Entertaining 3 children who's ages span just over 6 years can often be tricky. After all, a 16 year old girl and a 9 year old boy don't exactly have much in common. One would prefer a day in the city, shopping and pampering while the other prefers to be running around outdoors. Stuck in the middle is a 14 year old brother who has outgrown many of the interests of his younger sibling and yet has no desire to partake in any of the things that interest his older sibling. Finding things to keep us busy can get tricky, to say the least. There's always someone who won't be happy. The trick is to try to accommodate them the best you can. inevitably, someone is always left out.
My youngest seems to have an overabundance of energy to burn. He's always happiest when he can run around. My middle child is a walking encyclopaedia and soaks up facts like a sponge - He'd much rather be home with his iPad. My daughter is more of an adventurer - happiest when she is busy. Happier still with her camera. A trip to New York's Bronx Zoo, it seemed would appeal to the masses.
I have always encouraged my kids to be creative. It doesn't have to be with a brush and a canvas, paper and pen. It can be anything that involves their hands. And, of course, because I'm so passionate about photography, I encourage my children to take pictures whenever they can. Photography helps to open up their world - It encourages them to see things differently. They can zoom in on tiny details that the naked eye so often misses, and see the larger picture as well. Additionally, having a camera (or iPhone or iPod) keeps them busy when if they're in a situation or place where they may lose interest.
I try to keep my children as engaged as possible - whether we are at a museum, the zoo, the botanical garden or even the beach. I like our excursions to be informative as well as entertaining. And most importantly, at the end of the day, I want them to feel as though they've had a great time and learned something. When a child takes a picture, whether with a camera or phone, the image or images captured will last a lifetime, and instill a sense of accomplishment. There's nothing like seeing your child's face light up, no matter how old they may be, when they know they've created something wonderful.
As for the zoo, some are better than others and we are so very fortunate to have the Bronx Zoo practically down the street - we're less than an hour away. To walk onto the vast property is to forget this vast jungle filled with lions, and tigers and bears, monkeys, giraffes and zebras... camels, reptiles and sea lions... where the deer and the antelope roam, is in the middle of the most energetic and vibrant cities in the world.
The Bronx Zoo which was first opened on November 8th, 1899, probably the most famous in the world, covers 265 acres is managed by the Wildlife Conservancy Society. The Zoo boasts over 6000 animals! The Wild Asia Monorail takes visitors over on a stretch that is about 1.6 miles, along the Bronx River, allowing riders to see animals that are only visible by monorail. The zoo also has an amazing butterfly exhibit, a carousel ride, 4-D movie theater and offers up camel rides for those adventurous enough to want to try. There's a great deal more as well. For information visit the Bronx Zoo's Website.
The images below were captured with the basic Canon T3 which is now discontinued, but the Canon EOS Rebel T5 EF-S 18-55mm IS II Digital SLR is even more advanced and is a great camera at a great price point. I used the Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III USM Telephoto Zoom Lens for Canon SLR Cameras