Take your kids to a nearby zoo or petting farm. The family will enjoy taking in the crisp fall air while observing the animals and walking around the different themed exhibits.
Petting zoos are also a great place to see baby animals, and kids enjoy having the opportunity to touch them. You can also buy food to feed the animals. It might be a good idea to observe on your first visit and let the kids get acclimated to being close to the animals. When you are ready to start feeding the animals, teach your child on how to keep their hand open and flat while the animals take the food.
Some zoos have safaris where the animals are roaming and the visitors are in cages (usually your car or a bus). It's fascinating to see the animals interact with each other in their natural habitats. There are petting areas for kids, separate children's zoos, nocturnal animals in a House of Darkness, monkey houses and other features. In addition, exotic animal facilities such as Fossil Rim Wildlife Center in Glen Rose, Texas Fossil Rim offers families the change to get close to free-roaming animals, such as emus, rhinos, antelope, zebras, giraffes, bison, eland, and others.
Some of the best zoos in the country also offer wildlife safaris. These include:
San Diego Zoo: - Houses both a zoo and wild animal park. There is a KinderSafari for children ages 4-6, and the "Kid Territory", which includes animal profiles, kid art, science sessions, and kid crafts. KinderNights offers children the opportunity to sleep over at the zoo, and kids ages 11-13 can help with wildlife conservation efforts as part of the Safari Explorers Program.
National Zoo - this is a "don't miss" spot when visiting the Washington, D.C. area.
WCS Home Page - The Wildlife Conservation Society's website provides information on a wide range of exhibits and activities taking place at zoos around the nation, and also tells about animals in the wild and at zoos and aquariums.
Zoos are a great family outing, and the cooler weather makes autumn an excellent time for a visit. Many zoos offer personalized tours and events for families, so make sure to call ahead or check online for more information.