INSIDE: Tips and tricks for visiting the San Diego Zoo with the family and kids.
There’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!
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7 San Diego Zoo Tips for the Family
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…)
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!
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…
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.
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.
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.
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