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Saturday, November 5, 2011

Zoos (and Aquariums) Around the World 11.5.11

Do you love animals? If you do, then you and I would get along just perfectly. I have loved animals and the zoo for as long as I can remember. It was a favorite family activity, because it was fun, affordable and took up most of a day. These days the zoo can cost a little bit more, but there’s so much to see and you can bring your own food, take a camera and enjoy a great outing. The fact is, we both have such fond memories of the zoo, that we plan a visit anytime we are on vacation. Who knows what kind of new animals you’ll see when you step through the gates? It’s exciting! No matter how many zoos you go to, they are all different. You’ll have a unique experience from all the others you’ve visited.
You know who else loves zoos? Kids! If you have one or more, they are bound to think a trip to the zoo is the best thing ever. You might also even be in possession of a zoo membership. If you do, you can use it to its full extent and visit other zoos around the U.S., Mexico and Canada for free or at a 50% discount. Find out which zoos are participating in the program at AZA.org. AZA stands for Association of Zoos and Aquariums, so there are aquariums across North America that also allow for free and discounted admission, too! What little boy isn't thrilled to pieces at the sight of sharks and stingrays? None that I know of! 
While you may not be able to get into international zoos for free or less, they can still be an affordable activity. Factor in the time you may spend there. If it's most of a day, then it may very well be worth the admission fee. How much would other activities cost you? Possibly more! Kids always feel like a day at the zoo or something else they planned is a special day for them. It's also familiar enough with a home activity that they will feel more comfortable in their foreign surroundings. 

Some zoos and aquariums have shows that involve the animals (usually those that have been rehabilitated "rescues") where you be educated on the different types of animals. We took a trip to Busch Gardens Africa in Tampa and we were able to both feed the lorikeets (like below) and watch a show that starred many different animals. We learned quite a bit about them, got to see them up close and were entertained by their antics.

Touch tanks and animal meetings are fantastic for children and adults alike. As you can see from my pictures, I love the lorikeets. I won't hesitate to spend $1 or $5 to feed them. They love fruit and sugar water. I would also recommend not using this exhibit as a time to hope you can get over your fear of birds, unless you are into immersion therapy. Sometimes you get one or two birds and sometimes you get as many that can stand on you, as you see in my second photo there. I have one hanging onto my back, if you can see that, and a few seconds before this picture was taken, I also had one on my head. LOL!

As you can see, Eric likes touch tanks, too.
So, if zoos or aquariums have not been on your travel list, maybe think about adding it to future trips. If a zoo membership won't get you in free to the zoo at your destination, another thing you can look into is CityPASS in the U.S. or search for city passes in other destinations. They almost always include entry to the local zoo and/or aquarium. After those, you can get working on doing the rest of the long list of things your city pass is good for. 

Don't forget to enter the Space Bag TO GO giveaway going on right now. Many entry options and winner will get a bonus if we can get more than 500 entries, so forward to your friends!

I want to remind you again that we have a great newsletter that goes out once a week (maybe twice if something too good to miss presents itself) with updates, tips and blog reminders.

Ebates asked me to tell their readers all about how to save on holiday vacations, so I came up with some non-traditional ways to save you money and you can also refer back to my previous post with them if you are looking to save when visiting family. 

FareCompare is going strong helping its readers learn how to fly affordably and find flights to fit everyone's budget. I have been doing some posting for them and this week they asked me to show business travelers how they can save while they travel all over for work. My blogger friends can certainly use this advice as well, because they use their commute time to blog, journal and write articles. 

It's been a busy week for Shereen Travels Cheap. The book came out and I've guest posted all over. One of my posts this week is on the Madame Deals site. She aims to show you how to save with everyday grocery deals. I offered to show her readers how to save on family travel and she took me up on it. You can read it here.

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