Before the Visit to the Zoo

  • Read (and sing) all about it. Your animal lover will enjoy his zoo visit even more if he knows a bit about what and who he’ll encounter. Look at books highlighting the creatures that live at the zoo (pop-ups or books that make sounds are particularly fun with this subject matter). Watch a tot-friendly video about animals, and of course, sing songs about animals and the noises they make: “Pop Goes the Weasel” and “Down by the Bay” (“did you ever see a llama wearing pajamas?”) are two tried-and-true winners. If you’ve ever taken your tot to a children’s circus, remind him of the animals he saw there — he might be able to spot them again!
  • Dress for success. Comfy walking shoes are a must for your tot (and for you). And since zoos have both indoor and outdoor areas (not to mention a chilly reptile house and that hot and humid aviary), dress in layers and take along a jacket and sun hat so you’re both comfortable no matter the micro-climate.
  • Pack healthy snacks. Aside from animals, zoos are full of ice-cream carts and cotton-candy stands, which can sabotage your visit with a battle over treats or, if you give in, a sugar-spiked crash and burn. Bypass the junk food and boost your kid’s energy by bringing healthy treats from home. (If you do allow a special treat on your kid’s day out, buy it as you go to soften the blow of leaving.)
  • Bring (or rent) a stroller. Even the hardiest walker can get tuckered out by all the terrain you’ll cover walking around the zoo.

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