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


47 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.
    1. Haha 😂 I am sure you get 100%. Thanks for visiting and commenting. Have a wonderful rest of the week.
  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.
  7. A few months ago I went to a zoo with my nephews. To be honest, it was more like a safari. They loved the experience! We took almost everything you just said with us. Except for one thing: the aid kit! Thank God nothing happened but I won’t forget it next time. It’s really important!
    1. Glad to know that you had a wonderful time with your nephews. It is important for kids to have such experiences with close family members. Thank you for reading this post and commenting. Have a wonderful week ahead.
  8. So, I find your above list a pretty good plan for what to pack for a zoo trip with a preschooler. As a school teacher, I once took a pre-school class on a trip to the San Diego Wild Animal Park… on a day that it turned out to be rather rainy. You might be surprised just how many parents didn’t think to bring many of these items along with them, despite our letters and e-mails home reminding and suggesting such items. One poor little girl arrived in a sun dress and sandals and boy was she miserable all day! On a humorous note, I actually pack just about all of the same things when I personally go on a day outing to the zoo… except of course for a stroller. Though I have to say, my husband might not mind being pushed around the zoo in a stroller.
    1. Sorry to hear about the little girl having a miserable day.

      About your husband, I cannot blame him. 🙂

      Have a wonderful day.

  9. A good list for a well-prepared outings. It been long the Family visited a Zoo,this topic has trigger the urge.Will make another trip soon and this list will come in handy.
  10. When preparation meets planning it becomes a success, it is a good advice to plan for an event before the set date by bucket listing all that you want on the paper. And going to a zoo especially with toddlers preparation of what is needed for the trip is very important and has to be handy( it’s also good to add extra because kids can be needier sometimes than what is expected ). They may need more things than even the parent and it’s our sole responsibility to take care of them.
    Anytime we are preparing for this type of trip, we make sure everything is set five days before the date especially water and snacks. But some of the things you’ve mentioned above is omitted because we thought it’s not necessary, will definitely add when next so as to save some stress we normally encounter. It’s been long we visited the zoo last but we shall be there soon.
    Thanks for the post.By the way, lovely pictures you took there!
  11. Glad to know that you liked the post. I like the five days of cautionary time to prepare. Thank you for the idea. Best regards.
  12. Well you were really prepared. I am sure that the kids enjoyed the trip and they will remember it as one of the good memories they have with their responsible parents.
    1. Yes, we all enjoyed the trip, especially our little one. Zoo visit is a great fun for any kid. Thank you for visiting and commenting. Have a wonderful weekend.
  13. I’ll probably bring my camping bag with a lot of unnecessary stuff in it, good thing I stumble upon this informative blog entry of yours.
  14. Thank you for this checklist! We don’t have to worry anymore what to bring in a trip to the zoo. This items is also applicble in open ground concerts, trip to the mall , and many more trips on a vacation.
  15. Thank you for the Tip. We’re actually planning on visiting a zoo since it’s been ages since our last visit. Is it okay to bring food for animals, or it’s not a good thing to feed the animals?
  16. Those are some great pictures that you took. I haven’t been to a zoo in ages, we were actually looking at buying some tickets recently but we instead went to the aquarium which was quite a lot of fun. I think, the best thing to do, like you said, is to make sure to take some food or little snacks. Especially in the heat, you can take extremely tired after a while so it is important that you have water and some snacks to eat. It’s also a good idea to take your own stuff because of how overpriced some of the food can be at the zoos.
    1. Oh, aquarium is so much fun. I am happy to know that you had a wonderful time there.

      keeping your own snacks with you is a great idea. Thank you for visiting our blog and commenting. Have a great weekend.

  17. I like the idea of carrying a stroller with you, because toddlers tend to get tired first. Also you can use the stroller for baggage carrier. Thanks for this ideas, and you can also adapt this tips in other situation were you go out on a trip or even going to the mall.
  18. I have a four months old baby boy. Next year, he will be old enough to enjoy a zoo visit. I know kids love animals and birds. They are fascinated by animal colors and animal sounds. However, as a new parent I don’t know what should I take with me when taking my kid to the zoo. Thanks for these wonderful ideas. I will remember to take a stroller and extra set of clothes for my baby boy.
    1. Wow … Many many congratulations. A four month old — all the little bundle of joy. Have a wonderful time. Thank you for taking the time to visit and comment.
  19. I’m not a fan of going to the zoo because I respect animal freedom. We visited the zoo few times because of my niece for her to experience it when she was little. Anyway, having all the items when we go to the zoo park is essential especially with kids. it’s better to be ready and have all the stuff with you than nothing. A very good reminder and information.
  20. At this age, I have not been to a zoo. The one that was close to where I live was closed a few years ago when I was about to start going out with friends and family members. I’m glad to see the necessary items one needs if visiting the zoo for it will come handy if there is need to see a zoo in the future. Thank you for the time to pen the article down.
    1. Here in my country, which is the Philippines, the government almost derelict our Manila zoo and you couldn’t even call it zoo anymore because a lot of animals had already died. The only animals that you can see there are like a monkey, tiger, lion, snakes, 1 elephant, some fishes and that’s it. There are no more hippopotamus, giraffe, or any other exotic animals that are usually can see here in this zoo. Our government sucks. They can’t even take care even a small thing.
  21. We bring most of the items you have mentioned above when we go to zoo with kids, except for the stroller, first aid kit, and snacks. We don’t bring a stroller because our kids can walk. They are not toddlers anymore. About the first aid kit, sadly, we don’t bring such important item. I admit this is one of the things most of us take for granted. A first aid kid is very important in case of emergencies and it’s really hard when you don’t have one while you have kids with you who can’t take care of themselves. Thanks to this blog. This is a good reminder. And lastly, we don’t bring snacks because we want to travel light. We just bring extra money instead. It’s more handy. Zoos here have food and souvenir shops so we just buy foods there. Extra money is also good to bring for unexpected things.
  22. El Paso zoo looks like a full park zoo drawing from the photos. I loved going to the zoo when I was younger and almost made it a hubby. My home was just a few blocks away so there wasn’t much of a preparation, and unfortunately not many memories were captured. This is why am appreciating your post.

    I like the points you made on camera. Technology has taken the best of us recently and we tend not to think or executive things deeply and instead do it the easy way as modern technology has provided us with such options. I also like the point on first aid kit and umbrellas, you never know what to expect.

  23. You have listed all important things that we must carry with us during almost all trips we make. Even if we go in the park, visiting the zoo or museum or just walk in nature we must take these things with us, especially food and water. Paper or wet towels should not miss from our luggage as well.
  24. Not only during a zoo trip but when going for a trip a must haves. Every trip is exciting I barely can’t sleep the night before thinking what to bring and what to prepare. I always have this habit to make a check list for each of the following members on what to bring. The same checklist we have to check after every trip to avoid leaving things behind. That includes survival kits like Swiss knife, flash light, lighter, plastic, ropes etc. I even bring a whistle just in case of emergency. I remember the movie Titanic where the only one that survives the female lead character was when she used the whistle during that rescue operation. Because she barely can’t shout for help she used the whistle to call the attention of the rescuers. The main point is being prepared in whatever occasion whether trip or not you must have to be ready.

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