Storytime's A Zoo at Rancho Las Lomas Wildlife Foundation
It’s probably not a surprise to my readers by now that I love taking my toddler to different story times – whether it be a Yoga storytime, a Beauty and the Beast storytime, or a Superhero storytime. That’s right, I am total sucker for a themed storytime. I’ve even been known to drive an hour for one. So, when I discovered that Rancho Las Lomas Wildlife Foundation was hosting a Summer Storytime where kids got to actually meet the animal in the story, of course I couldn’t pass it up.
Last week, little M and I trekked the hour-long drive to Silverado Canyon. Upon entering, it’s like your entering into a whole other world. The grounds are breathtaking and there are insane photo ops everywhere you look. The area where storytime was held was an enchanting grassy patio area equipped with picnic tables. Some parents (the regulars, I presume), brought blankets and chairs. There was plenty of room for the small crowd and my daughter had a blast running around in the grassy (and muddy puddles) before the storytime began.
The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn was the story of the day. Read by one of the Foundation’s employees, the book told the story of a young raccoon who doesn't want to go to school--he wants to stay home with his mother. She assures him that he'll love school--with its promise of new friends, new toys, and new books. Even better, she has a special secret that's been in the family for years--the Kissing Hand. This secret, she tells him, will make school seem as cozy as home.
And since raccoons are known for their masks, after the story, children were able to color and decorate their own masks before meeting the star of the story.
Once we were finished with the craft, the group hiked a little ways, past peacocks and parrots, to meet Holly the Raccoon. According to her keeper, Holly is a 9-month old rescue and she is full of energy. We got to witness this energy first-hand as Holly, who was not sleeping this morning, interacted with kids, climbing walks and showing off her toys. Personally, I have never seen a raccoon so active and it was quite the treat!
Afterwards, little M and I took our time strolling the venue, looking at the raspberry bushes and visiting Lily, a 13-year old white tiger, get it, Tiger Lily, from Peter Pan) - though we only caught a glimpse since she was hiding out this morning. We also met a Serval, a pair of Zebras named Ziddle and Zaddle, and Lucy the Goose. Little M was in awe when one of the parrots actually said “Hello” to her.
I also got a few great shots of my little one at several of the picturesque spots, including a beautiful yellow swing and an old-fashioned phone booth. We can’t wait to see what wild animal we will read about and meet at Rancho Las Lomas Wildlife Foundation’s next storytime!