Tag Archives: zoo

Nature Playscapes–Zoo New England

Zoo New England educators Stephanie Veitz and Jennifer Jenson asked us if we’d be interested in being one of the first to check out their new natural playscapes.  Let’s think about the type of things that make it onto the “Angelika and Lindsay perk up their ears” list:

  • playspace– CHECK!
  • natural elements and recycled materials–CHECK!
  • community partnerships–CHECK!
  • nature mentoring–CHECK!
  • art–CHECK!
  • efficient, creative, and environmentally responsible use of under-utilized empty space–CHECK!
  • being surrounded by actual perky-eared animals–CHECK!

Yes, I think Zoo New England thought correctly!  They invited us to take a look at their work in progress last weekend.  This time, we went to check out the Stone Zoo, although they are constructing a similar playscape at Franklin Park, as well.

Check out the sensory table!  They can easily change out the contents, although these selections are hits:


While a focus is child-led exploring, they offer a variety of prompts.  Here’s a nature guide worksheet.  They also include leaf rubbing supplies, a scavenger hunt, and will continue to include more based on observation and inspiration.  IMG_1471

What would your children do with a simple wooden frame?  Bridget and Fiona just completed Friends of the Fells youth programming and were inspired to share their recently honed lean-to skills.  This will be a likely be a common approach, but I bet it will be far from the only one.


Colorful blocks, flowers, and mirrors?  Add some art to your engineering, or discuss optics, color, and more:


The girls took to the “balance beams” right away.  They will also be including a variety of stumps to hop on or hide behind in this space.


The zoos expect to open these spaces to the public by the first week of August, 2016. One exciting addition that had not yet been installed: a large nest replica the children can climb in, similar to the one near the bears Smokey and Bubba!  The space opens next month, but they plan to continue to tweak, develop, and listen to input and feedback.  They’d also like to run workshops with groups–if you’d be interested in joining a Playground Hunt contingent, let us know!  When will you go check out the new Zoo New England playscapes?



Inserts for Advent Calendar: Signs and Logos

I started making this collection of Boston Area attractions a couple of years ago in the hope of printing it and putting little slips of paper into my children’s advent calendar. Finally got back to it and will ACTUALLY do it this year (rather than just putting in some badly hand-drawn pictures) ==>BostonLogos <== pdf file

And here are the logos I have included so far… Hope it helps with making an excellent adventure-filled month of December.

Stone Zoo

Had a surprisingly relaxing visit to the Stone Zoo in late March. Recently there has been a tremendous amount of whining (Alex and me), wanting to stay home, inside (Alex and me), and exceptionally loud screeching (Jen and me). So we’ve avoided the zoo, lest we scare all the animals. Plus, I’ve been thinking that the zoo at home is quite enough, thank you. For those of you who don’t know, I live with: two children, two big dogs, three cats, and a husband.

But,… we braved the -erm- warm weather and went to the Stone Zoo. Jen had fun teasing the bears by running back and forth with them, Alex had fun digging for dinosaur bones in the dinosaur-bone-sand-pit-exhibit, and I had fun doing puzzles in the Discovery center.


This year the Stone Zoo Lights were a complete success. Alex at almost three years old was totally over the moon and alternated between being speechless and squeaking. Jen spent the entire time with wide eyes and occasionally pointed at lights. Josh and I (Angelika) had an excellent time watching them.

When you enter the Stone Zoo there is a path with about a bazillion lights to follow through the Yukon Creek section. We didn’t see any of the actual animals, but the lights were plenty exciting. The lights take you through the forest near the entrance, to the monkeys, beavers, and the reindeer. This years photo-with-an-animal was unfortunately not with the cute reindeer, but a slightly scary owl. Read the sad, but medically interesting, story of what happened to the reindeer HERE.

After the zoo you enter the Magic Winter Wonderland. There are lots of lights, lots of animated plush figures, a large model train display, and a very pretty Santa’s Castle, where you can get your photos taken with Santa.

Turns out our camera is tremendously bad at taking photos at night, even on the night setting, so the photo above is from the Stone Zoo website. The blurry ones below are with our camera.

Note the separate entry free for the Lights. The Zoo closes at 4pm, everyone has to leave, and then they open again (with separate entrance fee) at 5pm. From the Zoo website

ZooLights is open through Sunday, January 2, 2011 from 5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. ZooLights is closed on December 25.

Weeknight Prices (Monday through Thursday): $5.00 per person, $4.00 per member, Under 2 are free

Weekend Nights (Friday through Sunday): $6.00 per person, $5.00 per member, Under 2 are free