Zoo Treks

Article excerpt

TRAVEL the world on a virtual zoological field trip from the Serengeti Plains to the Amazon Jungle or the from the frozen Arctic tundra to the tropical rainforests. Enter the world of online zoos and experience all sorts of multimedia presentations such as animal cams, movie clips, games, beautiful photographs, and interactive learning modules. Watch a kookaburra hatching at the Woodlands Zoo, delight in the antics of polar bears bobbing for pumpkins in San Diego, and discover loads of facts about animal habitats from a variety of zoo sites. This treasure-trove of educational information will captivate kids for hours.

Austin Zoo

Identify the animals in the zoo by clicking on the photo images in the gallery. Select an animal from the animal database and learn about its life span, size, and diet and how the animal was acquired. View a photograph and learn where the animal's natural habitat is located on a map. Follow the zoo map to determine where to find the animal exhibits. In the For Kids Only section, play a milking game to see how successful you are at keeping a goat fed and milked.

Birmingham Zoo

Read how the Birmingham Zoo collaborates with other states and countries to help endangered animal species. The site includes information on conservation, a site map, programs, and free e-newsletters.

Columbus Zoo

Jack Hanna put the Columbus, Ohio, Zoo on the map with his countless appearances on the Late Show with David Letterman. Take a virtual tour of the zoo's exhibits to learn about specific animals and their habitats. Print out fun facts, play games and puzzles, and color pictures. Be sure to watch the video of Bodhi, the adorable baby Asian elephant.

Folsom's Children's Zoo and Botanical Gardens

Have students identify the animals on the 32-second video from this Nebraska zoo. The site includes a timeline of the zoo as well as fast facts about the animals. A map of the world shows where the animals' natural habitats are located. Interesting facts about many of the zoo's inhabitants, including information about the animal's diet, enemies, and classification, are displayed, along with color photographs.

Minnesota Zoo

Take a virtual tour of the Minnesota Zoo to learn about the zoo's Minnesota Trail, the Tropics Trail, Discovery Bay, and the Wells Fargo Family Farm. The A-Z animal index, organized by native habitats, provides photographs and information on all the zoo's animals. Animal cams of a shark and gibbon allow real-time viewing. The Kids' Corner includes interactive activities and games to assist students in learning about animals through problem-solving.

The National Zoo, Washington, D.C.

Smithsonian National Zoological Park's Web site, also called the National Zoo, greets visitors with a ticker tape of the latest zoo news and information regarding animals and happenings at the zoo. Selecting the photographs of animals provides information about the animals and offers ideas and activities for further study. There are live animal cams, and an area called the think tank studies the behaviors of animals to determine the difference between instinct and thinking. Take a virtual visit to the Kids' Farm, the zoo's newest exhibit, and learn how much time, dedication, and knowledge it takes to raise animals for food. Then see how a pizza is grown in the pizza garden.

N.C. Zoo

The North Carolina Zoo has a searchable database so you can find zoo animals quickly. Search the site for your favorite animal and learn about its characteristics, diet, reproduction, environmental connections, and how to protect these animals. Take a virtual photo tour of the entrance to the African, North American, and Australian exhibits. The Australian Walkabout includes a 360-degree look at the entrance, which is decorated by aboriginal art. Investigate the Australian animal habitats and read about this country's culture. The Dreamtime stories use folklore to tell why animals look and behave the way they do. …