Questions From a Kid: Giant Panda Keeper

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(previous interviews in this series can be found here.)

Welcome to another installment of Questions From a Kid. Today, Zoey chats with Jennifer Becerra, panda keeper at the San Diego Zoo.

After chatting with two other animal keepers, Zoey knew she wanted to talk to someone with a connection to pandas. A recent trip to San Diego yielded results.

The San Diego Zoo is rightfully one of the most famous and popular zoos in the country, but the animal collection is actually spread over two different complexes. The zoo itself is in downtown San Diego, and the Safari Park occupies 1,800 acres north of the city near Escondido.

Only four zoos in the United States have giant pandas, and their number totals only 12 (not counting the twins recently born at the National Zoo). It was therefore a real pleasure for Zoey to chat with one of the keepers responsible for the care of three of those pandas.

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5 Questions with a Polar Bear Keeper

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(previous interviews in this series can be found here.)

Welcome to another installment of 5 Questions with a 5-Year-Old. Today, Zoey chats with Marie-Josée Côté, one of the zookeepers (and the one in charge of the polar bears) at Zoo Sauvage de St-Félicien. See The Roarbots review of the zoo here.

Zoey is in love with polar bears. Her favorite stuffed animal in the world is a little polar bear, and she takes it with her everywhere. It’s literally been around the world since Zoey took it along to China and Japan….and now Canada!

Our local zoo–the National Zoo in Washington, DC–sadly doesn’t have any polar bears. Therefore, Zoey was beyond excited when she got to see a real, live polar bear while visiting Zoo Sauvage in Quebec.

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Virginia Living Museum

Virginia Living Museum

We’ve been members of the Maryland Science Center in Baltimore for several years now. One of the best-kept secrets of membership is the reciprocal admissions offered by other institutions affiliated with the Passport Program of the Association of Science and Technology Centers.

The Roarbots love science museums, so this program has been an incredible perk of membership. We make it a point to visit as many participating museums as possible during our travels.

This is the first of an occasional series of posts highlighting some of these amazing local science centers. Find more by following the ASTC tag on this post.

On a recent trip to Williamsburg and Virginia Beach, we managed to stop at a couple ASTC institutions. First up was the Virginia Living Museum, which was a wonderful surprise.

Located in Newport News, Virginia, the Living Museum is in the heart of Southeast Virginia’s tourist center.

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Zoo Sauvage de St-Félicien

Zoo Sauvage

Zoos. You either love them…or you don’t. Where do the Roarbots fall? Ironically, I think we’re somewhere in between. Good zoos can be wonderful. Bad zoos? Don’t get me started. They can be some of the most depressing places on Earth and cause for us to denounce all zoos.

But the good ones? The unique ones? The truly awe-inspiring ones? The places that genuinely care about the animals and actively support conservation efforts? Those are fantastic.

We’ve been fortunate enough to visit several such places that we’d recommend in a heartbeat: the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park, The Singapore Zoo and Night Safari…and now, Zoo Sauvage de St-Félicien in Quebec, Canada.

About three hours north of Quebec City, on the other side of a breathtaking drive through the Laurentides, Zoo Sauvage is located near Saint-Jean Lake in Saint-Félicien. We drove up from Quebec specifically for the zoo.

Was it worth the drive? Absolutely.

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Espace pour la Vie (Space for Life), part 1: Biodôme

[Read part 2 of our review (the planetarium) here and part 3 of our review (the botanical garden/insectarium) here.]

Montreal’s Espace pour la Vie (Space for Life) is actually a sprawling complex that includes several different “spaces”: the Biodôme, a planetarium, a botanical garden, and an insectarium. It should be noted up front that each charges a separate entry fee (the botanical garden and insectarium are included together), but they offer combined admission tickets, which make the most sense if you want to visit more than one.

However, visiting all in one day (which is what we did) is a major endeavor, especially with young kids. It’s a whole-day affair. In fact, there’s so much to see that I’m actually going to split this across three posts.

First up, let’s take a walk through the Biodôme, a massive structure built to house and replicate various ecosystems found in the Americas. The building is mostly divided into four main ecosystems, but there are other spaces available for temporary exhibits.

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