Recently the Roger Williams Park Zoo opened a new exhibit area called Our Big Backyard. It truly is like a big backyard, like an awesome backyard on steroids. If you live in Rhode Island (or even nearby Massachusetts or Connecticut) put a visit to the zoo on your summer to do list. Read on to see why...As soon as we passed through the fence Ezra was off and running. We were the first ones there that morning (although not for long!) and it was really cool to be able to experience everything alone for the first few minutes of play.
The Sticks and Stones Building Zone was a big hit, and Ezra tested out each different building material. Bins are filled with blocks, miniature bricks, bungee cords, sheets and clothespins (for tent building!), and a tall tunnel stands nearby, soon to be covered by growing vines.
In the Creativity Corner kids can play a giant xylophone, "paint" with water on slate easels, or put on a performance on the stage. While we were there a couple zoo employees (or they may have been volunteers) performed some dramatic readings of zoo themed children's book. Lots of silly voices and animal noises had the kids giggling.
Judging by how soaked Ezra's shirt and shorts were, I would say he had the most fun playing in the Drip Drop Water Garden. My favorite part of Our Big Backyard is this fence - it's covered in faucets that can be connected with tubes, and each connection causes a different water reaction. Some create a sprinkler type effect, one causes a fountain to start flowing, another spins a water wheel...
This short stream leads to a little pond where kids can float wooden boats and splash around.
There's also a tree house out back, and while we did make the trek beyond the fence we found that there wasn't much for toddlers. We headed back to the Backyard pretty quickly. Besides, there were boats to float and sneakers to soak!
One thing that I really liked is that much of Our Big Backyard is shaded. I still slathered Ezra in sunblock, but us fair-skinned folks have to be cautious. We could have easily spent all day here, so if you go (and you should!) pack a lunch and a change of clothes for your kids! Or just dress them in their bathing suits... if I had known what the water play area was like I definitely would have done that and will do so in the future. Since we're members I'm planning on visiting Our Big Backyard a summertime weekly event!