5 Rules For Parenting Etiquette At The Zoo!

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I having recently traveled to the Smithsonian Zoo in DC and the Dallas Zoo and I am just astounded at the amount of parents not watching their children.  Moms and dads pulling their kids from one animal to the next and while the kids are watching (or yelling and tapping on the glass)the parents are scrolling through their phone.  It's an epidemic of neglectful parenting.  I get it, you're busy.  I'm busy.  We're all "busy" but when did our children come second?  Last week Harambe,  an endangered lowland gorilla, lost his life because someone was not watching their child.  The child intruded in a gorilla habitat, that I have no doubt took some time and fell in.  The gorilla (who hate moats) went in protective mode and tried to keep the child safe from the screaming people.  As a result the gorilla was shot and killed.

So impressed with the Gorilla Habitat at the Dallas Zoo and with the knowledge and compassion of the zoo keepers there.  The Dallas Zoo works with the Dian Fossey Foundation.

When taking your kiddos to the zoo this summer - 

1.  Get Off The Phone  -  This does not need explanation.  You're with your kids for a family day.  Be present, show them they are worth your time and more important than your phone!  They notice.

2.  Show respect -  The animals are already in captivity, they do not have the luxury of being in the wild and living as nature intended.  Show respect. 

3.  Educate Yourself -   Learn about them and share with your children a love of animals so they will in-turn show respect and nuture a love of nature.   There is information on the natural habitat of each animal outside the exhibits. Read. Learn. Share.  Ask questions. Check out the daily attractions and seek out zoo keeper's talks and animal feedings.  

4.  Be Quiet -  I cannot understand why on earth parents let their children (and sometimes the parents) tap on the glass, yelling and making loud noises.  Why?  Would you appreciate someone treating you in that manner in your own home?   It's rude and extremely stressful on the animals and quite frankly to other people that do have manners visiting the same exhibit.  

5.  GET OFF THE PHONE!  Yes, that was already covered, but it needs to be repeated. 

Take a picture with your phone. Sure, I do it too.  But then turn it OFF.  Post your pictures after the visit when you get home.  

I am in complete agreement with Jeff Corwin - Zoos are NOT your babysitters!  

Your child, your responsibility.

I have always had a deep connection and love for gorillas that I cannot explain.  I hear people say their closest to humans but I that is simply not true.  That would be chimpanzees.  Chimpanzees can be violent, go to war over territories and they eat meat and kill other chimpanzees.  We could learn a lot from the gorillas who are gentle, kind, protective, vegetarian and do not go to war with each other.  

Before you leave a comment on how the women was watching other children and it wasn't her fault.   I understand and I normally will take a moms side over anything.  It's a hard job and my little one to be quite honest is equal to watching three kids. (those who know me...are laughing in agreement). In this case though? No.  If you need help and have too many to watch, get a friend to go with you.  

Zoos are not babysitters. Be the parent.