Zoo Experience

by Claire Young

Heading to the zoo can be a wonderful day for the whole family, but there are a few things to do to ensure the day is extra memorable. We’ve done the hard yards so you don’t have to. Sit back, read through and ensure you never have a, “Oh I wish we’d brought/thought of/planned ahead for…” moment. 

Failing to plan is planning to fail

There’s so much you can do before you step foot in the zoo. The best thing you can do is go to the zoo’s website and look for a daily schedule that outlines animal feeding times and planned activities. From there you can map out your day based on what you want to see and when. Most zoos will also have maps online, so print one out and mark all the animals you want to see, highlighting those you simply cannot miss. Marking out the bathrooms and rest areas will also save you time on the day. 

In saying that…

Don’t be afraid to ditch your plans entirely and go with the flow. Some animals might be so entertaining on the day that they throw your schedule completely out of whack, and that’s OK too! For example, it’s perfectly fine to spend an hour looking at a platypus and wondering why it looks like so many different animals meshed into one. Seriously though, it has a bill like a duck, a tail like a beaver and a body like an otter – it’s like magic!

Be realistic

If the zoo you’re visiting is bigger than Ben Hur, then chances are you might not be able to see everything you want to see in one day (especially if you’re stuck in the platypusary). If you can’t possibly make all of the animal feedings or check out all of the shows you’d like to catch, then consider splitting your trip up over a few different days. This will build anticipation of your next visit and will continue the fun for longer. Win-win! 

RedBalloon zoo day checklist


If there was ever a time and a place for water, then this is it. Pack a water bottle or two to make sure you stay hydrated during the day. Think about packing a few sandwiches and snacks too. Planning ahead will not only save you from lining up, they’ll also keep you under budget. In saying that, you might want to check the specific zoo’s policy on outside food and beverages. There’s nothing worse than packing a picnic lunch if you can’t eat it!

Rise and shine

Most animals are out and about first thing in the morning because this is before they’ve been fed and ready for a snooze. Get there bright and early and enjoy the animals at their liveliest (and the zoo at it’s quietest!).

Comfy shoes are key

You’ll be walking around, stopping and standing for long periods of time and – depending on the zoo you visit – plenty of stairs could be involved too. Appropriate and comfy footwear is essential.

RedBalloon zoo day checklist

Slip, slop, slap

With an action-packed day planned in the great outdoors, chances are you’ll be in direct sunlight for at least part of it. Make sure you take and apply plenty of sunscreen and put on a broad-brimmed hat. 

Say cheese

If there’s one thing you don’t want to forget, it’s a camera to capture all of the incredible things you see. To make things more interesting, you could even host a competition to see who can take the best photo of an animal on the day.

Other Essentials

-       Tickets

-       Basic first aid kit

-       Wet wipes

-       Hand sanitiser (especially after petting zoos)

-       Insect repellent


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