8 Toddler Zoo Tips

A few weeks ago, my husband and I wondered aloud if we should take Harry to the nearby North Carolina Zoo. It had been years since we had visited and Harrison had never been. We were itching to get out of the house, so when we woke up at 6:30 AM one Saturday, we packed the car and headed to the animals. It was a cloudy day and cool for the summer, which was perfect because it wasn’t so crowded. Harrison adored the harbor seals and giraffes the best – he asked if he could bring his beloved “Hank,” aka his giraffe lovey, to “meet his family.” Watching him wave Hank at the giraffes is still one of my favorite moments with my little guy.

So I thought I’d do a short round-up of toddler zoo tips for making your trip as easy as possible and enjoyable for everyone involved:

  • Click through for tips on making a zoo trip fun for the whole family! 1 of 9

    Click through to see all my suggestions!

  • Get there early 2 of 9

    Be there when the gates open—you'll get a better parking spot, which is clutch at the end of the day when everyone is tired. Plus, you can hit up the hot spots (like the polar bears and lions!) first without beating back the crowds.

    photo by istockphoto

  • Map out the must-sees 3 of 9

    For us, the giraffes topped the list. We made sure that no matter what happened, the giraffes would be seen. Which meant we skipped a few of the other creatures, but by the time the skies opened with rain, we had already accomplished our must-do.

  • Bring a backpack or diaper bag 4 of 9

    Check zoo policy first, but ours allowed us to bring a diaper bag. I kept snacks, water bottles, and a change of clothes for Harrison in case of a potty accident.

    photo by istockphoto

  • Bring a stroller 5 of 9

    I don't care how tough your toddler is - the zoo is a hike and he will get tired. Bring a light stroller that he can ride in when he's tired. Bonus points for putting your backpack in the basket and not having to wear it!

  • Pack snacks for everyone 6 of 9

    Check zoo policy first, but I loaded the backpack with granola bars, snack containers with raisins and pretzel sticks, and peanut butter crackers. At the NC Zoo, you can bring lunch but you have to eat it at the picnic tables provided. Also, bring a full water bottle for each family member! It will save so much money.

    photo by istockphoto

  • Bring cash 7 of 9

    While you can save money on food, be sure to bring cash for extras. The gift shop wasn't that pricey, but Harrison was dying to have a $10 stuffed giraffe to commemorate his time. Also, it was $2.00 per person to go onto a deck to feed the giraffes first-hand. It was well worth the money, but we wouldn't have been able to do it without actual cash, not an ATM card.

    photo by istockphoto

  • Bring hand sanitzer 8 of 9

    I'm not usually a germ freak, but the zoo was a little much for me. There's a lot of animals, which means animal poop and weird animal stuff that can make you really sick. Plus my kid had his hands all over the rails and glass windows. Hand sanitizer was my friend.

    photo by istockphoto

  • Slather up 9 of 9

    DO NOT forget your sunscreen and bug spray! You're outdoors most of the time and there might not be much shade. Wear sunscreen, pack hats, and even toss some bug spray in your pack. Especially around the water areas, things can get buggy.

    photo by istockphoto

Article Posted 3 years Ago

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