bronx zoo sensory autism

My Sensory Son’s Top 10 Favorite Things At The Zoo

The animals didn’t even make the list! LOL

We’ve been to the Bronx Zoo with our son a few times in the past, none of which have been very successful trips. Each time he seemed very scattered, very serious, and was not interested in looking at any animals. Although he would repeat “animal zoo”, as if to announce he was excited about being there, anytime we pointed out an animal he yelled “no!” and “all done!” and pulled us away.

The strange thing is he always asked to go back. I mean what’s the point in going to the zoo if not to check out the cool animals? Well, to Simon, there were other attractions that he really enjoyed, we just weren’t listening. So this time, we decided to follow his lead.

bronx zoo popcorn wheel

Here’s a list of Simon’s Top 10 favorite things to see at the “animal zoo”, in order of importance:

  1. The big wheels on the old-timey popcorn carts totally spin. Really, who cares about the delicious snack, those wheels are awesome.

  2. The souvenir penny machine has a huge crank that makes a pretty satisfying sound every time it turns.

  3. The Mouse House and Reptile House are really dark, except for certain spots, and it’s really neat to walk through fast.

  4. The Jungle Walk has awesome mist and waterfalls that sound and feel cool.

  5. The Children’s Zoo has tons of stairs and a mega twisty slide. And the petting zoo at the end has a tractor with a real wheel that turns. (Am I sensing a theme?)

  6. We have to check ALL the gift shops because some of them have slightly different displays and a few have bubbles outside.

  7. Anyplace with bridges and stairs makes the walk way more interesting.

  8. There’s tons of squirrels and birds, just hanging out. And we can count them!

  9. There’s a carousel! With Bugs! How cool is that?

  10. And did you know there’s tons of toddler jumping launch pads, like everywhere? They may appear to be plain old manhole covers, but they’re totally launch pads for mega big bounces.

I think this is the most fun we’ve ever had at the zoo. Once we realized that the zoo doesn’t have to be about the animals, Simon was way more engaging with us and full of smiles.

Sometimes it’s hard for us to remember, especial when we go out to do typical things, that we are an atypical family. There’s so much planning and preparations involved in going anywhere, that we sometimes lose sight of how much fun different can be. So who cares about those lazy animals anyway when there’s awesome launch pads just waiting to be bounced?

Previously posted at Hudson Valley Parent Magazine.

*If you have any concerns about your child, please discuss with their pediatrician or contact your local school district or Early Intervention center for an evaluation.*