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Art&Seek Jr: We’re Goin’ to the Zoo!

by Therese Powell 22 May 2012 2:34 PM

We’re going to the zoo, zoo, zoo; How about you, you, you? You can come too, too, too. We’re going to the zoo, zoo, zoo.


Art&Seek Jr. is one mom‘s quest to find activities to end the seemingly endless chorus of the “I’m Bored Blues” while having fun herself.  Impossible you say? Check back on Tuesdays for kid-friendly events that are fun for adults, too.

It was Career Day at Rose’s school last Friday and, as usual,  we waited until Thursday night at bedtime before selecting the proper attire for a pint-size veterinarian.  Sadly, my Anne Klein cotton blouse was a casualty because no other “lab coat” could found at that hour.  A toy stethoscope, a stuffed dog  and an old KERA name tag with tape over it and we were good to go.  The next morning at school as we encountered no less than a dozen other mini-vets two things struck me.   (1) Many high-end ladies blouses died bravely for the “lab-coat” cause that day and (2)  the love affair between kids and animals is very evident on Career Day.

I don’t have to tell you that a visit to the local zoo is a great treat for the animal lover in your life.  Besides the obvious entertainment value it’s also great exercise hiking around to all those exhibits and then back to the car at the end of the day.  Of course, both Fort Worth and Dallas have fabulous world-class zoos, but here are are two smaller zoos that are worth a visit.

Don’t forget to feed the giraffe while you’re at the Frank Buck Zoo in Gainesville

The Frank Buck Zoo in Gainesville (named after native son Frank “Bring Em Back Alive” Buck  who collected wild animals from all over the world), bills itself as “the best little zoo in Texas”.  The zoo started as the Gainesville Community Circus in 1930 and is currently home to more than 130 animals.  It’s the perfect zoo for little ones with it’s loop design. The mile-long path around the zoo is handicapped/ stroller accessible and features an elevated walkway over the kangaroos, giraffes and zebras.  I think the best feature of this zoo is that kids get to see the giraffes at eye level. They can also feed them during the public feeding every day.  Another attraction near the zoo in Leonard Park  is the 1/4 size replica of a steam engine train.  The train’s route is only about a mile but the ride is a nice relaxing end to your day in Gainesville.

Feeding chickens at The Gentle Zoo is just the ticket for city kids

The Gentle Zoo in Forney should also be on your summer bucket list.  Rose and I and her friend Zoe visited last weekend and we had a super time.  Besides the bumper crop of animals to pet (and feed) there are also also pony rides, a bounce house, a playground and a train ride.  The “train” is actually several small cars pulled by a John Deere tractor, but the girls loved it as we bumpty-bumped all around the property.  My favorite moment of our visit was watching a girl of about 8 or 9 “play” with a pony in a corral.  They were on opposite sides of the fence and as she ran back and forth the length of the fence the pony would follow. As soon as she stopped the pony would rear up on its hind legs and beg for more.  Yes, the place is small but it’s packed with simple pleasures.

Therese Powell is an Art&Seek calendar coordinator and KERA-TV producer.  She spends most of her free time seeking out adventures for her 7-year-old daughter, Rose.  Tell us about your time at the zoo or clue us in to your ideas for quirky kid adventures by leaving a comment. Or e-mail Therese at [email protected].