Saturday, March 3, 2012

Mama on a Budget: Singing Safari (by Jessica Duke)

By now you know I love to do activities with my son but hate, HATE, to spend money. The only person cheaper than me that I know is my husband. So, needless to say, I really fretted over spending $15 (I know, right) for a one-hour session at the Cincinnati Zoo but Singing Safari’s was absolutely worth it.

Singing Safari’s is described on the zoo’s website as an opportunity to “teach you and your toddler how to move and sing like the plants and animals” and to interact with the actual animals in the songs. The class is taught in collaboration with “Miss Amanda’s Music Garden” and combines all of Knox’s (and most kids’) favorite things: singing, dancing, and zoo animals.

The zoo had this planned perfectly. There is a parking lot and entrance exclusively for the class attendees which was easy to find and right outside the classroom building, so we did not have to park and walk all through the zoo to find the class. The classroom was comfortable and large enough and we were even told we could take our shoes off. There were only four children and their parents in the class with one music instructor and one zookeeper; I was told four children was fewer than usual but even if there were twenty kids, it would have still been enjoyable.

The children were all so engaged which was easy considering how engaging the instructor was and considering the fact that after singing a song about a snake, the zookeeper brought out a snake for everyone to see AND touch. We also got to see and touch a possum after singing a possum song and we got to see (but not touch) a barn owl. Knox loved to “hoot” and “hiss” and…and…(what sound does a possum make?), all while touching the animals. Also, the zoo being a botanical garden, the classroom itself was in amongst an ecological garden with a waterfall and neat plants.

For more information on the classes offered at the zoo, go to http://cincinnatizoo.org/education/kids-families/.

Although the $15 fee ($17 for non-members) was more than I would usually pay for a 45-minute class, it was well worth the $0.33 cents per minute. For a non-member, one of the best benefits is that after the $17 class (parking included for free) you can enter the Zoo without buying a ticket (normal adult entry fee is $15, $10 for children, $6 to park). So, actually, for a non-member wanting to go to the zoo, it would be cheaper to do a class first! Just looking out for your wallet; enjoy!

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