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article imagePhoto Essay: A photographic safari at the local zoo Special

By Elizabeth Parker     Aug 12, 2013 in Lifestyle
Toronto - Looking for an adventure to take your kids or grandkids on? Try something old with a twist. A photographic safari at the local zoo.
Children get bored over the summer holidays and a zoo is often put on the list of outings to relieve that boredom. How do you get them to calm down, look at the animals and learn something when they are at the zoo, not just whine to go on the rides or spend the day at the splash pad?
Hand each child a disposable camera or an inexpensive digital and bring your own. Ask each their favorite animal from those available at your local zoo and go on a photographic safari hunt for that animal at the zoo. You don't have to bring the kids to have fun with this, you can go to improve your own photography skills and wildlife knowledge. This is a great way to spend a day alone at the zoo too.
The endangered Giant Panda photographed hiding in the long brush eating bamboo.  Pandas spend most o...
The endangered Giant Panda photographed hiding in the long brush eating bamboo. Pandas spend most of their time eating as their diet of 99% bamboo requires them to eat steady to get the nutrients they require.
Getting the kids involved in finding the brochure on arrival and reading the map to get to their animal will keep them busy all day. If you wish you can print this all off on line the day before to get them planning ahead. Have a hunt order (who's first to last). Do stop to take pictures and view other animals along your route. While the kids take their pictures and look for clear views you'll get time to take yours. Have them develop their favorite photo when they're done for their bedroom.
Grevy’s Zebras are the largest Zebras.  Born with brown stripes  they darken as they get older.  S...
Grevy’s Zebras are the largest Zebras. Born with brown stripes, they darken as they get older. See what you can photograph hiding behind the brush.
My safari was at the Metro Toronto Zoo. Not only can you find the information about what is at the zoo, but all the animal names and information on the animals can be found on their web site under the Explore the Zoo link. My photos are a small taste of what you'll find when poking around the corners at the Toronto Zoo. What's at your zoo?
Babies being hatched. Boys always love to see the crocodiles.
West African dwarf crocodile babies and eggs just hatching.   This would be a hard find in the wild.
West African dwarf crocodile babies and eggs just hatching. This would be a hard find in the wild.
White lions are rare in the wild but are being reintroduced to the wild by the Global White Lion Protection Trust. It was believed at one time that white lions could not survive in the wild. Their survival in the wild has been found to be a misunderstanding and is not affected by their colour. The lions are not albino nor their own species. They range in colour form blond to white and really are beautiful to look at. A recessive gene inhibits their colour. What did you find out at your zoo? Find more about White Lions on wikipedia.
White lions are not albinos. They are the same African Lions as the coloured family with a recessive...
White lions are not albinos. They are the same African Lions as the coloured family with a recessive gene that inhibits colour so they are blonde to near white.
Polar bears in the wild have been suffering habitat loss. A great way to see them and learn more if you can't make the trek to Churchill is at your zoo.
Catch the Polar bears being fed when you re at the zoo.  Great photo opportunity.
Catch the Polar bears being fed when you're at the zoo. Great photo opportunity.
The African Elephant is the largest living land animal. If you can't get to Africa on a safari, see if you can photograph them behind some brush to look more like they would in nature. I caught the fence, but these are majestic looking animals. These elephants won't be in Toronto much longer as explained in the Toronto Star. Bob Barker offered to pay to have them sent to a sanctuary in California so they wouldn't have to be in the cold. The zoo is currently training them for their long journey.
Peak over the brush and just imagine you re on safari in Africa while you photo these amazing Africa...
Peak over the brush and just imagine you're on safari in Africa while you photo these amazing African elephants that are soon to head to California at Bob Barker's request to an elephant sanctuary.
See what you can find at your local zoo and have a fabulous day hunting.
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