A family trip to the Zoo is a wonderful way to spend a day together. There’s so much to do and see, and many great memories can be made. There is always the possibility that the trip will not go as planned.

We’ve taken our children to the Zoo many times and have learned a few tricks to make it a memorable experience.

      

Make the most of your Zoo Trip.

  1. Good shoes are essential. You all. You’ll likely be walking a lot at zoos. It’s not unusual for shoes to feel uncomfortable. You know your children will complain if you are farther from the exit. Before you go out, ensure that you are all wearing shoes that can be walked in.       
  2. Have a change of clothes ready for your children. There’s always a chance that your Zoo might have a water feature or a goat who is too excited to play in the petting area. Even though you might think that the older children will be fine, and haven’t required a change of clothes for a while now, it is a good idea to bring an extra shirt or pair of pants just in case. It is better to not have them than for your child to walk around the streets smelling like an animal and then sit in the car. For wet and dirty clothes, bring a plastic bag or ziplock.
  3. Get free tickets from your local library with “Discover and Go” passes. These cards allow you to get discounted tickets or free admission to many places, including the Zoo. These don’t usually work for last-minute visits and may not apply to all family members. However, check to see if your local library offers a program similar.
  4. Take snacks and lunch. It’s a common practice at zoos to allow visitors to bring their food. This can help you save a lot of money buying meals and snacks. To confirm, check the website of your local Zoo. Also, bring some snacks for your kids, even if you plan to buy your meal.
  5. You might consider joining the Zoo. Annual memberships are affordable at many zoos. At one local Zoo, if we visit twice a year as a family, it pays for itself. Some zoos offer additional perks, such as discounts at restaurants. Membership is likely to be tax-deductible, which makes it even more attractive!
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  7. Make sure to plan your visit. Having your child complain about not seeing their favourite animals and then finding out that you are on the other side of the Zoo is no way for your day to end. Look at the map before you go to a zoo. Make sure you see your favourites. Even if you can manage your Zoo in one day, make sure to look at the map. Some exhibits are hidden and easy to miss.
  8. Make your visit a learning opportunity about animals. Start conversations with the animals by reading the signs. My sons and I learn new things every time we go to the Zoo.
  9. Your child will be able to see the world through animals. Please talk about the origins of the animals to help them expand their worldview. One example is the missing horn of the rhino at our Zoo. This can be used to discuss poachers and why we must respect animals. The blind sea lion can be kept safer in the Zoo as it is not in the wild. This can also be discussed and why the Zoo can provide a safe environment for animals.
  10. Make a plan for the gift shop. Children who want souvenirs but their parents say no are more likely to be unhappy than hungry and uncomfortable children. Talk to your children about what you plan on buying (or, if they won’t, why). If your child is saving money, they can bring their cash. Also, you can decide when and how long you will be there (we prefer the end) and what time you will spend.
  11. Giving back can be a lesson for kids. Consider giving to your local Zoo. Your children should be able to feel the joy of giving and visit the place they are supporting.

We hope you will continue to visit the Zoo often. These tips will help you make the most out of your visit to the Zoo. Let us know your top tips for visiting the Zoo.