Yes, it is hotter than a pepper sprout outside and it makes a sweat mustache form on your upper lip just thinking about getting in a car for another outing, but let's face it--the days of the family field trip are ending. My summer activity list was almost all checked off except for our annual visit to Henry's Ark.
I had purposely put off this destination because every year something catastrophic tends to happen: a goose attack, an animal crap smearing in the back seat of the car, the inevitable question, "Why is that horse/goat/camel/buffalo so sad?" But this year, I was pleasantly surprised by our visit to Henry's exotic menagerie. The grounds were clean and the critters were content and the overall ambiance a little less, well, weird.
Located on Rose Island Road in Prospect, Henry's Ark is home to a slew of interesting creatures. You won't see many groundskeepers in matching uniforms informing you about each unique species, in fact, there are very few signs even informing you what it is, exactly, that you are feeding, and there's only one rule: Feed Animals Carrots Only, which seems to be frequently ignored by many Bunny Bread slinging patrons. But, it's completely free (an anonymous donation box greets you as you enter) and only takes about 30 minutes to take it all in.
If you're looking for somewhere to escape to in the last sweltering days of summer, consider Henry's Ark. The heat index was 108 when we went last week, and it only seemed a mere 98 amidst the trees and chain link fences on the property. Quick, quirky, and cheap, it is quite the gem for a family field trip--trust me, you'll have plenty to talk about after.