Harry is the first to arrive. Then Jack and Rowena. Jack’s mum says he’s been awake since 5:30. “We can’t be late,” he says. ” The bus leaves at 9.” More excited Year 1s come to the classroom as they arrive at school. They wear school uniforms, including closed shoes and hats. Lunches and drinks in plastic bags are placed in the plastic tub according to the adult who will care for that group of five children on our class trip today. We are going to the Tropical Zoo.
This is part of our unit of work on Australian Animals. Individual ‘studies’ of a self-selected animal and a ‘What am I?’ writing task are well underway. Paintings of animal habitats are awaiting animals. Seeing live animals at the zoo is special.
And… off we go on the bus! Past houses, shops and shopping centres. Past creeks, cane fields and paddocks of playful horses. We go over bridges, through roundabouts and on highways until we reach the zoo.
We leave the containers of lunches at the large undercover picnic area then head up the hill to the Bird Show. A young zoo worker provides an informative and humorous commentary as we see the birds: a quiet lesser sooty owl, a beautiful Major Mitchell cockatoo, a black and red cockatoo, a sulpher-crested cockatoo, a cheeky magpie that puts a tissue paper into a bin, a barking owl and a serious white sea eagle – spectacular!
PS How long did it take a zoo worker to train the magpie to put paper into the bin?
3 days? 3 months? 1 day? 50 minutes? 20 minutes? 1 hour? 4 hours?
Next, we go to the kangaroos and then to the crocodiles. Unexpectedly, we see zoo workers moving a large crocodile. The crocodile’s snout is bound with rope and about ten strong handlers hold him. It looks like hard work… We move on to see crocodiles warming up in the sun and an occasional crocodile opening its mouth to cool down. Other crocs keep cool under water.
After lunch, the adults and small groups of children walk through the zoo. We see three striped lemurs, a red panda, a well-fed dingo, a resting wombat, a pacing cassowary, numerous sleeping koalas, several long, sleek snakes, green tree frogs, American alligators, eastern water dragons, a blue-tongue lizard, a glorious iguana and dozens of colourul birds. We read the notices giving us information about the animals. We all learn lots!
It is a wonderful walk… and slowly we head back to the bus for the return to school.
Tomorrow the children will talk, draw and write about the trip as we re-live the real-life experience.