Zoo Zoom

December 4 2008 by Karla Henriquez
Comments (3)

ZooZoom.jpg"Someone told me it's all happening at the zoo." - Paul Simon

A few years ago, while in Orlando for a conference, I decided to check out Disney's Animal Kingdom. I hadn't been to a zoo since I was a kid and was a little worried the experience wouldn't be as wonderful for the adult me as it had always been for the child me. As it turns out, there was no need to worry - I spent at least thirty minutes just watching the hippos leap and twirl underwater and found out that the zoo is delightful no matter how old you are.

For those with children, visiting the zoo is especially exciting because children seem to be naturally drawn to animals! My 9-month old daughter kicks her feet and squeals when she passes a dog on the street, laughs aloud at pictures of lions, and can't get enough of her Wild Animal Baby magazines. For kids, a trip to the zoo is equivalent to you having front-row tickets to your favorite band's concert - it's their chance to see the pictures they've been looking at for so long come alive!

However, going to the zoo can seem like a great undertaking. Here are my tips for a successful visit:

  1. Visit the park's website before you go. Check the hours and see if there are extra charges to visit areas you might be interested in. Find out if there's a capacity limit, and if so, what time that is usually reached. If you are a member of another zoo, check to see if there's an affiliation that will allow you to save on the price of admission. Find out where to park or how to get there on public transportation. If possible, buy your tickets online.
  2. Before you leave to the zoo, check the weather. If you're prepared for rain or snow, you can still enjoy your visit, even in inclement weather, because the animals may be more active and it will be less crowded.
  3. Pack sunscreen, dress appropriately for the weather, and wear comfortable shoes. If it's raining, take a poncho as many zoos have banned umbrellas.
  4. Take binoculars and a camera.
  5. If you're with a group, discuss a meeting-place in case you get separated.
  6. Don't rush through the exhibits - watch and enjoy the animals!
  7. Plan to catch a show or a feeding. These experiences always prove to be both educational and entertaining.
  8. If you're with children, engage them by asking questions and pointing out your observations. You might be surprised by how much they know and want to learn.
  9. Take breaks. Sit back, eat a snack, have a drink, and watch the people at the zoo.

  10. If you're lucky enough to live near a zoo, you can have a great time getting to know the animals at your local park. If not, try visiting a zoo or aquarium on your next trip out of town. To find a park, visit the Association for Zoos and Aquariums' website, where you can look up accredited zoos by state or country (although the list of countries is short).

Categories : Packed & Ready

3 Comments

By Martha on December 15, 2008 10:31 PM

The best investment we ever made was our zoo membership. With young kids, it's terrific. There is so much to see at a zoo that with every visit we focus on a different section. Sometimes we don't even make it to see the animals, as there is so much else to enjoy. That's ok. Since we're members, I don't feel like I'm wasting an admission.

p.s. be sure to catch a stingray exhibit at your local zoo. Our kids go nuts over it.

By Brent on December 16, 2008 6:50 AM

You've inspired me to visit a local zoo - I love animals, but can't have a pet right now because we have a new baby and a small home. I hadn't thought of going to the zoo, but I think I'll enjoy it as much as our new baby!

By Margie on December 16, 2008 7:38 AM

My brother-in- law gave us a membership to our local zoo one year as a Christmas gift. It's one of the best gifts I've ever gotten! Our family enjoyed it so much that year that we've always maintained a membership. It's one of my favorite gifts to give, especially to a family with kids! It's great to visit other cities and see their local zoos, and usually, its free or very discounted. My husband loves taking pictures of the animals and has gotten some great shots. Since a safari to Africa is not in the cards for us, the zoo is the next best thing.


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