We booked a day as a zoo-keeper at Newquay zoo for the boys. This was an unparalleled success! The day involved being taken around the zoo with a zoo-keeper, togged up in a special 'junior zoo-keeper' T-shirt, feeding the otters and the penguins and generally get a behind-the-scenes look at the life of a zoo keeper.
Every time we've been to the zoo in the past, it has been a race around the enclosures to see who could get to the shop first. We routinely spend more time in the shop than actually looking at wherever it is we've gone for the day. But this time - magic! Mark, our guide for the day, led the boys around, helped them prepare stuffed rubber 'kongs' for the monkeys, complete with mealy worms that Son1 refused to have anything to do with and explained all about the animals we saw along the way. The boys were fascinated and never lost focus; a miracle!
He showed them poison frogs being bred in a back-room, baby lemurs, talked to them about the red pandas and helped them to feed the Asian otters and, the boys' favourites, the Humbolt penguins. They learned so much in a morning and were happy to chat away to Mark, even though they don't generally do strangers.
At the end, Mark told me that he was always amazed at the number of zoology students who had Asperger's - they had, he said, the equivalent of 'green fingers' with animals. Son1 is now determined to study zoology and has decided not to mess around in Science anymore. I'm sure his teacher will be most relieved.