What to pack for a zoo trip with a kid

What to pack for a zoo trip with a toddler? A zoo trip with children cannot be sudden. It needs some preparation. #parenting #children #summerfun #travel #familyfun #family

Early elementary stage or Pre-k is a great time when children enjoy watching all the beautiful animals in the zoo. Going to a zoo with children cannot be a random and sudden decision, though. We need some preparations and a great zoo packing list.

Here is a handy checklist containing things you may want to bring with you during a zoo trip, especially when there are children involved.

  1. Camera
  2. Hats
  3. Stroller
  4. Water
  5. Snacks
  6. An extra set of clothes (for kids) and a light towel
  7. Sunscreen
  8. First aid
  9. An umbrella
  10. Allergy medicines
  11. Wipes, hand sanitizers, and tissue

The rest of the article contains further details about the checklist.

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1. Camera

Nowadays, it is easy to forget a regular camera given that everyone carries one with the smartphone.

Every time we go for a zoo trip, my cellphone betrays by showing the message that it does not have enough space left. 🙁 A solution that we started to try out recently is — we try not to forget our regular camera.

Even if you remember to grab your camera, which has sufficient 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 well before you are headed toward the zoo.

2. Hats

A hat is another item that can be easily forgotten. Visiting the zoo requires a lot of walking for a long time.

If you went to a zoo during summer, in a dry-land like El Paso or a humid coastal town, you might already know how unbearable it feels to walk under the direct sun. You start looking for shades. Each family member must have a hat/cap.

There may be a hat-related caveat with toddlers and preschoolers. They have a strong opinion about many things. Before the zoo trip, parents need to make sure that the child knows she/he will need to wear the hat at the zoo.

3. Stroller

We used to keep a lightweight stroller in the trunk of our car when Dear Son was a toddler. We stopped keeping the stroller in the car when Dear Son outgrew it.

A zoo is a difficult place. After some long and tiring walks and occasionally running in some treehouses, a preschooler or a toddler will appreciate an umbrella stroller. As a warning — you may 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 an extra set of clothes.

If you do not have an umbrellas stroller, you may consider renting a stroller at the zoo. Not all zoos have stroller rentals. Therefore, you will need to check the zoo website for information on stroller rental before the zoo trip.

4. Water

Make sure to carry a few bottles of water. If the kid 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 a zoo-expedition.

Make sure to get some rest at regular intervals and drink some water. Find a spot that has some shades. Toddlers and preschoolers love elephants. They will enjoy a relaxing time near the elephants.

If you prefer to carry a lesser number of water bottles with you, make sure to refill the ones you take 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 one half-liter water bottle for each family member and the kid’s favorite water cup/container. Make sure to check if the bottles need a refill whenever you see a water fountain.

5. Snacks

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 a higher amount of calorie consumption and, of course, a possibility of the 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 make some sandwiches for the zoo trip. I will skip this if the zoo has a restaurant.

6. 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, but kids may also spill and spoil clothes, causing themselves a great deal of discomfort for the rest of the zoo trip.

7. Sunscreen

We prefer SPF-50 sunscreens for Dear Son. Sometimes it feels too thick. If the sunscreen feels too sticky, I apply a daily moisturizer first and then apply the sunscreen. It is important to include 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.

8. 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 expiry 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 for Dear Son.

9. 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.

10. Allergy medicines

Depending on the season, you might want to carry some allergy relievers. Sabadil has given exceptional results if I take it during the early stage of allergy symptoms. Flonase and Nasacort are two great allergy symptom reliever nasal sprays that work well for my family. I prefer to keep allergy relievers with me during a zoo trip.

If any family member has a history of an allergic reaction to the touch of animals, make sure to keep the reliever medication just as a precaution. There is limited to no chance of contact with animals in the zoo, but you never know how the reactionary-agents will pass when we are at proximity with zoo-animals.

11. Wipes, hand sanitizer, and tissue

Keeping some disposable wipes and hand sanitizer is good. Generally, parents carry a bag of wipes when children are small. As children grow up and cross preschool, the bag starts to become smaller. In my experience, a small bag generally does not contain wipes. Keeping some disinfectant wipes and small hand sanitizers helps in the zoo, especially before eating anything.

I generally keep a small tissue pouch in my bag. I will still double-check if the pouch has enough tissue before heading to a zoo.

What else do we need to consider for a zoo trip with kids?

The post provides a list to address the question of what to pack for a zoo trip with a toddler or a preschooler. Every kid is different. Therefore, parents need to tailor the zoo trip packing list to make it suitable for their children.

We have a few zoo trip tips in addition to the zoo packing list. It is better to reach the zoo early in the day so that you have ample time to cover most of the interesting parts. Ask your kids if they are interested in some specific animals. Use a zoo map to plan the route inside the zoo. Try to plan the path such that your kids can see most of their favorite animals in the earlier part of the trip. That way, you can make sure that the children will enjoy the zoo visit and remember it as a happy memory.

Some pictures taken at the the El Paso Zoo are shared below. Hope you will enjoy.

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

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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?

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  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. 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!

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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!

  21. 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.

    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.

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