Teach Children Respect for Animals at the Wildlife Sanctuary

A wildlife sanctuary is a terrific field trip idea if you're interested in teaching your child about animals. Unlike a zoo, wildlife sanctuaries often allow animals to live as they would in the wild. These sites can be highly educational and help foster an appreciation for nature.

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Before You Go

There are many different types of wildlife sanctuaries you can visit depending on where you live, so the first step is to pick which one you'll visit. Many counties have areas of protected and undeveloped land marked off as wildlife sanctuaries in which you'll find walking trails to explore on your own. There are also wildlife sanctuaries that act more like open zoos, where you take a train, bus or car ride amidst freely roaming animals. These sanctuaries may include animals that aren't native to the area, such as kangaroos from Australia or giraffes from Africa. You may also find enclosed wildlife sanctuaries, such as a butterfly pavilion, in which creatures are housed in a simulated natural environment.

moose field trip wildlife sanctuary national park wildlife preserve

Whether it's as small as a chipmunk or as large as a moose, prepare your child to be cautious around all wildlife. Unlike domestic animals like dogs and cats, animals you'll encounter in a wildlife sanctuary can be unpredictable and might be aggressive.

Wildlife sanctuaries are often notable not only for animals, but also for plants. Remind your child to stay on marked paths in order to avoid trampling or otherwise harming delicate plant life.

Teaching Moments at the Site

The most exciting part of visiting a wildlife sanctuary with your child is often looking for animals. Allow your child to search the sanctuary for signs of wildlife. This sometimes takes patience and perseverance. Also, at some wildlife sanctuaries, your child will be able to feed certain animals. This is a good opportunity to learn about what animals eat, how they behave up close and how they interact with one another.

field trip forest park wildlife nature

Many wildlife sanctuaries have education centers where your child can learn more about wildlife and plants. There may be educational programs led by experts or hands-on exhibits for children. You may want to visit this center first in order to learn about what types of wildlife you can expect to encounter. Otherwise, if you don't have much luck spotting animals in the wild during your visit, the education center can provide the chance to learn about what the area has to offer.

After Your Visit

If your field trip to a local wildlife sanctuary involved seeing local animals, your child can be on the lookout for those same animals after you leave. Hopefully, seeing these animals in the sanctuary teaches your child about what to look for, such as where the animals look for food or make their home.

If the wildlife sanctuary you visited featured animals from different parts of the world, your child can still continue to learn about them. Have your child look up the parts of the world in which they live on a globe or map. This can help foster an appreciation for the world's diverse species. Ultimately, your child may come away from this field trip experience with a new respect and admiration for wildlife in its natural environment.

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