5 Homeschool moms and 18 kids met at Cat Tales Zoological Park this past Wednesday morning. It was chilly, and threatening to rain, but prayers were offered by all of us I think, and the rain stayed away for the first time in over a week.
When Amber emailed me and asked me to host a field trip in my area, on the same day that she and a few others were also doing field trips in their local areas, I thought it sounded like a great idea! I sent out a few tweets, and put up this post about it, and just hoped for the best. I didn’t know if anyone would want to come, and I don’t really have many homeschooling friends around here any more to ask.
I started thinking about the whole idea of it. We put it out on the INTERNET for Pete’s sake. Stepping outside of my comfort zone and inviting total strangers to meet my kids and I at the zoo was definitely a first. I believe that God puts things together for a reason though, and this turned out so well that I think we were all happy about it. I didn’t want to limit it to bloggers only, and didn’t want to offer it to the main “group” of homeschoolers here because they already do things with other families. There are lots of us who are fairly unplugged from the big group(s) in the area, and that is who I was really hoping to invite.
There were five families’ worth of kids there. From Left to Right there is Susan, whose blog is SusanEvans.org, whom I have been acquainted with for years through our local homeschool group; Katey from Crazy Homeschool Mama, who I met last year and has become a great friend; Me (I’m me and you’re here already, hehe); Linda (she’s not a blogger and I’m so glad she came!); Mandy, who blogs at Tea and Chocolate For Me, and I “met” her here at least five years ago, and she has been a regular reader and commenter since then. (We moms are the taller ones in the back row.)
We had kids of all ages, from 3 up to 18, newer homeschoolers through veterans. I coached my boys a bit on the drive up, gave them ideas for questions to ask. D1 was curious about things and he DID ask a few questions of the guide. D2 was fairly quiet and spent most of the time finding ways to avoid having his picture taken by 5 moms with cameras.
I remember the first time I took my (now big) kids to Cat Tales, and saw these signs. Yikes! They are hanging on the fencing, about every 50 feet or so. The tour guide said that a child running around attracts the cat’s attention (like a house cat to a mouse or a toy) and they go into hunting mode, and will try real hard to get out of their enclosures to catch it. We didn’t want that!!
This beautiful girl above was one of five kittens we saw the very first time we visited there. Now ten years old, she is just gorgeous and curious about all the people.
One of the neatest things about going to Cat Tales is the guided tours. Since this is a zoo school, there are college students there all the time. Anyone who visits can ask for a tour guide, and get one. Each cat (and the 2 bears too) has a story. Several of the animals are retired movie, Las Vegas, or Circus stars. A few were born at the zoo. Most, however, were people’s pets. Once their little kitten started to grow and assert itself, the owners found out the hard way why they shouldn’t keep wild animals.
This big furry fellow (whose name escapes me) was an MGM lion, and is in a commercial with Brett Favre.
They do have a couple of black bears too, from a rescue.
It would be impossible to have a program for college students without at least a little humor . These are two of six freezers where they keep meat for the cats. Unattended children and left over zoo students also make the menu from time to time.
All in all it was a great experience, even though we were all out of our element. It sort of felt like a blind date, except that I did know two gals who were coming, so it really was fine for me. Susan’s boys and my boys hit it off within 2 minutes of our arrival at the park gate, where we had half an hour to kill anyway. They played tag and practiced karate moves, and had a wonderful time together.
Thank you Amber!! We definitely want to do another field trip soon!