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Lemur at Hanwell Zoo

Stuff to do #2: Zoo and live music…brought to you

Last week, we started our series on things to do at home during the lockdown with a selection of stuff being provided by local arts and cultural groups, historic sites and other organisations. This week, we tell you how to ‘visit’ zoo animals online, and how a music festival is bringing music direct to your ears.

As we said last week, we may all be spending an awful lot more time inside our homes than we are used to doing. And, classes and activities have had to shut down. But there is still lots of great online stuff you can find, often for free, being offered locally.

Look out next week for some more tips – including some sent in by you (thank you for that). And, see the bottom of this article for how you can contact us to make your own suggestions.

Home learning with Hanwell Zoo

The amazing team at Hanwell Zoo is making sure your little ones (and you) can still learn all about the animal family living at Brent Lodge Park while the park is closed to visitors.

Beau Jensen McCubbin, zookeeper extraordinaire, has been posting daily videos on the zoo’s Facebook page to encourage children to learn more stuff about the animals and conservation using the hashtag #BringingTheZooToYou.

The zoo’s conservation education programme has been set up in response to the coronavirus outbreak, to help children follow some of the national curriculum’s key stages 1 and 2 – by learning fun stuff about natural history while home learning.

Flamingos at Hanwell Zoo
Flamingos at Hanwell Zoo

Topics are aimed at children aged between five and 11, but younger and older learners will benefit, too. And, the videos are interesting for anyone who likes animals and need a fix of wildlife while in lockdown.

We caught up with Beau to find out more. He said: “We wanted to do our bit, during these strange times, to help our regular visitors and hopefully new fans of the zoo, learn about animals while they stay home where it’s safe.

Bring the Zoo to You will help us teach children and adults about our lovely animal family at the zoo and give them lots of information and fun facts via the videos to help keep them interested and entertained.

“The zoo team is still working behind the scenes to make sure the animals are cared for and have everything they need. We will miss our visitors over the next few weeks and months, but we are still here for them in the virtual world and hope the learning programme will keep us all connected.

“We wanted to give something back.

Meerkats at Hanwell Zoo
Meerkats at Hanwell Zoo

“Some of the themes I will be exploring include the names of the animals, their differences and similarities, the five main senses, biodiversity and different lifecycles. We will be sharing lots of resources to help with home learning and trying to come up with lots of fun and engaging ways to encourage active learning.

“We want to encourage people to ask questions, make suggestions or requests, and share their own conservation and creature related activities to help inspire others via our Facebook page.”

Visit the Hanwell Zoo website and follow its Facebook page to get connected and find out more.

Live Hootie music streamed into your home

Sadly, the annual Hanwell Hootie music festival had to be cancelled and the yearly takeover of the town by top bands (due to take place on 9 May) was kiboshed by the coronavirus, as have so many other events.

Rosedive at Hanwell Hootie 2019
Rosedive at Hanwell Hootie 2019

But the organisers of the Hootie took the attitude that we all still need a little something to look forward to in these difficult times.  

So, coming straight into your living room, the Hanwell Hootie is now presenting the Hootie live streaming sessions – featuring a new artist every Friday evening.

This Friday (10 April), starting at 8pm, there will be a live performance by Tommy Hare from his own home. We are told to expect ‘sing-a-longs and classic tales of past Hootie memories’.

Just go to the Hootie Facebook page and you will see a link to the live stream.

Come back for more – and let us know your own tips

We will return with more tips next week. If you have spotted other examples of local ‘virtual culture’, or have created your own, why not send it to us and we might include the best in future updates? Email them to ealinghomeactivities@gmail.com

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