What to pack for a zoo trip with a kid

We visited El Paso Zoo a few times in the last few years. Pre-K is a great time when children enjoy watching all the beautiful animals in the zoo. Going to a zoo with a preschooler cannot be a random and sudden decision though. We need some preparations. Like many other lists, we have one on what to pack for a zoo trip with a kid. On a zoo trip, we make sure that we have the following items with us.


Nowadays, it is easy to forget a regular camera given that everyone carries one with the smartphone. The problem is, on a photo-intensive trips, we find that the cellphone does not have enough space left to take descent number of picture. 🙁 As a solution, we try not to forget our regular camera.

Even if you remember to grab your camera, which has ample memory, you might find that the battery of the camera does not have enough juice after taking a few pictures. Therefore, remember to charge the battery before you are headed toward the zoo.


A hat is another item that can be easily forgotten. Remember that going to a zoo requires walking and sometimes standing for a long time. If you went to a zoo during summer in El Paso or in any coastal area, you might remember how uncomfortable the direct sun feels after spending some time. You start looking for shades. Each family member must have a hat/cap.

There is another hat-related caveat with preschoolers. They have a strong opinion about many items. Therefore, you need to make sure that the preschooler knows that she/he will need to wear the cap at the zoo.


We used to keep an umbrella stroller in the trunk of our car when Dear Son was a toddler. We do not keep the stroller in the car anymore because Dear Son does not want to use it much nowadays. However, a zoo is a difficult place. After some long tiring walks and occasionally running in some tree houses, the preschooler will definitely appreciate an umbrella stroller. As a reminder — you will have to become the stroller if you do not bring one with you.

An added benefit of a stroller is that, you can use it to keep water bottles, snacks, and extra set of clothes.


Make sure to take a few bottles of water. If the preschooler has a favorite sippy cup or water bottle, please do not forget to take it with you. I am sure I do not want the whining on this expedition. Make sure to take some rest near the elephant display area and drink some water. Find a spot that has some shades. The preschooler will want to spend some time near the elephant given that a baby elephant is George’s best friend.

If you prefer to carry lesser number of bottles with you, make sure to refill them whenever you see a water fountain. Not all zoos have fountains in close distance. If you are visiting any zoo for the first time, make sure to take three half liter water bottles and the kid’s favorite water cup/bottle, if a total of three people are there. Even if you start with three bottles of water make sure to check if the bottles need a refill whenever you see a water fountain.


A plat of fresh cut fruits.Some simple snacks for the family would be good, especially if there are kids. Low-sugar cookies, preservative and sugar-free dry fruits, and fresh cut fruits are good options.

It is better not to include juice in the snack list because it leads to higher amount of calorie consumption and, of course, a possibility of cavity. You might have read that the American Academy of Pediatrics is discouraging juice in a kid’s meals.

Most zoos will have one or more fast food or other restaurants. If not, it might be a good idea to keep some load of carbs, for example, sandwiches. I will skip this if the zoo has a restaurant.

An extra set of clothes and a light towel

It is good to keep an extra set of clothes of the child and a light towel, preferably a quick dry towel. This is because there might be water parks in some zoos. The El Paso Zoo has a water park. Kids love to play in those water parks. The towel and the extra set of clothes really become handy after the great fun.

Not only because there may be a water park, kids may spill and spoil clothes causing themselves some discomfort during a zoo trip.


We prefer SPF-50 sunscreens for Dear Son. If it is too thick, I apply a daily moisturizer first and then apply the sunscreen. It is important to include a sunscreen in the list of what to pack for a zoo trip because the sunscreen may wear off due to sweating or splash-splashing in the water park.

First aid

Neosporin First Aid Antibiotic is good for minor cuts and scrapes. It may help on “ouch”-kind of bug bites too. I keep a small tube in a first aid kit of size no more than four or five inches in width and height. Such first aid kits are available as zippered pouches. I keep the pouch equipped with bandaid and gauze pads along with the Neosporin.
I check the expiry dates of the Neosporin, bandaid, and the gauze pads every few months. For bandaids and sterile gauze pads, usually the date is listed on the box. Therefore, I check the original bandaid boxes for expiry dates. Expired or soon-to-be-expired bandaids and gauze pads become play items of Dear Son.

An umbrella

An umbrella is not an absolute necessity but it might be handy on a hot summer day. It helped us during a few sudden showers.

Concluding remarks: The post provides a list to address the question what to pack for a zoo trip with a kid. Every kid is different. Therefore, parents need to tailor a list or come up with a brand new list that is suitable for their kid.

We visited the El Paso Zoo a few weeks ago. In the following gallery, we are sharing some of the photos we took.

Settle in El Paso team
Prompt: Evanescent


22 thoughts on “What to pack for a zoo trip with a kid

    1. Yes, we had a blast! El Paso Zoo was hosting a Birdshow, which was of great fun. Thank you for visiting our blog and commenting.
  1. Thanks for writing this. I think i can give myself 90 % when I went some children to Zoo.
  2. Your post is really good. It has all the main points. I remember when i went with my son to zoo for the first time, it was so funny because i had so may stuff with me that people thought that we went in a trip for a few days!
  3. The El Paso zoo looks awesome, especially those birds! Definitely my favorite part of any zoo 😀 Cameras are definitely important to remember,( even though I almost never do, whoops!) because there’s nothing worse than trying to take pictures of some adorable critters when your phone’s out of storage space.
    Now I want to go to the zoo 😀
    1. Haha … we face that “out of storage” message a lot too. Now-a-days I keep my camera in my bag. That being said, one has to remember to charge the battery regularly. 🙂 Have a wonderful evening.
  4. This is a complete list of what needs to be taken while visiting a zoo and I do not think any speciall list needs to be prepared for every child as it is a common list suiting every child.

    Your trip to the zoo seemed quite fulfilling looking at the various photos.

    1. Glad to know that you liked the post. The trip to the zoo was very exciting. Dear Son enjoyed it a lot. We are planning to go again at the end of summer. Thank you for visiting and commenting.
  5. Ah, I wish we had all of those animals at our zoo as well. Our zoo is probably much smaller than the one you visit. But it is still a nice activity for the whole family. We usually go a few times per year… once we even drove to the capital city because their zoo is absolutely amazing and has many very exotic animals.

    Your list is pretty accurate! We are always the people that forget to bring the umbrella though, haha. We usually go in the summer times but still, rain can be very unpredictable.

    1. I am absolutely with you — going to the zoo is a great family activity. It does not matter how big the zoo is. Thank you so much for visiting and commenting. Have a wonderful weekend.
  6. You have some really good tips for items to pack on a zoo trip! I think a lot of people might forget to bring sunscreen and first aid.
    1. Yes, it is easy to forget some of the items but with some early plans it is possible to bag everything. Thank you so much for visiting and commenting. Have a wonderful Friday tomorrow followed by a great weekend.

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