Category: Blog, Librarian Mom|June 14, 2013 6:00 am

A Rainy Afternoon at the Henson C. Robinson Children’s Zoo

Two weekends ago on Memorial Day weekend, my husband and I took our daughter to Springfield, Illinois. Our first stop of the rainy afternoon was the Illinois State Museum. We had planned to take her to the Henson C. Robinson Children’s Zoo, but the weather was just too icky when we arrived in the city. Fortunately, when we left the museum, the rain had stopped and the weather had cleared up a bit. Discovering that the zoo was open until the early evening, we decided to make a second stop that Saturday. And boy were we glad that we decided to check out the Henson C. Robinson Children’s Zoo too.

Henson C. Robinson Children's Zoo Plaque in the Henson C. Robinson Children's Zoo

The Henson C. Robinson Children’s Zoo is home to over 90 species of native and exotic animals native to Australia, Africa, Asia, and North and South America. As a children’s zoo, Henson C. Robinson Children’s Zoo houses its animals in naturalistic exhibits that are highly accessible to even the smallest child. I particularly liked the use of space at the zoo. In the areas between the cages, other animals made their homes in more open enclosures. Although fairly small in size, the zoo is home to a lot of animals because of the clever use of space. Plus, with all the enclosures right next to the walkways, Poppy could see all the animals clearly and easily.

Poppy and the Peacock at the Henson C. Robinson Children's Zoo Poppy in the Australia Exhibit at the Henson C. Robinson Children's Zoo

With our Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZ) membership that we purchased some weeks ago for the Miller Park Zoo, we got into the Henson C. Robinson Children’s Zoo for free. To show our support, I did donate a few dollars. We also made a purchase in the gift shop. Poppy got a cute little shirt with Henson C. Robinson Children’s Zoo written on the front.

Poppy and the Bear at the Henson C. Robinson Children's Zoo Surprised Poppy at the Henson C. Robinson Children's Zoo

As we walked around the zoo, a few of the animals really caught our attention. First, the Henson C. Robinson Children’s Zoo is home to quite a lot of owls. I particularly loved seeing the owls up close and personal. Poppy was fascinated by the peacocks that roamed free around the zoo. She even got to see one from just a few feet away and another that had his tail feathers open for show. Peacocks are so beautiful!

Poppy and the Shetland Pony at the Henson C. Robinson Children's Zoo Poppy with a Shetland Pony at the Henson C. Robinson Children's Zoo

Poppy also really loved checking out the farm animals. One of the two Shetland ponies was as interested in her as she was interested in him. He tried his best to get to her through his fence! She also really loved the goats. She laughed and smiled as the goats stuck their heads through the fence to eat the grass off her shoes. She also really loved helping me feed the goats some of the goat food that I bought. A few months ago Poppy had been afraid of the goats at the Miller Park Zoo. This time, however, she even petted some of the goats on the head from her stroller!

Poppy Petting the Goats at the Henson C. Robinson Children's Zoo Poppy and the Goat at the Henson C. Robinson Children's Zoo

Other animals that I really liked included the African painted dogs, the cougars, and the bobcats. The two African painted dogs were so beautiful. Both also kept following a zookeeper around in the hopes of some food. Although wild animals, the African painted dogs were definitely dogs. Both acted just like my two dogs when begging for food. The cougars were also amazing to see. I could also definitely see that my cat is related to the huge big cats. When we approached the enclosure, one of the cougars hissed at us just like our cat, Princess, does when angered. The bobcats, too, resembled our cat amazingly. Poppy loved watching the bobcats chase each other around the cage and into the tree in the middle of the enclosure. I could have watched the bobcats all day!

Poppy and the Cougar at the Henson C. Robinson Children's Zoo Heather and the River Otter at the Henson C. Robinson Children's Zoo

Finally, our last stop at the zoo was the river otter. My daughter is absolutely wild about river otters. And I must say that the river otter at the Henson C. Robinson Children’s Zoo was quite a ham. As soon as he saw us approach, he began showing off. He dove into his pool and swam around. Then he would come up and look at us through the glass on the sides of his home. Then he would swim around again. If we stopped watching, he would come back up to the glass to get our attention. The river otter was quite the show off and made a perfect ending to a great afternoon at the zoo!

Poppy and the Playful River Otter at the Henson C. Robinson Children's Zoo Poppy Pointing at the Animals at the Henson C. Robinson Children's Zoo

Have you ever been to a children’s zoo?

Image Credits

Henson C. Robinson Children’s Zoo © 2013 Heather Johnson
Plaque in the Henson C. Robinson Children’s Zoo © 2013 Heather Johnson
Poppy and the Peacock at the Henson C. Robinson Children’s Zoo © 2013 Heather Johnson
Poppy in the Australia Exhibit at the Henson C. Robinson Children’s Zoo © 2013 Heather Johnson
Poppy and the Bear at the Henson C. Robinson Children’s Zoo © 2013 Heather Johnson
Surprised Poppy at the Henson C. Robinson Children’s Zoo © 2013 Heather Johnson
Poppy and the Shetland Pony at the Henson C. Robinson Children’s Zoo © 2013 Heather Johnson
Poppy with a Shetland Pony at the Henson C. Robinson Children’s Zoo © 2013 Heather Johnson
Poppy Petting the Goats at the Henson C. Robinson Children’s Zoo © 2013 Heather Johnson
Poppy and the Goat at the Henson C. Robinson Children’s Zoo © 2013 Heather Johnson
Poppy and the Cougar at the Henson C. Robinson Children’s Zoo © 2013 Heather Johnson
Heather and the River Otter at the Henson C. Robinson Children’s Zoo © 2013 Heather Johnson
Poppy and the Playful River Otter at the Henson C. Robinson Children’s Zoo © 2013 Heather Johnson
Poppy Pointing at the Animals at the Henson C. Robinson Children’s Zoo © 2013 Heather Johnson


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