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Animal care at zoos is anything but routine

No one likes getting into a rut doing the same things over and over again and we now know that animals don’t either. In the wild, animals encounter many challenges in their day to day life. In Zoos, there is no need to hunt, forage for food, and to protect themselves from predators, so to prevent boredom,  Zookeepers (both at John Ball Zoo and Zoos around the world) must be very clever about finding ways to keep their animals’ instincts sharp and their senses stimulated. This practice of animal care is called “animal enrichment”. 

John Ball Zoo has a detailed, daily, enrichment plan in place for most of the 2,000 animals in their care. Sometimes it’s a tried-and-true method, such as peanut butter stuffed inside a coconut. At other times it’s experimental. One of the chimp keepers at John Ball Zoo gave the chimps a pillow case. The smallest one put it on her head – ghost style – and ran around chasing the other chimps.

John Ball Zoo offers Zoo Goes Boo Overnight programs

From: http://www.johnballzoosociety.org

We’re offering Zoo Goes Boo Overnight programs just for the kids too! These programs are scheduled for the following ages and dates:

• For Students in Grades 5-8 - Saturday, October 23, 6:30 pm – Sunday, October 24, 9:00 am
• For Students in Grades 3-6 - Friday, October 29, 6:30 pm – Saturday, October 30, 9:00 am

Don’t be afraid of nature at night! Bring your Halloween spirit and join us for a kids-only overnight program at the zoo that will bring you closer to those things that go bump in the night. This overnight program will be packed full of fun, hands-on activities and guided tours of the zoo including some behind the scenes areas rarely seen by daily zoo visitors. Activities will include but are not limited to:

• Zoo Scene Investigator (ZSI) - Become a spooky zoo sleuth and solve a Halloween “zoo-dunnit” wildlife crime scene mystery.

John Ball Zoo goes BOO!

From: http://www.johnballzoosociety.org

All four days of BOO will be packed with entertainment, trick-or-treat stations, make-and-take crafts and animal activities, but each day will be different from treat stations to entertainment. Imagine your child dressed-up like a lion, in front of a real lion. It’s those amazing and sometimes hilarious photo opportunities that just pop up at John Ball Zoo’s BOO. Visit our event calendar for dates and times. ZOO GOES BOO! is budget-friendly at $5.00 for everyone. Members only $2.00. Kids 2 and under are always totally free!

Contest Alert: Win Tickets to "The Zoo Goes Boo!"

Chat to Win tickets to "The John Ball Zoo Goes Boo!" event on Saturday, Oct. 23rd.  Enter HERE by visiting West Michigan MomsLikeMe.com.

Kid's Guide to ArtPrize

Grand Rapids is an awesome place to grow up. Now. It used to be boring, or so I’ve been told.

I grew up in Grand Ledge and spent my entire childhood wondering why my parents insisted on raising me in a constant state of geographically inflicted ennui(I learned that word in 8th grade. It was perfect timing.) that could have been completely avoided had we stayed in Detroit, where I was born. We also would have avoided good schools, a lack of traffic, as well as a whole lot of bodily and property safety; but those were not my concern. I wanted Eastern Market, the Ren Cen, the Riverfront, big malls, and Boblo Island.

A few weeks ago my kids and I were walking around downtown (Grand Rapids, not Detroit) and A.P. said, “We’re lucky to have so much big art and sculptures here, Mom”. It’s working.My kids dig where they live.

Fun and Frugal in Grand Rapids With Kids! Week of September 24-30


September 24 Flick’s Family Film Festival continues.  Kids are free, just pay a few bucks for anyone over 12.

September 24, 25 Oktoberfest

September 24, 25 Rockford Harvest Festival Family Fun Weekend

September 24, 25 Fallasburg Fall Festival

September 25 Connecting Families With Nature Day at the Zoo  

September 25 9:30AM to 2:

How Many People Have YOU Fed Today?

Meet  my son, Paul. He’s five years old. And we’re really proud of him.

I’m a little tired of referring to him as “Buddy Boy” or just the impersonal “my son,” and besides that, there’s no getting around seeing his name in this post anyway.

The kid deserves some recognition, if I’m allowed to be a proud mommy today.

Paul forfeited gifts at his fifth birthday party (the kids’ version) in lieu of food for Kids Food Basket, a local organization that provides sack suppers for school kids who might otherwise go home hungry.  Besides that, he willingly (more or less) left his friends playing outside to volunteer to make sandwiches for an entire school.

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