how to prepare for a trip to the
zoo with kids
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1. Read some zoo/ animal books before your zoo trip.
Familiarize yourself with some of the animals at your zoo, and find books about those animals. You can also find books about the zoo in general. Not only will it teach your children about the zoo or animals, it will build up excitement about your trip.
2. Load up on sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses.
Despite the fact there will be shady areas, and the day may be cooler, or overcast, most of the zoo is outside. When we went, it overcast, but we all still got sun.
3. Bring a wagon or a stroller.
Even if you’re past the point of needing a stroller, you may want something to allow the kids some time to rest if needed. I wore my Pebble watch the day we went, and I walked 6 miles! It was great! But the kids were really tired by the end- especially the little ones. We have a collapsible wagon we love. It held our cooler, the kids, and anything extra we brought with us.
4. Charge your camera battery, and clear off memory cards.
The zoo offers plenty of opportunities to take pictures. Regardless of whether you’re using your phone for pictures, or busting out the big camera, make sure you’re ready to take lots of pictures!
5. Pack plenty of snacks, and drinks.
The Pittsburgh Zoo has plenty of places to eat, and get drinks. We have eaten at their food court, and the food was great. Still, my kids can put away some food, and with all that walking- they sure did!! I’m going to go out on a limb, and saying packing all of those extra snacks and drinks prevented some major meltdowns!
6. Wear appropriate shoes.
I will be the first to admit, we don’t always abide by this. The kids and I happen to be flip flop freaks. BUT it always backfires. Wearing the wrong shoes almost always results in blisters or extra sore feet. Also, The Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium has some incredible play areas for children with slides, nets to climb, and tunnels. You’ll want your kiddos to be wearing tennis shoes for those fun activities. If you’re still set on wearing sandals, check out these sandals for adventurous kids!
7. Discuss safety.
Before we walked into the zoo, we spent some time going talking about the fact that the zoo is a busy place. The kids were extremely excited, and we knew they would try running ahead. We took the time to let them know this was not a place they could run ahead. The crowds are big, and they could be easily lost. Talking about this before it was an issue really helped. When they started to get a little out of control, all it took was a quick reminder.
Like I said, the zoo is one of our favorite places to visit. We learn something new, or see something amazing every single time we go. We were so lucky to see The Pittsburgh Zoo’s baby elephant this time (I promise you, she was one of the cutest baby animals I have ever seen!), and witness an orangutan doing something gross.. I won’t say what, but I will say all 4 of my kids thought it was absolutely hilarious. The giraffes were as close as they could get, and the kids got to see their black tongues. Our trip to the zoo was just what the doctor ordered for me– a day of fun with my family!
Have you taken a trip to the zoo with your kids? What are some of your helpful tips for preparing?