Zoo Day with the kiddos is a lot of fun, but it can also be very stressful if you don’t do it right. Well, it can be stressful even if you do do it right, but following these next tips will help lessen that stress.
- Plan Ahead
To skip time in line, buy tickets ahead of time. Look for events that might interest your child and try to plan around those if you can. Check your zoo’s website the day before to get the times for opening and closing, too. You have no idea how many times I’ve thought a zoo opened at 9, only to find out it opened at 9:30. It’s not fun to sit in a car for a half hour with a toddler.
- Plan Around Sleeping Schedules
There is nothing worse than a tired child on Zoo Day. Plan your trip around nap schedules so that both you and your child can enjoy the animals and happiness of it all. If your child naps at noon, go for an early morning trip or one in the late afternoon. Again, make sure to keep in mind that your zoo’s opening and closing time may change, so you should always check the website the day before to ensure you have the right times.
- Bring Eve You Might Need for the day
And by everything, I mean everything. Water, snacks, extra snacks, a backup outfit, layering-optional clothing for cold or hot days, a camera, something to carry your child in (carrier, stroller, etc.) if applicable for his age, basic first aid kit (your kid will probably fall at least once), umbrella, cash (include coins for parking, strolling rentals, etc.), comfortable shoes, diapers, wipes, over-the-counter medications, sunglasses, sunblock (even if it is overcast!), etc. Pack it all in a light backpack so it’s easy to carry — minus the stroller, of course.
- Take a Picture of Your Child Before You Arrive
It’s hard to do this sometimes, but it’s important to plan for the worst. While it isn’t likely you will lose your child at the zoo, take all precautions in case the event does occur. Taking a picture of your child before the trip will provide zoo employees and other patrons with a good idea of who they should be looking for. Make sure he is in the outfit he will be wearing around the zoo. It is also a good idea to tag your child with your information, such as phone numbers and names.
- Know Both Your and Your Child’s Limits
It’s really easy to want to cram a trillion things into one day, but this can make it hard to enjoy anything at all. Plan time for your child to sit and relax. Pick a bench, plop down, and have a snack. Talk about what you’ve seen so far and ask him what his favorite parts have been. When you’re ready, get back in the game!
- Take a Few Pictures, Then Put Your Phone or Camera Away
It’s important to remember you need to actually live the moment you’re in. Sure, it’s important to have reminders of the event, but if you’re too busy trying to capture those reminders, you won’t have time to enjoy it while it’s right in front of you. Take a few pictures, then put your camera or phone away so that you can thoroughly enjoy the trip.
- And most of all, have fun!