6 Family Days Out That Are Better Than the Zoo
One of the most important things you can do as a parent is teach your children to respect animals.
Most children are naturally fascinated by animals and will leap at the opportunity to learn more about them. But sadly, some attractions aren’t good for animals and teach children all the wrong lessons.
For example, zoos teach children that distressed animal behaviour, such as constant pacing, is “normal”, and circuses that use wild animals conceal the ugly truth about how animals are trained behind the scenes so that children learn to associate the experience with joy.
But it’s not all bad news: the UK offers many nature-oriented activities that don’t come at the cost of animal suffering. Here are some animal-friendly activities for this summer:
Visit a nature reserve to witness British wildlife in a natural habitat.
Grab some binoculars and perhaps a picnic lunch and head off to explore meadows, wetlands or forests, keeping your eyes open for interesting animals along the way. There’s nothing more satisfying than having your patience rewarded with a glimpse of a rare butterfly, a majestic bird of prey or a dazzling kingfisher.
Visit a circus that doesn’t use animals.
You don’t need to write off circuses altogether. If your children particularly enjoy clumsy clowns and the skilful acts that some circuses offer, just seek out an animal-free circus, such as the ones listed here.
See rescued farmed animals in a sanctuary.
Cuddle up with homeless cats and dogs at your local animal shelter.
Some shelters welcome visitors to help socialise the friendly animals in their care. Phone ahead first to check visiting hours. (Note: this activity is not suitable for very young children.)
See stunning wildlife in 3-D at your local IMAX cinema.
Sometimes sitting down in front of a big screen for a few hours is exactly what you need after a day of sightseeing. The astonishing immersive technology at IMAX cinemas will enthral the whole family, leaving you feeling like you’ve spent the last week trekking through the Amazon.
Explore a natural history museum.
Museums can be a favourite for all generations and offer plenty to see in the summer. Whether you fancy browsing a wildlife photography exhibition, taking a school trip to a fossil collection or getting lost in an interactive virtual reality experience, museums offer more than enough for the whole family.
But these ideas are just scratching the surface. Get creative this summer, and tweet us your family’s favourite animal-friendly activity.