Heading to the zoo, zoo, zoo. How about you, you, you? You can come too, too, too…
If it’s your very first family zoo trip (and even if it’s not), follow these friendly tips to ensure you make the most of your time there.
Before You Go
Before you head out, check online to see if any discounts or deals are going on. If you order your tickets in advance, they might be cheaper. There are even days where there are deals for students, veterans, senior citizens, etc.
It’s also good to find out what the current exhibits are. For the most part, the zoo will be the same every time you go. But some exhibits and showrooms are temporary and rotate. So, if you’re heading there for something in particular, it’s good to double check it will still be there on the day you plan to visit.
What to Pack
Water and Snacks
Zoo tickets add up quickly.
And you probably haven’t even thought about the gift shop yet, but yep- there’s going to be that too. Save money where you can. Especially if you have a lot of people in tow.
One of the easiest ways to do this is by simply bringing water and snacks from home. You can get a whole case of water for the price of two drinks in most attractions. And zoo’s know this.
So, a lot of times, they don’t mind if you pack your lunch too. You will have to double check with your particular zoo. But a packed lunch allows you to plop down and dig in as soon as hunger strikes. Rather than waiting in long lunch lines and scanning menu boards with fussy kids running amok.
Leave a cooler behind in your vehicle and stash extra waters in there. That way if you need a quick supply refill you can send someone out there to replenish the goods.
It’s nice to have for when you’re ready to head back home too.
If you live in a hotter state- like Florida- portable fans are your friend! Clip them on to your strollers, wagons, and anything else you can find. Staying hydrated and cool is important.
Dress for your weather. Most importantly, wear appropriate shoes.
There’s nothing worse than attempting to walk several miles in flip flops or heels. Except maybe acquiring a painful blister as a result.
Bring a Change of Clothes
You never know what you will come across at the zoo- a smelly exhibit, a waterhole, a messy snack attack. Come prepared with an extra set of clothes for everyone, and a plastic bag for the dirty ones. You will be happy you did.
A great space-saving tip is to roll the clothes up in the bag rather than fold them.
Grab a Map
As soon as you enter the park, grab one of the maps upfront and start planning the best route. Thanks to the homework you did before you left the house, you should already have an idea of what you want to see.
If it’s a larger park, make sure to get the kid’s absolute must-see shows and animal faves out of the way first. Because when there is a lot of ground to cover, little feet (and old feet) get tired quickly, and little people get whiny.
Consider Renting a Family Bike
If you forgot your stroller or wagon at the house, consider renting one of the family bikes they offer. Everyone will have fun riding from stop to stop. And you can cover more ground in less time. Plus, it provides extra shade from the wind or sun. Meaning, everyone will preserve their energy for longer.
It might be worth every penny.
Make it Extra Fun
(And extra educational too but shh, they don’t need to know that.)
By making your own scavenger hunt. Kids of every age love a good scavenger hunt. Give them a piece of paper and some crayons before you start walking, and watch them go to town trying to cross items off their list. You might even find one already planned out for you on your zoo’s website.