Toddler's day out

Trips with toddlers have their own set of rules — but with a little planning and the right tips, your family day at the zoo can be fun for everyone.

Toddler and mom at the zoo

From planning to arrive when the zoo opens to scheduling some downtime during nap time, discover six tips for taking your toddler to the zoo.

1

Plan your trip early

Most toddlers are in a better mood first thing in the a.m., so planning your trip long before nap time — say, as soon as the park opens — can help make for a smoother day at the zoo. While most toddlers won't last through a full day at the zoo, getting in as much as she'll tolerate before nap time grumpies will make your family day at the zoo more pleasant for everyone.

2

Engage your toddler's senses

From animal sounds to touch, smell and sight, exploring the zoo through your toddler's senses will help you sneak some learning into this fun family day, too. Be sure to ask your tot lots of question about the things she's hearing, smelling, touching and more to make a family day at the zoo more interesting for the youngest members of your brood.

Before you snap pics at the zoo, get tips on how to take good photos of your toddler >> 

3

Stock up on stroller snacks

While snacks are vital for curbing toddler cravings, munchies can banish boredom, too. That's why stroller snacks are just as essential as the stroller is to trips with toddlers! Focus on snacks that your kiddo can feed herself or that can be portioned out in the stroller tray. A hungry toddler is just as unhappy as a bored toddler!

4

Choose hands-on attractions

Toddlers can tire quickly of looking at animals from afar, so be sure to incorporate some touchy-feely exhibits such as the petting zoo area or feeding opportunities. Just remember to emphasize that your kids can only touch certain animals within this safe setting — you don't want your toddler thinking she can pet a wild raccoon later on in the week!

5

Make your zoo trip educational

Not only should you summarize what you're learning about as you visit each exhibit, you should also get your toddler geared up for learning by visiting the library or watching animal videos in the days before you head to the zoo. It will keep your kiddo more engaged when what she learned is front of mind — especially during a long day at the zoo.

6

Schedule a sit down around nap time

When your family day at the zoo is bound to go well beyond nap time, opt to schedule any tram tours or shows involving sitting down around your toddler's nap time. For lucky parents, toddlers will be more likely to nod off during the vibrations of a tram ride or while comfortably snuggling in your arms.

Find out what to do when your toddler sleeps on the floor >> 

Although each child is different, these six tips for taking your toddler to the zoo can help your family day at the zoo be less of a circus — and more enjoyable for everyone!

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