Places to Go With A Toddler – The Zoo

Last updated on September 8th, 2023 at 06:42 pm

The Zoo is a great place that can be visited often, as it’s probably too big to do all in one day.   A mix of indoor and outdoor exhibits mean that you can visit year round.

The zoo offers many activities that are toddler friendly and they will love seeing the animals and learning new words.    

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Why Zoos Are Great For Toddlers

Gets Them Outside

Visiting the indoor Giraffe House during winter

Experts recommend that toddlers have at least 3 hours of outside time everyday.  

Zoos usually rely on a lot of outdoor exhibits, which is perfect for the warmer months.    

BUT, don’t underestimate the zoo in winter.   The mix of outdoor and indoor exhibits will allow you to have some outside time, with the ability to warm up inside.

Research and see if your zoo has a ‘kid zone’ – you may be pleasantly surprised to see a splash pad, sandbox or playground available.

Introduces Them to Wildlife, Conservation and Environmental Issues

Toddlers may be a little young to start learning about human environmental impact and loss of animal habitats, but exposing them to different animals early will help them make connections later.  

Zoos will also help them connect what animals are, by seeing them in real life versus in a book.    

Animal books are a great place to start with toddlers though!

I highly recommend First 100 Animals for toddlers. The picture book is the perfect introduction to a vast array of animals, some they will see on a farm, some at a zoo and some at a petting zoo.

Expands Their Vocabulary

Not only will they learn the animals names, but if you take your time to describe the animal’s physical features you can expose them to a vast array of words.  

Words your toddler may learn at the zoo:

Before You Go to the Zoo with your Toddler

In addition to reading books focused on animals, sing animal songs to prepare.

Toddlers love songs and singing.   Learn these fun animal songs and sing them on your way to the zoo.

‘Let’s Go To The Zoo’

YouTube video

We’re going to the zoo

YouTube video

Things to Pack for the Zoo for Your Two Year Old:

  • Comfortable Shoes
  • Snacks
  • Change of clothes (we had a puddle vs toddler incident once)
  • Hat
  • Sunscreen
  • Stroller

Tips for the Zoo

1.  Check out a map ahead of time and plan your route.  Pick the 5 animals that are ‘must see’ and work your way through to ensure you see them.  

2.  Check out the show schedule. You may want to take a break and sit and watch a zoo keepers show.  See if any fight within your route and timing.

3.  Bring in your own food and drink to eat healthier and save some money.  There should be designated picnic areas or seating you can use. 

4.  Don’t feel pressured to see everything.  Going through the zoo slowly will help your toddler retain the information they are seeing.

5.  Don’t keep your toddler in their stroller or wagon the whole time, let them run up to the glass or fence so they get up close and personal with some of the animals.

When You Go Home

Keep the love of the zoo and animals alive by playing with some zoo animal toys.

Melissa & Doug Safari Sidekicks Classic Play Sets

10 miniature safari animals featuring toddler favorites: lions, giraffes and elephants. 

Buy it on Amazon    

Fisher-Price Little People Share & Care Safari

This 2-feet tall Animal themed toy features 6 animals, 2 slides, 5 activations and 6 different habitats.  This toy will keep your toddler busy long after their zoo trip. 

See it on Amazon

LEGO DUPLO My First Animal Brick Box

This toddler Duplo set features four animals your toddler can put together that then all attach into a train (another toddler favorite).

See it on Amazon

Have Fun At The Zoo With Toddlers

Now that your toddler is walking and talking they will love a day at the zoo.  The new sights and sounds and people watching will keep them engaged and will tire them out for their afternoon nap.  Have a great time at the zoo!

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