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October 2012
Contents / home
Volunteers at the zoo
Let's stop hawkers
Vital role of our oceans
Holiday fun in the sun!
On the horns of a dilemma
Walkthrough aviary to open
Cape vulture chick born
Getting flamingo nests ready
Innovative magnetic sweeper
Bear necessities
ZooClub updates
Horned baboon spider
Conservation Grapevine

Holiday fun in the sun!

  On the holiday courses children get to explore the Zoo, observing the wildlife and learning new facts about fauna and flora.
  Making friends with the animals in the Zoo's farmyard.
  Experiencing the differences between mammals and reptiles.
  Reptile curator Mike Adams encourages learners to feel different textures of reptile skin.
  Young learners enjoy a game of snakes and ladders.
  Measuring the wing span of a Black-shouldered kite.
With the December 2012 school holidays around the corner, it is time to sign up the kids for some of the exciting youth courses on offer at the National Zoo.

In the safe environment of the Zoo, your children can continue to learn outside the classroom about wildlife in a big city setting filled with wild animals.

There are eight courses to choose from, which run from eight o' clock in the morning to four o' clock in the afternoon. The courses offer a jam-packed day of learning and participating in different hands-on activities. Each learner leaves the Zoo with a folder filled with the worksheet activities they completed, their arts and crafts and an attendance certificate.

There is no limit to how many courses your child may sign up for, so enrol them NOW for some learning fun!

Meet the Birds (Grade R - 3)
During this course children learn about the characteristics of birds, focusing mainly on their external features. They learn to classify birds by looking at their bills, feet and feathers while participating in various activities at the bird enclosures. The Zoo is explored to look at different bird nests and then the children collect material to make their very own example of a bird nest. Eggs are provided for the children to paint and camouflage -- to add to their nest which they can take home. By the end of the day, participants will be able to identify 20 different birds and will also make a bird feeder filled with seed to take home to attract birds to their own garden.
Afrikaans: 10 December; 18 December; 3 January
English: 12 December; 21 December

Monkey Tricks (Grade R - 3)
During this course, children learn about primates and how to identify different primates through their appearance and characteristics. The communication methods and body language of primates are examined and explained at each primate enclosure. Learners will observe what the different primates eat at the Zoo and the enrichment programmes they are part of while living at the Zoo. The course includes activities such as drawing their own enclosure design to suit the primates' lifestyle as well as colouring in a monkey design which is then cut out to construct a monkey for them to take home.
Afrikaans: 11 December; 21 December
English: 20 December; 7 January

Meet the Mammals (Grade R - 3)
During this course, the children explore the Zoo -- learning about different mammals, what the differences are between mammals and reptiles and the different characteristics of each. They learn about the feeding habits of mammals and the features that make each mammal unique. This is a practical course towards understanding the adaptations of mammals. Children will learn about different skin coverings by feeling different examples of skins and furs. They will also learn the habitats of mammals. They will build puzzles of mammals and select a mammal picture to colour in. By the end of the day they would have completed various activity worksheets and would have made their own animal masks while listening to 'Legends of Africa' stories about mammals.
Afrikaans: 19 December
English: 10 December

Amazing Reptiles (Grade R - 3)
During this course, the youngsters are introduced to various species of reptiles, especially those housed at the Zoo's Reptile Park. The different characteristics of reptiles and their adaptations will be explored and lessons taught how to identify different reptiles according to these characteristics. They will get the opportunity to build reptile puzzles, observe the life of a tortoise up close, get to feel different textures of reptile skins and go behind the scenes to see the Reptile Park's kitchen and observe the preparations of the reptiles' meals. The day will end with 'Legends of Africa' storytelling and playing a snakes and ladders game.
Afrikaans: 14 December; 20 December; 4 January
English: 12 December

Scavenger Hunt (Grade 4 - 7)
During this course the learners explore, investigate and collect information about different species of animals housed in the Zoo. They will learn about different predators and the differences between them. Map and orientation skills will also be taught during this course while the children are exploring the Zoo. The feeding habits and general behaviour of the animals will be explained. Towards the end of the day they will take part in a treasure hunt in a specified section of the Zoo and will hunt for clues and facts about animals. The day's activities include making animal face masks, a crossword puzzle, a worksheet on 'Guess what animal I am?' and taking part in an activity where they use their senses while exploring the Zoo.
Afrikaans: 19 December
English: 14 December; 21 December

World of Reptiles (Grade 4 - 7)
During this course, the children learn about the different groups of reptiles and fascinating facts about them. They will learn more about snake behaviours, adaptations and myths of various reptiles during a demonstration of live snakes. The day's activities include matching the correct reptiles under each category of reptiles and a tour of the Reptile Park, where they will observe the movement patterns of different reptiles. The children will also be taken on a behind-the-scenes tour of the mice breeding room. An interactive "snake" game will be played, during which they will learn about reptiles' prey and predators and the day will end off with creating snake art for them to take home.
Afrikaans: 13 December
English: 14 December

Junior Nature Conservator (Grade 7 - 11)
This is a five-day course which provides various exciting opportunities for the aspiring young nature conservators around the Zoo, including working alongside conservation staff from the different Zoo sections. The enrolled learners will also have the opportunity to work with the animals in the Zoo's farmyard. Throughout this course they will be on an adventure exploring the flora and fauna of South Africa within the Zoo grounds. Once the children have completed the course, they will receive a Junior Nature Conservator T-shirt and a certificate. They will then be allowed to join the NZG's ZooClub, which is made up of members that volunteer at the Zoo on Saturdays and during the school holidays. The ZooClub members also participate in life science expos and various fieldtrips.
English: 10 - 14 December; 18 - 21 December; 3,4,7 & 8 January

Junior Nature Conservator Course (a five-day course): R200
One-day courses: R70

All courses start promptly at 08:00 and end at 16:00, unless otherwise indicated. Children should please bring their own lunch or make use of the National Zoo's restaurant facilities.

Bookings are essential
Tel: 012 339 2773
Email or

Download and complete the registration form

By Claire Fordred, NZG Intern

Zoo and Aquarium Visitor