9 Ways to Spice up Your Zoo Visit This Summer!

The kids are out of school, and you’re looking for an excuse to get everyone out of the house. Visiting your local zoo and aquarium is a great summer activity for the entire family–but it doesn’t have to be just a plain, ordinary visit. There are many different ways to make the most of your time there.

The Polk Penguin Conservation Center at the Detroit Zoo.
The Polk Penguin Conservation Center at the Detroit Zoo.

Here are a few simple examples of how to spice up your zoo visit during summer break!

Bring a Picnic

Food on the property can get pricey quickly. To save money, my family and I enjoy packing a lunch to go. Most zoos and aquariums have picnic benches, pavilions, or areas where you can stop to eat your homemade lunch. Of course, the kids are still going to want various treats while they’re there (who doesn’t love Dippin’ Dots??).

Educational Presentations

Most locations offer educational programming on specific dates. Be sure to plan ahead and do your research! Make the most of your planned days by seeing what special events they have going on during the summer.

Get Your Exercise In

This one is for all the moms and dads out there! I know, walking around all day in the heat is exercise enough. BUT—if you’re looking to get some extra exercise in, consider wearing ankle weights. A simple trick to add a little more workout to your visit.

Meet the Zookeeper

Contact the aquarium or zoo ahead of time to see if they offer any tours. Some zookeepers will agree to meet with you briefly. How cool would it be to chat with a real zookeeper who can tell you all about the animals they take care of?!

Scavenger Hunt

Grab a map from the aquarium or zoo and start crossing off each animal that you learn about! This is a fun way to help identify and understand what each animal looks like, what their name is, and maybe some fun facts about them.

Snackle Boxes

My new favorite way to take snacks on-the-go! Popping all your various snacks for the day in these containers makes snacking easy. No garbage from a million wrappers—all snacks in one place. My kids love eating out of them.

Sketch Pads

Let kids show their creative side while you’re there. Last summer, I had my kids bring a sketch pad to the zoo and it was a big hit. My daughter loved sketching the animals she saw as I carted her around. She treasured it long after we got home.

Zoo Bingo

Enhance their experience and increase their letter and word skills! The easiest way to do zoo bingo is to use a bingo card—it can be homemade—with various letters on it. As you walk, the kids mark off the letter that each animal starts with. A very fun and easy learning game!

Have an Engaging Experience!

For me, the best thing that I can do to make my family’s zoo and aquarium trips engaging and memorable is to make it a learning experience. As we walk, I love to ask them questions.

  • What do you think that animal eats?
  • Do you think its fur is soft or rough?
  • What was the biggest animal you saw?
  • What was your favorite animal and why?

Heading to the zoo and aquarium can be a great way to spend a nice summer day! Make it extra special by incorporating some of the above tips!

Want to find a new zoo or aquarium to check out? Lindsay also shares all of the unique zoos and aquariums around Metro Detroit in one informative post!

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