to take kids to the zoo?

(84 Posts)
paperdress Wed 30-Oct-13 19:45:32

I remember feeling stridently opposed to animals in captivity as an earnest teen, then spent a few decades not really giving zoos a second thought but now i find myself considering a b'day visit to the zoo for DC.
Part of me feels the same as i did all those years ago; a bit queasy and outraged at wild animals in small enclosures and away from their natural habitat. But part of me sees zoos as part of the DC's storybook/telly landscape, a normal and ok thing for kids to engage with.
What to do?

Crowler Wed 30-Oct-13 19:47:24

Many zoos are actively involved in animal conservation.

littleblackno Wed 30-Oct-13 19:49:17

I think zoos have come along way over the past few years and do an awful lot for conservation and awareness. I agree it's depressing seeing the big animals in captivity but it's also depressing to think about whats happening to their own natural environments.
I take my kids to the zoo and have always had a really good day out, they do school trips there too.

KittensoftPuppydog Wed 30-Oct-13 19:50:18

Take them. A lot of the money goes on conservation. Zoos do wonderful things these days in terms of conservation projects.
Also, you might be surprised by the enclosures these days. They put a lot of effort into creating a good and stimulating environment for the animals.

Have a Google of them. I recently went to a sea life type place and their animals are all rescues or breeding program animals. The seal with stumps for flippers (fishing net accident) was DD's favorite. He was swimming well but would have died in the wild.

mrsjay Wed 30-Oct-13 19:52:43

go to the zoo which zoo is it look them up and see what it is like and what conservation projects are zoos are changing but some are still a bit iffy and tbh if the zoos closed where would the animals go cos lets be honest the wild is a bit shit these days, take the kids to the zoo smile

mrsjay Wed 30-Oct-13 19:54:11

I think scarbro (sorry cant spell it) has a sealife rescue place too I have been so many that i can't remember if it was scarbourough (sp) or not

harticus Wed 30-Oct-13 19:54:32

Go to the zoo.

BeScarefulWhatYouWitchFor Wed 30-Oct-13 20:05:17

Yes, Scarborough has a sea life centre, assuming it's still there. It was about 10 years ago when my mum and I took the DC.

mrsjay Wed 30-Oct-13 20:07:17

about 6/7 since we went they did have a seal and sea animal rescue they also have a turtle rescue abroad somewhere they rescued a giant turtle from there

Some zoos are better than others. Some are successfully breeding animals who are extinct in the wild, and even reintroducing them in limited numbers. Some raise funds for conservation work "in the field" so to speak, so your entry fee pays for the prevention of deforestation elsewhere.

Some are still shit, though. Still too small and too concrete-y, rather than mimicking natural behaviours and habitats.

mrsjay Wed 30-Oct-13 20:09:07

Some are still shit, though. Still too small and too concrete-y, rather than mimicking natural behaviours and habitats.

^ ^ that

ReallyTired Wed 30-Oct-13 20:41:23

I think that a lot depends on which zoo you have in mind. Whipsnade is a lovely zoo, but I am sure there are some cramped horrible ones left

EatingAllTheCrumpets Wed 30-Oct-13 20:58:25

Take them. Zoos, IMO, are a necessary evil. Often they have very strong conservation links.

I do feel that zoos are beneficial to children, I remember seeing a real tiger for the first time, god she was beautiful. And the thought that they were under threat horrified me. I'm not an activist particularly but I'm mindful of my impact in the world and I do think a lot of that is to do with seeing that animal in the flesh, not on tv or in a book, but really there.

Bunbaker Wed 30-Oct-13 21:06:10

This year I have taken DD to Whipsnade and Chester Zoos. We also visit Yorksire Wildlife Park in Doncaster regularly. The enclosures are spacious and these zoos play an active part in wildlife conservation. I learned about the Amur leopard conservation programme at YWP and was saddend to hear that there are only 35 of these leopards left in the wild. Without the breeding programme these leopards will die out.

