My post today was going to be a Valentine's craft but I have shelved it instead for a post about how to have a fun, educational trip to the zoo , instead of how we often feel after trips like that which is that we need to be locked up in one. We decided to go to the zoo because I have been working on a few projects so much lately that my eyes have stopped being able to focus on anything that isn't an LCD screen! It was our best trip yet and here is what made it fun and packed with learning. 1. Pack more snacks than you think you will need. We have to drive about an hour to our zoo so if you live closer this may not apply, but throwing some cheese sticks, crackers and a banana and an orange in your purse beats out $7 fries at the zoo snack bar any day! 2.If like us you have a long drive , pack your child's favorite CD. Yes I was humming ' A Ram Sam Sam " all the way from the elephants to the polar bears but there was no fussing, and I could drive in peace and arrive at the zoo relaxed ready for adventure! 3. Tell your child that they get to be the tour guide. My son normally begs to be carried ( not fun now that I am well into my 2nd trimester of pregnancy)but today I made him the tour guide and he walked pulling me to the next exhibit. Our sequence of exhibits didn't make the most sense but we saw everything and he was eager to show me what was next! 4. Read the signs together. Instead of saying " Wait I want to read this." Say Look it's like a treasure map, all the animals pictured here are in this exhibit, can you find them?" worked like a charm, I got to read and learn facts to share with him, and he was busy searching and learning about the animals. 5.Use your camera for learning. At each exhibit I asked my son what he wanted me to take pictures of. This signaled to him it was time to move on in a gentle way and he naturally told me what he thought was cool without me having to ask. 6. Know when to go. When my son asked me for a cuddle by the Walruses I knew it was time to get back in the car. Loosing interest and whining are sure fire signs! 7. We just got back so I haven't had time yet but when you get home, print out the pictures and make a collage on construction paper, or even a small album. Ask your child about each animal and what they discovered at the zoo!