that fun camp isn’t for another week, so what is there to bring your children to? The easy answer that most parents probably already know is go to the zoo—or the aquarium, or the museum. Honestly just go to whichever of these is nearby and you can’t go wrong.
All of these places are awesome and are visited by millions of people every year. Depending on where in the country you live some may even be free to visit. They produce such wonder and excitement from children which is so fun to see from a parental perspective. They are also really educational and beneficial for kids while being fun at the same time!
Let’s talk about some of those benefits:
Enhanced Comprehension, Exploration, Understanding & Learning
There are a lot of new and mysterious things for children to stumble upon at a zoo, aquarium, or museum. Kids will have lots of questions about all the new things they are seeing. Answering those questions increases the dialogue between children and their parents and it expands their understanding of new and interesting things. They learn new words and practice asking new questions to find out what they want to know!
Outside of all the new questions, they’ll see new things, smell new things, and maybe even touch new things! Zoos often have petting zoos and aquariums often have touch tanks to provide high sensory immersive experiences for little ones. There is so much knowledge to be taken in!
Kids get a sense of exploration and discovery from these places too. There usually isn’t just one exhibit, there are many! It’s like one big adventure for a child going from one new thing to the next. They find out so much about themselves while learning about all these new things at the same time. Zoos, aquariums, and museums are child petri dishes for growth!
Encourages Awareness & Critical Thinking
Maybe at the zoo or aquarium they’ll learn about environmental conservationism and how humans affect the lives of animals. Maybe at the museum they’ll learn about the civil rights movement or women's suffrage. There are a lot of concepts that children can absorb at these places that challenge them to think critically and begin to understand the greater world around them. There are many unique stories to be told at any of these places.
Promotes Family Bonding & Exercise
A day at a zoo, aquarium, or museum is a great family day. They can walk around and look at cool stuff all day and then maybe you can enjoy a packed lunch together by a nice park bench or cozy spot. It is a fantastic way to spend the day together. Did we mention walking? These places involve lots of walking! A great way to get daily exercise in. Some places may even have playground areas for kids to unwind.
Attend Special Events, Activities, and Educational Programs
Most zoos, aquariums, and museums will host special events, activities or educational programs for kids to take part in. KidsQuest Children’s Museum in Bellevue, Washington does KidsQuest Summer Nights where families can play in the entire KidsQuest museum after museum hours with new themes every week involving animals, science, engineering and much more!
Clark Planetarium in Salt Lake City, Utah has what they call Astro Tots at their planetarium! Toddlers can explore and learn about science and astronomy through art, reading, activities, and experiments.
Idea Museum in Mesa, Arizona has activities and exhibitions for kids of all ages. They have school break camps such as the Summer Wonder Camp where campers ages 6-12 can investigate the world around them as agents of innovation!
Creative Arts Center of Dallas in Dallas, Texas offers ongoing weekly studio classes in a wide range of visual arts for adults and teens throughout the year. Topics include ceramics, drawing, glass, jewelry, mixed media, stone carving and so much more!
Zoo Tampa at Lowry Park in Tampa, Florida does tons of amazing events. Their Creatures of the Night Halloween event looks so fun and imaginative! Exhibits like the Dr. Hoodoo Show, Scarecrow Junction, Ghosts of Gator Grove, and Junkyard of Broken Dreams sound so fun for the kids of the Tampa Bay area.
We are sure there are places just like the ones we listed above right by you that your family can enjoy! All you have to do is go and find them, or maybe they use Peachjar through your local school district and you’ll get one of their flyers for their next program very soon!