After my son’s recent field trip to The Toronto Zoo, I encouraged him to write about his experience – the sights, the sounds, and of course, his own feelings and thoughts as he visited and learned about the animals and their habitats. A wise friend calls this Memorizing the Moment (so now I officially do too!) As a true animal lover, he wrote an amazing first draft! From there, we spent a little time together ensuring the best phrases and adjectives were chosen to describe what he saw and heard. If he didn’t include the animal’s colour, I suggested he add that detail. If there was an interesting sound that really stood out, I encouraged him to find a way to allow his readers to hear along with him. If there was a special moment he saw between the animals, I recommended he add a line or two to help paint a picture for us…so we could experience and see what he did, through his eyes.
While I guided him through this process and made a few suggestions, the final piece below belongs to him…and I couldn’t be prouder! To see him embrace and excel at writing about our furry friends as much as he loves the animals themselves was pretty magical!
I hope you enjoy taking this trip to the zoo with him as much as I did. And who knows…perhaps The Toronto Zoo is looking for a guest blogger?! 🙂
We’re Goin’ to the Zoo, Zoo, Zoo: The Best Field Trip Yet!
By guest writer, Gave Lichtman, age 9
It was roughly 11:45 on a frosty January Monday morning when we finally, FINALLY went in the bus to go to the Toronto Zoo! The bus begun to move and the whole grade 4 class started to talk and we started to play a game called “sweet and sour.” The way you play is you wave or yell hello to someone on the street and if they wave back then they would be considered “sweet.” If the person doesn’t look or doesn’t wave then they are considered “sour.” The grade got a bit too excited so we got told to sit and not play the game anymore.
Once we got to the zoo we all got so excited and started to chat about the groups and what animal we were going to create a habitat for as part of a school project. Once we all calmed down, Joanne and Maya, our guides for the afternoon, led us into a room that was all about learning about habitats and food chains, and so on. In the room, there was a table that had all different kinds of animal furs and animal skulls. We all got about 5 minutes to feel and touch the things on the table. They felt and looked so remarkable! Some of the furs were real and some were fake. The furs that they had were: Cheetah, Arctic Wolf (that one was very fluffy and soft!) and Zebra.
After all that, the grade split into 2 groups and I was in the “south” group that was on the side with the African Savannah and the African Rainforest. My animal was in the African Rainforest and it is called the Veiled Chameleon.
First, we saw the Orangutan (in the Indomalaya region). It was so interesting! They swung so far, around 5 feet at once! As they swung, their strong, sharp, claws were scratching against the metal bars and the scratching created a quiet and weird sound. There were two of them, the mom and the daughter. For some reason, the mom dipped her bed sheet into the water and hid under it with her daughter! They were bright auburn with a small body but extremely long and lean arms!
After, we got to see two tigers, a male and a female. Sadly, they couldn’t have babies because in the wild tigers usually live on their own so they both lived in different cages but they were still very amazing to see! The female had this big, round, grey plastic ball that she was playing with. The ball made a sound that was scratching against the hard, rocky concrete.
Next, we saw the towering giraffes! There were two once again male and female, but they couldn’t have babies quite yet because the male was only 5 years old, and the female was only 4 but they were still so tall! 16 feet to be precise! While we were gazing at the giraffes, the zookeeper came in to tell us about them and she told us that a giraffe’s leg is so strong that if it kicked a lion it would knock the lion unconscious!!! That’s a mighty leg! The zookeeper was also feeding the giraffes, but only the male wanted to eat because the female was a bit shy so she didn’t want to eat in front of us. As the male was munching on the celery and carrots and the female was chomping on the hay that was in a little cage up high because of how tall the giraffes were, I heard them and saw them chewing very intensely.
Next, we went to the African Savannah area and in there we saw gigantic lions roaring and cuddling. The male had a large and fluffy mane and the lions were staying warm with it. The lions were cuddling under a rocky sort of area. We were only at the lion area for about one minute but it was still very wonderful to see!
After that, we went to the cheetah exhibit and we saw 4 cheetahs and they were all so lovable and gorgeous with hundreds of black and tiny spots! Actually, I think that one or two of them were babies! There was one cheetah that went right in front of us and I heard it purr very quietly. She went on a large, grey rock and kind of stretched her neck, and viewed up straight through the glass as if she was star gazing! I found this very odd, but she wasn’t even blinking while she was doing that star gazing pose.
After, we went to the African Penguin exhibit and we saw little black and white penguins waddling slowly but surely around their habitat. Some of them also were gliding through the water very gracefully on their stomachs. They were also squawking very loudly!
Finally, we went to the Giant Panda exhibit! The furry white and black pandas were so cute! There were 3 of them and they were all just relaxing and eating bamboo. Sadly, the pandas are leaving soon and to be exact only 48 more days! The panda is known for their strong teeth so that it can bite through the tough bamboo!
What was also sad was that the adorable giant pandas from China were the last animals that we saw so then we had to go back! Even though the time at the zoo was basically over, I am so happy I went! The whole grade met up at a bathroom area and we all talked about what we saw and how cool it was! We went on the bus and I sat beside Zach W. just like I did on the way there and on the way back instead of playing sweet and sour, we played a game where we tried to spot popular/nice cars.
This time at the zoo was an unforgettable experience and I am so happy that I am privileged and lucky enough to go to the zoo and have a special experience like I did!