Horses, something to spot, to marvel at and to talk about with kids. My husband grew up riding horses, and we had a horse and a couple of ponies (as well as a ton of other animals) as a kid. My city kids are amazed when they see the big animals as they are not used to them. And riding is one of the more expensive hobbies one can have in Helsinki, or so I’m told, haven’t checked.
Having pets is not really an option for us as we will always spend weeks on travels having part of the family on the other side of the world. Sometimes I feel a tad sad, because my kids won’t grow up with a natural relationship to them; My first “summer job” when I was 7-8 was to see to the ducklings together with my brother. At the end of the summer there was 72 of them! Lucky one set of grandparents have introduced our kids to bottle feeding lambs and finding freshly laid eggs for breakfast. How exciting for kids! I remember doing those as a kid!(And also how we used to measure how much further a headless chicken flies than a headless duck. But that may not be an activity to recommend to others? ;)) However exciting these experiences may be for children, they may not be quite free if you consider the cost of having the animals…
An alternative is of course a guinea pig or a hamster, they wouldn’t cost much and it wouldn’t be hard to move them into somebody’s care when travelling. Another alternative in the city is to visit the farms around here, Haltiala or the Fallkulla pet farm (I don’t have a post on that one but Helsinkimom does). There is another pet farm in Porvoo, which I’ve heard is nice too. But it is not quite the same as growing up with animals around you, is it? I am not quite sure why or if it even is important in life to get used to animals. Maybe it is one of those things that you have good memories of yourself and then you’d like to give your child the same opportunities. Do you have those aspirations?
Anyway, some of the basics you learn as a child stick with you, others don’t – but even those can give others a good laughter: recently I got this odd job of taking 4 of our clients to the stables. As one cancelled in the last minute, I hopped on a pony too only to realise that I have no idea of where the break is ;).