Since school is out for summer and everyone has been getting bored at home all day, this month is a great time to take the family to your local zoo and aquarium. June is National Zoo and Aquarium Month and we couldn’t think of a better way to spend the day than teaching the youth about conservation, recreation and research. For most of us, these facilities are our only opportunity to see animals close up and understand more about them.
Second after education, conservation is of the upmost importance for zoos and aquariums and this month brings attention to this key mission. According to the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) in 2015, there were 1,000 partners invested in conserving the wild around the world. Stated in their 2015 Annual Reports on Conservation and Science, 700 species benefitted from conservation actions with focuses on mammals such as cheetahs , snow leopards and asian elephants. In addition to mammals there were specific species categories that were targeted like amphibians, birds, reptiles, invertebrates and fishes.
Education programming aided in 91 million participants in programs that focus on actions to address conservation issues. Over five million dollars was spent on STEM education alone in 2015 as well. The top two frequently reported conservations actions were to learn about the issues and teach others/encourage collective action and make informed purchasing decisions/be a conscious consumer. When delivering conservation education programs, AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums raise awareness about conservation issues and engage visitors in actions that help save wildlife.
Connecting People to Nature
Visiting your local zoos and aquariums is a family bonding opportunity that cannot be missed. This outing can represent a nature experience for you and your family that connects the natural, world of the wild in a more familiar setting. AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums are gateways through which millions of people learn about and value the diversity of the natural world. Zoos and aquariums are established with the goal to inspire the public and involve them in the stewardship and conservation of species on Earth. Each year about 50 million children and 12 million student learners visit U.S. zoos and aquariums.
Here are the top five most-visited zoos in America:
|Zoo Name||Number of Annual Visitors|
|1. San Diego Zoo||3,200,000|
|2. Lincoln Park Zoo, Chicago||3,000,000|
|3. Saint Louis Zoo, MO||2,934,753|
|4. Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, OH||2,374,125|
|5. Brookfield Zoo, IL||2,283,065|
In honor of this observance, go out and explore your local zoo and aquarium and show your children how exciting nature can be! If you don’t have a zoo or aquarium near you, that doesn’t mean your kids can’t see some of the world’s most amazing animals in action. Many zoos have web cams set up so that anyone can log onto their web site and enjoy the animals’ antics.