It’s a ‘G’ Thing: Prospect Park Zoo makes kids go wild for animals through year-round programs

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“I just saw like a Goat jump right over the fence, well she just, said, we have breaking news!”

Goats and sea lions and birds, oh my! We're just monkeying around here at the Prospect Park Zoo.

“We’re a small facility, we’re 1/20th the size of the Bronx Zoo but we’ve got a lot of really cool animals, we’re a very manageable facility," Denise McClean, facility director, said.

“It makes me feel happy when they lick my hand,” Claudia, one of the kids, smiled.

“I liked touching the chicken because it felt very soft," Lucia, another child, said.

But, these little ones aren't just getting to see, touch and feed the creatures, they get to study them too.

“Herbivores are animals that eat plants and omnivores are things that eat meat and plants,” David, a kid, explained.

It's all part of one of the many camps held by the Wildlife Conservation Society across the city's 5 parks (Prospect Park, Central Park, Bronx, Queens and NY Aquarium).

“We’ve got programs from toddlers to teens," McClean said. "So they’re learning about animal basics and then those programs progress and our teen programs start learning about conservation action.”

They learn a lot- using quiet voices, petting with two fingers and recognizing distinct characteristics.

“I see a different color, it has a little bit of a greenish, blueish,” one girl described.

The camp also offers time fro scavenger hunts, play time, even arts and crafts.

Throughout the week, the kids broaden their minds and open their imaginations.

“You watch those kids make eye contact with the animal and there’s that spark," McClean said. “We actually see kids go into science in college, it just opens up worlds to them.”

“Does this zoo have a special place in your heart?" I asked Lucia. "Yes, because I love meeting animals and looking at them,” she said.

“What would you tell other kids, your age about this zoo?” I asked Lucian, another camper. "That it’s really fun!” he smiled.

You can learn more about and sign up your kids for camps by clicking here.

 

Produced by: Kim Pestalozzi

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