School Adventures | Rainy Day Zoo Trip

 On the Truss Bridge in Folsom California, on the way to the Folsom Zoo Sanctuary

I chaperoned my son's class walking field trip to a Folsom Zoo Sanctuary a couple of weeks ago. You never know what the weather is like this time of year. We had the most beautiful springlike weather the week before and I was so hopeful that it would remain that way. But, as is often the case, Mother Nature had other ideas.

A storm cell moved into our area and threatened to get worse. And to make our day a true field trip adventure, it was scheduled to move right above the path that our class would be traveling...at the same time.

This did not deter our 4th graders, though. Some classes at my son's school are quite adventurous as are some of the teachers. I can safely say that our teacher is comfortably adventurous. She kept an eye on the storm and deemed that it was safe enough for us to head out in the morning. She had planned a contingency plan  (thank God!).

The Plan

The plan was to follow the bike trail to the zoo. The children take nature walks every other week, so we were all confident that it would be a nice exercise for them.

Oh weather! Why so fickle?

That morning was nice and cool, perfect weather for a long hike with kids. On the way to school, I noticed that the clouds were dark, and a few sprinkles came down. But when we arrived, the sun popped out and I felt optimistic that the weather would hold until we returned.

It started to rain while we were on the trail. All of the parents knew the weather conditions so *most* of the kids were prepared with rain boots and jackets or ponchos. The kids enjoyed themselves, jumping in and running through the puddles. We all got wet, but not soaked. Some of the kids joked that the wind would help them dry. It was a relief to witness the kids with such a positive attitude, given that parts of the path were rocky, steep, and slippery (especially the last leg of the hike).

Former Home of Folsom's Smokey Bear

The Folsom Zoo Sanctuary opened in 1963, when Smokey Bear, then a cub, became its first official resident (not to be confused with Smokey Bear of the Forest Service conservation and wildfire prevention program). It provides a safe haven for animals that have been rescued and cannot be released back into the wild.

After a quick snack and instructions on proper behavior (for the kids, not the adults - ha!), we split up into our groups. My kids loved seeing the big animals and appreciated knowing their stories. They especially enjoyed the sound exhibits scattered all over the park that let them hear the growls, roars, and "talking" that the animals do (the Tiger Roar made one of my kids scream. This was pretty funny.)

Rain is coming

Anyway, after a little more than an hour later, their teacher mentioned that we would be meeting earlier than she instructed for lunch. She also mentioned that we would be driving home, instead of walking. The storm cell was headed our way. Given that we would be walking over a metal bridge, this was the best call.

Soon after we had lunch with the kids, we heard thunder boom and it started sprinkling again. A few minutes after we left the zoo, the rain pelted down on the cars. If we had kept our plan to walk the 3 miles home, we would have been caught in the downpour.

Go Figure...

I had a conversation with my son that evening before bed. My son actually said that he wouldn't have minded getting wet. It's just the hiking that he minded... O.o

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