METAZOO DISCOVERY CENTER A Perfect Camp Day See what MetaZoo camps are all about! Camp days are always busy days here at the Louisville Zoo. If your children have not attended a Zoo camp before, or they share just precious bits and pieces of their experience, we’d like to give you a glimpse into these fun and yes, educational experiences. Read on to experience a day at Zoo camp. The pre-k campers are on their first Zoo walk of the day pointing out the bright red cardinals chirping from gold-colored poplar trees nearby as the Zoo wakes up on a crisp October day. The campers have already enjoyed a full day of exploration the previous day, including visits to animal exhibits, fun hands-on classroom activities, and close-up animal encounters with creatures of all kinds. So, of course, they are all little experts by now with their detective instincts primed for more discoveries. Campers are on their way to the Amur tiger training led by a team of Zoo educators from the Metazoo Discovery Center. “What do we do?” their guide asks as a prompt for them to stay together. The campers sing-song in unison, “We stick like glue!” Campers scurry to find their places front and center of the tiger exhibit. Nothing keeps the attention of a group of four and five-year-olds quite like a 250 pound tiger. Their little faces are frozen in expressions of awe, mouths and eyes open wide, not a peep to be heard as they sit transfixed throughout the training demonstration with the massive cat — much, much bigger this close. Most of the campers have never looked into the eyes of a tiger. They are hypnotized. Then, the enormous tiger roars and shows his teeth, startling the campers out of their trance and inspiring them to mimic the behavior by roaring too and flashing toothy smiles. At their lunch stop under a 100-year-old oak tree, they talk about the tiger’s huge eyes, his stinky smell, what endangered means, and why tigers have such big teeth. They learn a new scientific term for meat eaters, “carnivores,”and if their cats at home are carnivores too. The campers bustle off to the next adventure including a favorite train ride, stopping at the classroom every so often to discuss what they have seen. They chatter away about their favorite animal and experience. All liked the way the sea lion lifted his flipper and waved during the seal and sea lion demonstration. Some really liked watching the elephant raise its big trunk for keepers during elephant training. They all loved asking real Zoo keepers questions and learning why Punch the elephant throws dirt on her back and how Riva the sea lion was rescued. For these insatiably curious kids, it’s why, why and why, all day long. They especially liked the animals they got to touch in the Metazoo Discovery Center. Who knew that chinchillas got clean with a dust bath after 20 • Louisville Zoo Trunkline • Fall 2016 being touched or hedgehogs have about 5000 spines? With such an exciting place to explore, their Zoo day is over before the campers realize it. They go home with a mind full of new knowledge and memorable encounters, some breathless as they provide a play-by-play for parents and others quietly relishing their memories and parsing out those little tidbits. It’s been a big adventurefilled day after all, one worthy of a long nap with fanciful new dreams. You child can be part of this amazing experience too. The fall and winter camps are now available with discounts provided for Louisville Zoo Members. These camp programs fill up fast, so learn more and register today at louisvillezoo.org/education/ camps-classes.