A Day at the Zoo | Tuesdays with Jacob

A Day at the Zoo

May 25, 2017

We just renewed our passes to our local zoo, which means we'll be going a lot more since it had expired back in December. Our first trip back definitely brought to mind some of the things we learned our first year as pass holders. Our local zoo is pretty small which makes it perfect for 2-3 hour trips, but we also have a big zoo in the area that is an all day affair. Regardless of size, zoo trips with kids can sometimes leave you feeling like you're the wild attraction and the animals are watching YOU. Here are just a few of the things we've learned as annual passholders. 

1. Pack light 
We bring with us either a backpack we can wear or a bag with big enough straps to go over the handle of our stroller. Remember whatever you bring, you carry! We pack essentials only - a small wallet, camera, sunscreen, and a change of clothes for Jacob just in case. 

2. Make a game plan
First thing we do once we arrive is find a bench in the shade and we formulate a plan. One of us applies the sunscreen while the other gets out the map to plan. We note where bathrooms are, where the food is, any must see animals, etc. Our little zoo has a carousel and train ride on one side, so we always start on the OTHER side, ending there. Otherwise we would never pull Jacob away from there to see the rest of the zoo. Because we've made this a habit upon arrival we never forget the sunscreen! 

3. Expect your little one to get tired
Even though Jacob prefers to walk most of the time we ALWAYS bring our stroller. Inevitably he gets tired halfway through and wants to be pushed or to be carried. Big kids can get tired too with all the walking, especially if it's hot. Plan breaks, such as splashing in fountains, eating lunch, playing on the playground if there is one, or watching a show. 

4. Insist on spending a little time on each animal
Kids sometimes get so excited that they want to run from one animal to the next without taking the time to read any of the information or observe. I would prefer to see less animals, and actually talk to Jacob about them so that's he's learning something. Learning 3 new things about each animal you see is a good, and attainable goal. 

5. Do everything you can to avoid meltdowns
Some meltdowns are unavoidable, I get that. But let's stack the deck in our favor shall we? Stick to normal meal times and nap times. If your child has a must see animal, try to hit it early in your trip. If everyone is hot and miserable, find indoor animals or shows to see. 

6. Don't forget about the locals
Most zoos have a section where you can see local wildlife that may not be available at other zoos. These make each zoo special and are always a must see for us. 

While this post is not sponsored, a special thank you goes out to Babyganics for sending us some sunscreen to try out on our trip! 

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