7 San Diego Zoo Tips for the Family

INSIDE: Tips and tricks for visiting the San Diego Zoo with the family and kids.

Tips and Tricks for visiting the San Diego Zoo with the family | DazzleWhileFrazzled.comThere’s nothing like summer vacation with the family, am I right? As Arizonans, the entire state escapes our crazy triple digit heat and goes west to Southern California. It’s hard not to run into a fellow “Zonie” as you tour around San Diego!
With three kids in tow, we filled our vacay with lots of activities, including the amazing San Diego Zoo. Going anywhere with a trio of small kids and a wagon in tow can make anyone want to take off for the jungle!
So here are my top 7 tips for visiting the San Diego Zoo with the family. And an easy DIY zoo-themed water bottle craft to make the trip complete!
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7 San Diego Zoo Tips for the Family

Tips for visiting the San Diego Zoo with kids | DazzleWhileFrazzled.com

1. Get to the zoo early
The San Diego Zoo is huge. You will log many miles on that fitness tracker for sure! Assume you will spend the majority of your day there. And why not, there’s so much to see! Plan to get there when the zoo opens at 9am. There’s nothing like seeing animals bright eyed and bushy tailed first thing in the morning. As the day goes on, the zoo gets busier and the crowds get bigger. (This mama don’t do well with kids + crowds + an empty wagon. Which brings me to Tip #2…)


San Diego Zoo tips for visiting with family | DazzleWhileFrazzled.com

2. Bring a stroller (or wagon) if visiting with kids

You may find yourself at some point in your zoo visit pulling a wagon without a child riding in it. A wagon full of cracker crumbs, water bottles and a small pile of crumpled zoo maps with excited kids running next to free transportation instead of being in it! However, a wagon (or stroller) is handy to hold your bags and possibly a child way overdue for a nap. Or, consider renting a stroller at the zoo. At some point, someone will sit in it!

Bring stroller or wagon when visiting San Diego Zoo with kids | DazzleWhileFrazzled.com

3. Talk to a friendly volunteer upon entering the zoo 
We were greeted by a very friendly volunteer in a red collared shirt upon entering the zoo. She may have approached us from the overwhelmed vibes we were probably giving off! This friendly woman took the time to explain the zoo map and directed us where to start our tour. It was well worth the 5 minute chat. She gave us a super great suggestion…

How to visit the San Diego Zoo with your children and family | DazzleWhileFrazzled.com

4. Do the most walking first
Start the day by doing the most walking first. Like the zoo animals, we were energized and bushy tailed at 9am! We headed toward the Outback and Urban Jungle first and continued touring the perimeter of the zoo. By the time we reached the Lost Forest section, the sun was sunnier, the crowds a little larger and the kids ready to lounge.

Visit San Diego Zoo in morning to see most animals | DazzleWhileFrazzled.com


5. BYOF
Bring Your Own Food (and drinks and snacks). The San Diego Zoo is awesome enough to let you bring in a backpack (no coolers, though) of goodies to get you through your tour.There are many seating areas throughout the zoo where you can have your own little picnic. It’s a great way to chill out, people watch or plan what to check out next.

How to visit the San Diego Zoo with young kids and family members | DazzleWhileFrazzled.com

6. Save the Children’s Zoo for the end of the day
As suggested by our friendly volunteer (from Tip #3), visit the Children’s Zoo at the end of your zoo day. By then, mama’s feet hurt, dad’s been pulling an empty wagon yet the kids are (miraculously) still asking for more! Chill out on a bench while the kids climb on the Discovery Playground or chase the goats around the Petting Paddock. And if you have a 5-year old who’s been asking to see snakes all.day.long, the turtle, reptile and insect exhibits are all located within this very compact area.

Visit the Children's Zoo at San Diego Zoo when touring zoo with family | DazzleWhileFrazzled.com


7. Chillax on the Moving Walkway
There are several options if you want to just chill out and give your walking shoes a breather. Jump on the Moving Walkway which takes you from a lower elevation to a much higher one in about 5 minutes. Or treat yourself to the Skyfari for a scenic view of the zoo below. And the Double Decker bus tour is a great way to get an overview of the zoo and check out those areas you may want to spend more time in.
And if you’re lucky, you’ll get about 45 minutes of a peaceful little guy (or gal) snoozing in the wagon cuddled up with their stuffed monkey they had to bring from home. With a San Diego Zoo map as a makeshift shade structure. #parentwin
How to have fun with kids and family at the San Diego Zoo. Tips and tricks for visiting San Diego Zoo | DazzleWhileFrazzled.com
And because a zoo to the trip can still be crafty, make some super easy DIY Zoo-Themed Water Bottles for the kids with printable stickers!
Kid water bottles when visiting a zoo made without a vinyl cutting machine | DazzleWhileFrazzled.com
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One thought on “7 San Diego Zoo Tips for the Family

  1. Leslie says:

    We go to the zoo all the time here on the opposite side of the country, and these are great tips. Definitely agree to bring your own food. It’s easy to spend all the cash you have if you don’t! Thanks so much for sharing at the #happynowlinkup!

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