Jan49 Wed 30-Oct-13 21:16:12

I had this dilemma when my ds was little. I ended up taking him to a zoo when it had a special evening event that you didn't pay for, as I felt I didn't want to pay towards keeping animals in captivity. I think the conservation side is only a very small part of it. Personally I'd rather be dead than kept alive by being caged in an unsuitable environment. I'd rather see video of animals in the wild.

We now live near a sea life type centre. My adult son said he didn't want to go as he didn't agree with sea animals being in captivity. I decided I'd like to go and find out more about it, so we eventually went but I don't agree with its existence.

Maybe you could talk to your dc a lot about the animals' natural environment. What shocked me once was meeting a little girl who when asked where kangeroos came from replied "a zoo". I wouldn't want my dc to think like that.

Bunbaker Wed 30-Oct-13 21:34:52

I happily pay to visit a zoo because the ones I visit are very much involved in conservation.
This is what Chester zoo does
And this is what YWP does.

Hulababy Wed 30-Oct-13 21:41:37

We go to YWP a lot, we have annual cards and it isn't far from us really. I remember it as a very small farm but seen how it has grown and changed over the years, and how much it actually does to rescue animals from poorly run zoos or captivity and the amount of space dedicated to each enclosure, etc. The animals there don't appear to demonstrate behaviours which indicate stress or suffering. Thy are currently trying to rescue a polar bear which is being held in a concrete enclosure in the heats of somewhere like Mexico.

Also like Chester Zoo and London Zoo, esp the newer enclosures.

Bunbaker Wed 30-Oct-13 21:48:55

I didn't know about the polar bear. I hope they succeed. I love YWP as well, we have been going every year for the last four years as it isn't too far for us, but haven't been this year. I love the fact that you can walk through so many of the enclosures.

We started going there after they rescued the lions.

goldenlula Wed 30-Oct-13 21:57:24

We have annual passes in our local zoo. It does a lot towards conservation, houses endangered species and is part of the breeding programs to increase the numbers of some species. They also support a game reserve, can't remember where though! I would look into which zoo you want to visit.

mrsjay Wed 30-Oct-13 22:02:26

there is a little zoo near me i have been once and they rescued 3 circus bears their enclosure is amazing and according to their fb page the bears are preparing to hibernate which they would never have been allowed to do before smile so zoos have their place and as somebody up thread said they are good for children to see animals

mrsjay Wed 30-Oct-13 22:03:03

My friend goes to YWP a lot she loves it

Ohwhatwitcheryisthis Wed 30-Oct-13 22:18:51

we like South lakes zoo. Do loads for tiger conservation. And is in a beautiful place.

Ionlywantitall Thu 31-Oct-13 01:06:14

I refuse to take my son to the zoo for the reasons you already outlined. 'Conservation' seems to be the new buzzword making it okay to keep animals in breeding captivity.

I love to see animals in a natural environment, but my in laws brought my son and I to a infamous one in the south of Ireland. In fairness they honestly thought a 'wildlife park' and 'zoo' were separate things. I was appalled to see little changed since I was a child. The eagle enclosure was smaller than my kitchen. sad.

Never again.

<checks veggie credentials>

Bunbaker Thu 31-Oct-13 08:40:54

Ionlywantitall Not all zoos are like that. Why don't you read some of the other posts on here?

For example the Amur leopard is critically endangered. If we just left them to it they would become extinct. Ideally the conservation programme should just be implemented in the wild, but it doesn't take other factors into account such as inbreeding (due to the small gene pool), poaching, conflict with humans and scarcity of prey.

In principle I don't like the idea of animals being in cages, but all the recent zoos I have visited have huge enclosures, and until we can stop illegal trade/loss of habitat etc we have to accept that zoos go a long way to help prevent some of these animals becoming extinct.

If you don't like zoos, how about visiting a safari park instead?

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