Growing up, every summer included a trip to the Bronx Zoo. My grandmother and mom would pack a cooler and we were spend the day at the zoo. As an adult, I continued to visit and over the past several years, I have continued the tradition by taking my nieces each summer.
The Bronx Zoo offers many programs for kids and I looking around Facebook one day when I saw an announcement for a new program, Zoo Camp for Adults. It was a 3 hour morning program that had three dates available. I was able to sign up and attend the very first one a few weeks ago.
The experience was divided into three segments. First, we went to the ambassador building where we got to get up close with a few animal ambassadors. That was followed by a tour of the hospital facilities and then we ended our day with a hands on experience.,
To start with our ambassador program, all 16 of us went to the ambassador building and were seated in one room to wait for the animals to be brought in one at a time by the keepers. We were visited by a porcupine, a bear cat and a kangaroo. The keepers would tell us how the animals came to be a part of program and also about the species in general. We were able to observe them but not touch them and, of course, we could ask as many questions as we would like.
While I could have stayed at the ambassador building all day and seen even more animals, after about an hour, our time there was over and we were on to our next stop which was the hospital area. We were given a tour of the facility but unfortunately pictures were not allowed. We saw the areas where they exam any animal that passes away in their care. They are meticulous in their studies so that they can determine not only why that particular animal passed away but what they could be doing to improve the care of the other animals currently on exhibit.
We also got to see the areas in which they keep animals that are sick and operating rooms where they will perform procedures on animals. If you saw "The Zoo" on Animal Planet, you would have been very familiar with our guide and the areas that we visited.
Our last stop was at the aviary for our hand on experience. We were tasked with preparing all the fish that are needed to feed the birds for the day. There were several jobs to do, including counting out different types of fish for each exhibit, cutting fish into smaller pieces, weighing out and bagging fish and placing vitamins into some fish. We were divided into teams and each team had a job. My team did the "pilling" which involved tipping back the head of the fish and sliding a vitamin into the gills area.
When we had all finished, we were able to go into the aviary and up to the keeper area and put some fish out for the birds. They came down to eat which gave us some close up views.
The 3 hours went by so quickly! It was great to get a behind the scenes experience at a place I have been coming to since I was a child. Being the very first time they were doing this, I had expected that there may be some bumps or missteps but that was not the case. It was very well thought out, planned and executed. I hope that they do more and expand their programming for adults in the future.
I have been a huge Disney and travel fan since childhood. I love going to new places and, of course, heading to Disney as often as I can.