What a fun way to earn a Wildlife Patch! We went to The Wild Animal Park in San Diego!
We all drove together. Jesse, was unable to join us as she was having a fun weekend away with her Daddy.
We got to the park faster then we thought we would. Or maybe it just seemed like we did because we had so much fun talking and laughing on the way there.
We met up with our Educational Guide out front. We were thrilled to find out that we were the only Junior Girl Scouts there that day. So, we got a private tour/lesson. How lucky.
The girls all love animals so I knew this was going to be the perfect badge for them to earn.
They had smiles on their faces all day and everyone was perfectly behaved.
There were so many beautiful animals everywhere we looked. So we were sure to keep an eye out for things to the sides of us as well as up in the trees.
The girls learned they were going to Animal Sciencest for the day. They would discover new things, observe animals, watching closely for how they eat, communicate, take care of their young and survive in the wild.
They would be using binoculars and magnifying glasses as well as.
The would learn about different animals and then get to see them up close as they studied their markings and behaviors.
We learned about the Condors. How there were only 22 left in the world and San Diego Wild Animal park went and gathered them all. They took care of them and helped them breed so now there are over 350 out in the wild and more being born all the time.
Most of them died off because they eat dead animals and a lot of the animals they would eat were killed by humans who go hunting for the sport only and would shoot the animal and leave them behind.
Bullets are mostly made of lead and so they would get lead poisoning and die off. Plus they would feed bones to the baby birds and they would also die. They also sometimes mistake humans trash for bones and the babies would die from being fed that.
They learned how to tell if a bird was a wild bird or one of their birds. They would put bands on them. The right leg would hold the band if it were a girl and the left would be for the boys.
They also would mark the condors with numbers so they knew which bird they were.
The girls learned how to tell Condors from Turkey Vultures by the size of the birds and the markings.
Being the good researchers they were, they would draw pictures of the birds and the markings. They wrote down facts about the birds too.
Then they had to each pick an animal they learned about and go study it more closely. They were given a work sheet to write down what they observed.
Here they are under the statute of a Condor. This shows how big these birds get. The bird is bigger then all four of them put together.
It was then time for an up close and personal lesson about the Chinchilla. They are the softest animals on Earth. So soft, if you close your eyes and pet the fur you can't even feel it until you are about an inch deep into the fur.
Everyone closed their eyes and touched her. It was fun to see how far we had entered her fur before we knew it.
The girls all listened closely to all the facts about this cute little ball of fur. They asked a lot of questions too as they were really interested.
They had to pretend they were just discovering this animal for the first time and since they didn't have a camera they had to draw a picture and write down facts to bring back to the others so they too could learn about what they had seen.
I think it was great that they learned working with animals isn't all fun and games and just playing with them all day. There is a lot to be learned from them and how they are being studied all the time.
After all the work was done for earning the badge we were free to go off on our own to explore the whole park.
We got to spend time seeing all the animals and spending time watching them and how they acted. I think it was more interesting for the girls to watch the animals now they had learned more about them.
Little facts like the Flamingo eats by tilting their head upside down because they have a built in screen in the roof of their mouth that filters out what they can't eat and allows the algae the go through the screen.
The girls were amazed by how big the hot air balloon was there. We didn't go up in it because it was $20 per person to go. It just wasn't in our budget.
We had fun watching the big Gorillas.
Haili really liked watching them interact together.
It was fun to compare how big the Gorillas are to us.
They had a cast of the Gorilla's foot and hand.
The girls enjoyed seeing how tiny their hands seemed when compared to the big Gorilla's hand.
Then we came across the ducks and geese and of course we all had to buy some food to feed them.
Haili even got to pet a few of them. Though it wasn't an easy task to do because they would run away as soon as they saw you trying to touch them.
Three little monkeys standing in front of the real monkey cage.
I loved the big old male lion who was taking a nap in the warm sun. I thought he was fake at first but finally he did pop his head up, take a look around and then went right back to sleep. He didn't care that we were all standing around looking at him.
We came across another fun area to learn. They got to see, touch and hold skulls, eggs and feathers.
This worker was great because she told us to go take the tram that takes around. She thought it was free for us as it was included in the price of our ticket. No one had said that before but we went off to find out if it was true.
No one else seemed to know so the guy working the tram area just let us on for free. How fun! We got to go all around and see the animals up much closer then if we just walked everywhere.
The park is so big you can't see it all in one day. It goes for miles and miles. I think our guide said it was something like 1900 acres. So the animals have a lot of room to run around.
It was great to see them roaming around as they would be in the wild. With all the different animals interacting together.
We all loved the Giraffe and seeing the little baby ones was exciting too.
The girls all agreed they wanted to come back to earn the other badge, Plants and Animals. So we will most likely go back in the Spring. We hope there are lots of babies then too.
Here the girls are acting like little baby birds in a big nest. The cracked egg is in back of them.
I loved seeing them all getting along so good together. With each outing they bond more and more and are forming good friendships which I think is very important.
Of course, they all wanted to do a little shopping. Though it was so hard to pick what they wanted. Each girl picked out a stuffed animal that would remind them of the fun day they had.
All to soon, it was time to go. The time seemed to have flown by. We all learned so much and had a really, really nice day.
Personally I don't think we could have asked for anything more. Who knew learning could be so fun!