If you’re running out of ideas and you’re looking for something fun and educational to do with the kiddos while they’re off from school this week, might I suggest a trip to the El Paso Zoo.

The Foster Tree House Playground is just one of the reasons the zoo is a definite must-visit. The new outdoor play area features five tree houses, four slides, a tunnel, log climbers and cargo netting. That alone should tire out even the most energetic children, but if all that hanging and climbing isn’t enough, they can always run around in the splash pad, which just happens to sit next to the tree houses.

The kids can also get close to nature with one of the many Animal Encounter Programs the zoo offers. In fact, it expanded its programs for spring break week. Some of the ones that normally only happen on Saturday’s and Sunday’s, like the Giraffe Encounters and Lion Training, are a go the whole week the kids are on break. You can view a schedule here.

So pack a picnic basket, grab your camera, and enjoy the animals of Africa, Asia, and the Americas at the El Paso Zoo located at 4001 E. Paisano, across from the County Coliseum. Open daily at 9:30 a.m. Admission varies. Visit the zoo website for more details.