Friday, January 02, 2015

Visiting a Zoo - a guide to getting the most out of it AKA Zoo Visitor Etiquette

So you have gone to the zoo and all the animals aren't up to much, they're hiding down the back or in a den, and you can't get a good photo on your phone. Is it the zoo or is it you? Here's one simple tip:
Be quiet, listen, and watch. 
That's all you have to do to get more out of every visit. The animals are more likely to linger nearby and relax into their natural behavior if you do this.

To elaborate:
Read the sign telling you what the animal is,
Listen to the keeper or volunteer if there is one, and
be respectful, quiet and patient,
stay still  or move slowly,
give free roaming animals enough space to move,
speak quietly,
watch, observe, be curious.

This means DO NOT:
tap on the glass or walls/fence
yell or make loud noises
throw things
feed the animals
touch the animals (unless a keeper or volunteer has said it's okay to do so, and then avoid the head)
stick any of yourself or your belongings including your camera/phone within the enclosure space
allow your childen to do any of these things.
Think about how you would feel if a stranger appeared in your frontyard doing things from the DO NOT list. I have heard one parent tell their child "How would you feel if some strange person came and yelled at you in your room? You wouldn't like it would you?" It seemed to be effective.

The animals are not here for our entertainment. It's the 21st century - it's about conservation, education and respect for the amazing world we share.

Also check out the meerkats - they're always good value, never a dull moment, and very photogenic too!

Further reading here, the animal's viewpoint here and the zoo's view here.

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