Children Built Memories for a Lifetime at the Calgary Zoo
Pre-departure Pow Wow
As 8:50 AM struck, we assigned children to each chaperone, for a group of 4 chaperones and their assigned children. Ali ensured we all had each other’s cell phone for communication purposes, and had enough cookies in each bag of the chaperone, in addition to children’s lunch sent by the parents. We were all looking forward to the Calgary Zoo trip.
We boarded the bus at 9:00 AM. The kids settled nicely into their seats, quite naturally too, given that it was the first time for many of them on a yellow bus. Only one child was late, and she too boarded right in time and we were on schedule.
Arrival at the Calgary Zoo
We reached the zoo by 9:25 AM, and entered through the North entrance by walking under the c-train bridge and into the Calgary Zoo. The first attraction we saw was the penguins.
It was a cold morning, we were expecting the temperature to be 13 degrees Celsius by noon. But we felt it was a decent compromise as next week would probably had been even colder.
Kids were mesmerized by the penguins, and they commented on how cute they were. There were quite a few people at the Calgary Zoo, despite the chilly weather.
The penguins were kept in a special chamber, which might have been even colder than outside, which was already just a few degrees Celsius. Some children were feeling hungry, thirsty and needed washroom breaks.
After some adventuring we found sanctuary in a warm presentation theater close by and seated children. We got some coffee for staff and volunteers and tried to inject more energy and warmth to continue our journey.
Giraffes, Hippopotamus, Snakes, and Gorillas
Once children were ready, we moved on to the African Savanna attraction.
African Savanna is a heated, fully-enclosed display with giraffes, miniature turtles, and hippopotamus, among a few other animals. Kids’ faces lit up when they saw the very tall and elegant giraffes.
The Lions and Ostriches
After walking the two concentric spirals, children exited to the right and into the next major attraction, the lions. Calgary Zoo was starting to grow on children, something we were glad to see.
The lions were contemplatively walking around but felt they had enough publicity for the day, and decided to turn their backs to fame and fortune. But we were so awed by their majesty that we felt it was a good time for a group photo, the lions can be seen through the window, framed by the hands of an admirer.
Across the lions’ den were the ostriches. We did not have a photo opportunity, as children’s care during a Calgary Zoo field trip can be quite intensive. But all kids had a good look at the long-necked birds.
Mythical Walk In Search of the Panda
We started walking towards the West wing of the Calgary zoo, in search of the mythical panda. We did not know where exactly the panda was, so we walked with children towards the West, hoping to catch a glimpse of the imported wonder.
In search of the pandas, we came across these beautiful pink flamingo-type birds. There were peacocks roaming around in the open as well. Naturally, kids were loving it.
We saw a double-humped camel, who was busily eating his (or her?) lunch. We saw a few banners of pandas on the lamp posts but still did not see one yet.
We finally came across an entire building with an Asian theme which looked like the home of the panda. Once inside, we were greeted by the Komodo dragon, and the room looped leftwards, with the panda sitting comfortably on the right side of his home. We were so happy to finally meet the panda, and spent some serious time enjoying this beautiful animal.
Lo and behold! Just as we walked further along the pathway, we saw yet another panda, this was a gift for the children’s perseverance to seek out this enchanting animal, who was busily munching on bamboo stalks.
We did not get a chance to take pictures of the indoor Rain forest building, as well as the gorillas the kids saw. But the kids saw all these animals and had a great time.
After kids saw the pandas, they sat outside in the now warmer weather, which was much kinder to their bodies. We helped them eat lunch, and the cookies we took from the daycare were a major hit.
Snow Leopard Viewing and Snack Time
Kids watching the snow leopard across the glass while enjoying lunch.
Kids are giving some rest to their legs after a lengthy walk, enjoying much warmer weather as they wait for the bus.
Our team did a wonderful job, and a big heartfelt thanks to our volunteer who worked just as hard as our staff, if not more.
And We are Back
And we were back at the daycare by 2:04 PM, even though there was a big traffic jam on Memorial Drive just as we exited from the Calgary Zoo. On the way back, kids had the type of exhaustion only an adventurous, physically active, and stimulating day filled with discovery can ever truly give. We made a lot of beautiful memories with kids, and we hope they will remember it.