New Little Explorers Nature Play Program Offered at Ross Park Zoo

The new program for children aged 2-5 and caregivers will be held on Thursday mornings in March

By Kate Fletcher, Macaroni KID Binghamton Publisher February 21, 2024

Are you ready for an unforgettable journey through the wonders of the natural world? The Ross Park Zoo is launching its brand-new "Little Explorers Nature Play Program," designed specifically for little adventurers aged 2-5 and their caregivers. This immersive experience, kicking off in March 2024, promises Thursday mornings filled with exploration, discovery, and playful learning, fostering a love for nature in your little one's heart. 

Gear up for a sensory feast! Your little explorers will embark on a captivating nature scavenger hunt, unearthing hidden treasures amidst the zoo's wonders. Their senses will come alive with sensory bins filled with sand, leaves, and pinecones for tiny fingers to explore. Get ready to see creativity blossom as they transform fallen leaves into vibrant art and unleash their inner artist with nature's paints. But the fun doesn't stop there! They'll be roaring like lions and hopping like bunnies with animal-inspired movement games. And what's an adventure without learning about amazing creatures? They'll become animal architects, crafting critter creations inspired by unique adaptations, and even turn into tiny detectives, deciphering the secret messages left behind in animal tracks. It's a nature play extravaganza that's sure to leave your little ones buzzing with excitement and newfound knowledge!

Each Thursday, participants will begin and end at the zoo's gift shop. The schedule for the two hour program will look like this:

10:00 AM - 10:15 AM:

  • Welcome: Greet participants and discuss safety guidelines

10:15 AM - 10:30 AM:

  • Walk to Nature's Post: Interactive walk with fun facts and trivia about the surrounding environment

10:30 AM - 11:00 AM:

  • Nature Play Activities: Scavenger hunts, sensory bins, art, and more

11:00 AM - 11:30 AM:

  • Walk to Gift Shop: Scenic walk with opportunities to observe animals

11:30 AM - 11:45 AM:

  • Snack Time: Nutritious snacks and social interaction

11:45 AM - 12:00 PM:

  • Conclusion: Recap of the day's activities and information on upcoming events

To ensure a personalized and enriching experience, spaces are limited to just 10 little explorers (with accompanying caregivers) per session. The program includes four Thursdays in March (14th, 21st, and 28th) from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm. Members pay $20/session, while non-members are $25 for caregiver and child. Register online to secure one of the ten spots.

While this nature play program will initially be offered on Thursdays in March, the zoo envisions more sessions in both spring and fall - and potentially more frequently based on community interest. With plans to develop a dedicated nature play area within the grounds, the zoo expects to offer more programs like Little Explorers for different age groups in the future.

So, if you're looking for an immersive and playful way to ignite your child's love for the outdoors, this is just the beginning! Stay tuned for updates and follow the Ross Park Zoo's journey as they cultivate a world of wonder for our community's youngest explorers.

Did you enjoy this article? Show some love! Macaroni KID Binghamton sends a free newsletter every Thursday focused on fun events and information for local families. Join thousands of your neighbors and subscribe to the newsletter to receive the weekly scoop! You can also follow us on Facebook and Instagram for updates throughout the week!