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5 Reasons to Budget More Museum and Zoo Visits for the Children

In big Texas cities such as Dallas, Houston or Austin there are many great museums and zoos that children can learn many of the skills mentioned in this guest post below. No matter the community there is always something explore for the family.

Inside Dallas' Perot Museum
Wall Street Journal photo

Museums are a great place to accumulate a wealth of knowledge and take a day trip back in history and zoos offer a chance to see animals that we would never otherwise be able to see. However, thanks to the Internet, some believe that same knowledge can be obtained by running a quick Google search. While the Internet may be full of knowledge – and more than a little misinformation – visiting a museum or a zoo and being able to see artifacts and exotic animals firsthand gives this type of information an entirely new quality that the Internet can’t replicate. Since our kids are growing up in a technology-driven world, it’s up to parents and caregivers to get them away from the computer to visit these venues. Here are some more reasons actually visiting the museum and zoo are beneficial for children:

1. Tactile - Many people learn better by being able to interact with the subject matter. It's called a "hands-on" approach to learning. Museums can offer that same connection by providing experiments and interactions that go beyond what is seen through an Internet search, and zoos with petting zoos and employees that can bring out animals for children to touch and feed do much the same. Even the exhibits that are not allowed to be touched are much more real in person than on a monitor. For instance, you don't really understand just how tall Tyrannosaurus Rex was until you stand at its feet.

2. Professional Knowledge – Where websites like Wikipedia can be updated by anyone with access to a computer, the information contained in a museum is based on facts obtained by skilled professionals. Although new discoveries may change some of the aspects of science and history, you can still be comforted that your children are learning facts and not just hearsay. These museums contain the same knowledge you may find in any reputable encyclopedia.

3. Ever Changing World - Many aspects of this globe are vanishing at a rapid rate. Museums and zoos can help children become more involved with the changes that are happening and create awareness for various facets of the planet. For instance, a zoo can help put a realistic view on the fact that tigers of all breeds are on the verge of extinction. It's one thing to look at a picture of a tiger, but it's another experience altogether when you look into its eyes and realize that its species is on the verge of dying out.

4. Touring Exhibits - Exhibits that are on tour for a short period of time allow people to witness ancient artifacts that few people have ever been able to see. When King Tut comes to your area, you and the children can see a man that existed several millennia ago. Take advantage of history when it’s brought to your hometown!

5. The Technology - A lot of museums will provide the latest technology that is used for discovery. For children, this could mean propelling a ball bearing into the sand in order to understand how craters are made on the moon. Some will even display the techniques that were used to promote the discovery of the subject matter. Of course, this is dependent on the type of museum you visit.

The experiences you get from museums and zoos can bring science, history and biology to life for children. In fact, venues like the Museum of Nature and Science build many of their displays around engaging children on a level they can understand. For the child, museums and zoos are like stepping into a world where everything is more real and has life other than a two-dimensional computer screen. Provide your child with a greater understanding of the world and visit museums and zoos often. You may just learn something yourself.

Rachael Cherry is a wife, mother, and writer who is passionate about helping connect families in need with high quality caregivers. She has taken that passion and put it to work through NannyPro, a respected online nanny referral service. Learn more by visiting @NannyPro on Twitter.

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