Our family has held a Calgary Zoo membership pretty consistently since before we even had our first child. Way back then Jason and I liked to just go and stroll through the zoo.
All my kids have liked different parts of the zoo best. Kieran definitely loved he dinosaurs. Katie I think was the monkeys. Karyssa was lions and zebras and giraffes I would suspect. Kianna was the tigers I think, but it also could have been the carousel and kid train that are at that end of the zoo…
Keilan loves the Canadian Wilds. None of my kids have ever paid too much attention to this area. We would go there every now and then just to go, but never was it a first choice.
For Keilan, it is most assuredly a first choice. I hadn’t really thought about it too much until today.
Our zoo passes had expired shortly before the flood and we just let them lapse. Our kids are getting older and the zoo holds less appeal for them now than a few years ago.
However, this winter when I started home schooling Keilan I bought a zoo pass for us. I knew we would be studying animals in the spring and it was the perfect place to take him for a quick opportunity to expend some energy in between my various bus runs.
We’ve been quite a number of times over the past several months. The one thing that is pretty consistent is that he always wants to see the penguins, and he almost always asks to go to the Canadian wilds. I have to often persuade him to venture to the Africa building or the Savannah building or the butterflies.
Today, as once again he asked to visit the Canadian Wilds, I suddenly realized why this is his favourite place.
It reminds him of all of our trips to the mountains. It helps him to recentre himself. He loves he mountains and hiking and wildlife. And we have sure done a ton of family trips that would include this. Not to mention that his grandparents live in the mountains.
So, following my sudden revelation, I asked him straight up. I asked him if it was his favourite place and why. He said it was and it made him happy. I asked him if it helped him remember things we have done together as a family. Things like driving through Jasper like summer or trips to Banff or Radium or grandma and grandpa’s house. I asked him if he felt calm and safe here.
And yes all of this and more.
He has always thrived in the wild and untamed. He loves trees and forests and green. It calms him. And it helps him stay calm. He has way less behaviour issues when we are camping or out in nature. That is except when it’s time to leave.
It shouldn’t be any surprise that he finds this area so captivating that I had found boring. Through his eyes it isn’t boring any more. The Canadian Wilds is actually pretty peaceful and calming when you take time to just be and to take it all in. It really is like a quick foray to the mountains…