How to Zoo Right
Yesterday we decided to take advantage of the few nice days left of Autumn and enjoy a relaxing day at the Philadelphia Zoo, We have been members to the zoo for a few years now and before that we got to enjoy the teachers discount ( I will touch on that in a little bit). Anyways, I feel like we have been there enough now that I wanted to share some tidbits with you. This is directly associated with the Philly Zoo, HOWEVER, many of these tips can be used at all zoos.
1. Go in April or October.
It may be a bit brisk but these are the best times to go to the zoo. With the weather being on the chilly side many of the animals are alert and ready to play. Yesterday we saw the kangaroos jumping, the hippo out of water and the sloth eating! Even the lions were wide awake. It was certainly chilly and not EVERYTHING was open as far as rides and food, but our favorites were and it was awesome. Also, there are not many field trips in these months, so not as many other children to move around.
2. Go on a Tuesday
Yesterday was Monday, however, I found in the summer especially, that Tuesdays were the best day to do ANY day trip. Many people are not traveling those days so it is not as bad in the way of traffic, and many people save their day trips for later on in the week or a 4-day weekend. In the school months this is good because many schools do not take field trips on Tuesdays. ( I promise I have nothing against field trips. I just do not like having to worry about my littles in the mass of children on the loose.)
3. Pack Lunch
The reason for this is two-fold. One reason is obvious, it is cheaper. As in not paying 7 dollars for a hotdog. My other reason is that my girls would never eat any of the options that are available. So I pack them food I know they would enjoy. I guess one other fantastic benefit is that there is no waiting in lines. 🙂 There are tons of picnic tables there. So it is encouraged to bring food. My trick for bringing lunch is that I pack all the cold stuff in a small lunch box and the dry items in my purse. This way I don’t have to have a giant cooler with me. Also, those little silicone cupcake liners are perfect for lunch. Check it out!
4. Do the Loop in Reverse
This is specific for the Philly Zoo, although I think any place you go to, if you do it in reverse you end up avoiding the crowds.
The Philly Zoo is set up like a D with lines crossing in between. The best was is to go towards the Outback animals first. This prevents falling in line with the crowds and being stuck in the same grouping. Many people go around the D the same way, so do not be afraid to veer off course. This means that you would end at the ZooU area. If you happen to be there around 2:30 catch the rat show, I promise it is not gross. The rat actually knows how to recycle!
5. Use a Bag that Closes
This would not of been on my list until the events of yesterday unfolded. As I told you before we went to the ZooU last. I parked my stroller to go pet the goats. When we came back I noticed one of our snack bags on the ground. (There were no people around), a pigeon was poking at it trying to get my Chex cereal out. I looked towards the stroller, and there were 3 pigeons fighting over my purse. One of the pigeons was in the purse trying to get the other bag out! So tip, ZIP YOUR BAGS. I was mad though now it is just too funny not to laugh.
Why do I have a membership?
We actually live an hour and a half (give or take) from the zoo. We live in a very central location that makes it so that we can reach many places in a short drive. So why invest in something that we have to drive too?
When my daughter was a little over 1, I signed up for the teacher pass. In the summer, teachers get in free. At the time since my daughter was under 2 she did too. Free summer passes for the zoo! Sign me right up. I did that 2 years in a row.
Then I became a stay at home mom. My daughter wanted to go again, and often asked to go so we went a few times, after the first visit I realized what a benefit the pass was. After you pay for parking, your ticket, your child’s ticket and if they want to ride the train or feed the birds, it gets pricey!
I signed us up for the basic package at first because she did not care about the birds or train. However, the following year she did. So we moved up our membership which allowed us free rides, parking, and entrance + 2 guests! This was so beneficial. This past year we went 5 times to the zoo. The pass more than paid for itself.
Plus they have added new exhibits for some of the animals, and it has been fun for my daughter and I to see all the ways it has changed. The penguin home is probably the coolest. Or maybe that is just because we are partial to them.
Either way, if you know you will be going somewhere multiple times, do not be afraid to make an investment and become a member. I am unsure if we are going to renew this next year or find somewhere else. But, I do enjoy having the ability of a membership and being able to reap the benefits. Check it out here!
These were just a few of my tips. What are some of yours? Do you have a fun zoo near you? I would love to hear some zoo adventure tips! Feel free to comment below 🙂