Lions and Tigers and Bears… Take Your Kids to the Zoo

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Happy mother and daughter watching and feeding elephants in zoo.

As our kids grow in years and curiosity, it is our job as parents to find outlets to help your child expand his or her knowledge and experience. Often, the experiences we take for granted are new and exciting for our children.

Take a trip to the zoo as an example. We may have been to zoos many times in our lives. But when we take our children for the first time, we get to experience the wonder and novelty through their innocent eyes. 

For Minneapolis/St. Paul residents, we are lucky enough to have two amazing zoos to visit. Let’s take some time to talk about the Minnesota Zoo, the Como Park Zoo, and their hours.

We will also go over some of the best tips and tricks to ensure your trip to the zoo is successful. If you are looking for the best family-friendly activities, join the Twin Cities Kids Club for amazing deals and discounts.  

father and little daughter looking at reticulated giraffe in zoo

Minnesota Zoo

Hours-

Memorial Day to Labor Day- 9 am-6 pm

May-September- Mon-Fri 9 am-4 pm, Sat 9 am-6 pm, October-April 9 am-4 pm

Come and see more than 4,700 animals from all over the world. You will find animals from-

  • The woodlands of Minnesota
  • Tropical rainforest
  • Northern Plains
  • Oceans
  • Reefs
  • The Far East of Russia
  • Even a family farm

Open 363 days a year; the Minnesota Zoo features miles and miles of indoor and outdoor trails. You will be amazed at all there is to see.

Father and son at the zoo. Spending day with family at the zoo.

Como Park Zoo & Conservatory

Hours-

April-September 10 am-6 pm, October-March 10 am-4 pm

Twin Cities residents are lucky enough to have one of the last free zoos left in the country. Walk around and spend time with a wide array of both animals and plants. They are open 365 days every year, so you can always find a day to go. 

Close to the Zoo is the Como Town Amusement Park and the historic Cafesjian’s Carousel. There is something here for everyone, both young and old. Bring the whole family for an entire day of fun. 

Now that we have talked a bit about some of your options for a fun zoo day let’s go over some of the ways to ensure your trip to the zoo is a success. 

Kids love animals. They love to be next to them, especially if they can hear and touch them. Visual learners at their core, kids learn by experience. 

No matter how old (or young) your kids are, they can find something to engage them on your visit to the zoo. Even the most well-behaved children have their limits. 

We recommend keeping your zoo visit under two hours. You can stretch that a bit if you plan to take a break for lunch. It is also best to try to plan your visit on the days when the crowds will be smaller. 

You know your kids best. If your little ones are reaching their breaking point, don’t push it. You don’t want to drive them too far so that they are turned off for future trips. 

happy toddler boy and his young mother looking at animal at zoo.

Before you head to the zoo-

Plan ahead

If you can, try to purchase your tickets before you go. Skip the lines and jump right into the fun as soon as possible. 

If you plan to visit regularly, consider investing in a zoo membership. Typically, you will make the membership fee worth it if you visit the zoo three or four times. 

Pack it all up

No mom needs to be told to pack a go-bag. Every mom has a practically endless supply of snacks and extra clothes in their Mary Poppins-esque diaper bag. For some healthy snack ideas, check out our list here.

If you are planning to bring a bag lunch, make time to pack it the night before. Save yourself money and avoid the high prices at the zoo. 

More important than the food, though, make sure you bring plenty of water for those hot afternoons. Remember that you will be doing a lot of walking and you need to replenish those little bodies. 

It would be best if you also planned to bring sunscreen, sun hats, swimsuits, towels, and extra clothes. Most zoos have a small water feature to cool off your kiddos. Be prepared for that eventuality. 

Sing all about it

In the days leading up to your zoo visit, spend time listening to songs that feature animals. Maybe even watch movies about animals or documentaries that feature real-life animals. This will prepare your child for the fun they will have spending time with the animals. 

Dress for success

You will be walking a lot on your zoo trip, so proper footwear is essential. Don’t let your kids pick shoes that you know to be uncomfortable. Trust us; your kids will find enough to complain about. 

It would also be wise to prepare for the day by dressing in layers. Most zoos have indoor and outdoor exhibits. Some indoor exhibits, such as the penguin house, can be a bit chilly. Prepare you and your family for anything. 

Bring a stroller

As we have mentioned, you will be walking- a lot! If your kids are still young enough to need a stroller, bring it. Otherwise, you will be carrying your tuckered kiddos by the end of the day. 

Cute little girl petting and feeding a goat at petting zoo. Child playing with a farm animal on sunny summer day. Kids interacting with animals.

At the zoo-

Find the petting zoo

Most zoos have an area where your kids will be allowed to pet and feed the animals. You can bet that this will be your kids’ favorite part of the day. For toddlers, especially, the petting zoo is always a hit. 

Soak up the knowledge

Most zoos offer a wealth of information for those willing to look. Find the signs that tell you more about the animals you visit and read them with your children. If your kids are old enough to read, have them read the information to you.

Cute little girl at zoo looking at kangaroo.

Have fun!

Never forget the reason you came, family fun time! Whatever attraction strikes the fancy of your bunch, go for it. Try not to stress, and your kids will take their cues from you. 

If you are looking for the best deals and discounts for family fun in the Twin Cities, join the Twin Cities Kids Club today.

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