A zoo visit with toddlers is a chance for them to get a glimpse of ‘Curious George’, ‘Babar’, or ‘Daniel Tiger’🐯. With the wide open spaces a zoo affords, and determined toddlers who will not heed your warning, you might be feeling overwhelmed before you step foot in the parking lot. Take a deep breath, a swig of water, and repeat after me, (with confidence) I’ve GOT this. Read the tips below, enjoy the special time with your family, and then brag to your friends afterwards about what you did.
Zoo Visit with Toddlers: Go to the Zoo before nap time
If your children have outgrown naps (a scary reality for some), go to the zoo before lunchtime.
Zoo Visit with Toddlers: Make the splash pad / lunch your last ‘Zoo’ activity
Water play can tire out the most resistant toddler. Lunch can put a toddler in a food-coma. Use both to your advantage for a easy-breezy ride back home. 🚘
Zoo Visit with Toddlers: Visit the exhibits in reverse order
You’ll be feeling fresh and fancy-free hitting the last exhibit first while those that started from the beginning either didn’t make it (less foot traffic for you!) or are feeling pretty darn exhausted.
Zoo Visit with Toddlers: Always bring a covered wagon/stroller for transport
This is where you’ll stash frozen fruit, semi-frozen drinks, sandwiches, bug repellent, sunscreen, and tired toddlers. Not carrying a toddler around? Your back and shoulders send their thanks.
Zoo Visit with Toddlers: Seek out the underutilized zoo attractions
We’re talking playground, sandbox, carousel, train, and games, to name a few. One or more of these activities will be just the thing to keep them engaged.
Pro-tips for Annual Passholders:
Go to the zoo 90 minutes before closing time to visit everything except the animals. There were many times we just went for the splash pad/train/carousel. Less crowds, no lines, no melt-downs. #winning
Take the kids to the zoo on the 2nd to last day of a festival or seasonal event. That way, if you don’t see everything in one visit, you can always return the next day.
Go to the zoo for your holiday photos. Many zoos do a fabulous job decorating the entrance areas during Halloween, Christmas and Easter. Get the kids dressed up and pop by the zoo for those special photos!
Trick-or-treat at the zoo! It’s a unique and fun twist on the traditional trick-or-treating you and I grew up doing. 🎃
In need of more zoo tips? Check out our some recommendations from our friends over at What to Expect.