Taking Baby to the Zoo Tips
There are so many amazing things that you will want to make sure your child experiences in their lifetime. Taking them on fun trips, introducing them to exciting things, and educating them on the world around them are all great ideas. But you need to keep in mind that things you used to do easily before baby came along will not be quite so easy anymore. Take going to the zoo, for instance. As a child with your parents or an adult on your own, this may have seemed like no big deal. As a parent of a baby, it becomes a whole different thing.
When planning any kind of trip with baby – whether it be a long vacation in an exotic locale, or a short day excursion around your city – you need to put thought and effort into making sure things go smoothly. You can’t be as impulsive as you once might have been. This need to take your time and plan includes even trips to places like the zoo. Zoological parks are an amazing way to introduce your new child to nature, but there are some things you need to keep in mind before heading out. These five tips for taking baby to the zoo should help you make the most out of your and baby’s adventure!
1. Plan Accordingly
Taking baby to the zoo will not be the easiest excursion for you to undertake. You’ll have to drive to and from the park, as well as find parking (and maybe pay for it), pay entrance fees, spend hours walking, and most likely spend hours carrying or pushing baby around. You’ll be outside a good portion of the time, and you’ll be surrounded by other families. If you want things to go as well as possible, you need a plan before you head out.
It may seem overkill, but take the time to sit down and really work out the details of your trip. Figure out how long it will take to drive to and from taking baby to the zoo. Budget your money for parking, admission, snacks or meals, drinks, souvenirs, rentable strollers, and anything else you can think of. Then make sure you have extra time and money figured out so that you won’t be in trouble if something unforeseen comes up. Keep in mind that it is better to be over-prepared than under-prepared when taking baby to the zoo.
2. There’s No Such Thing as Over-Packing
Carrying a million things plus your child around a zoo does not sound fun. But taking baby to the zoo isn’t like some of the simpler trips you’ll go on. You will not be around stores where you can buy diapers, wipes, formula, pacifiers, or sunscreen. Even if the gift shops do carry some of these items, they won’t be for a low price. You need to take this into consideration and pack accordingly. Do you want to pay twice as much for an item you need in an emergency, just because you didn’t want to carry it in your baby bag?
Taking baby to the zoo is the perfect time to bring out the ‘big’ baby bag. Fill it with all the things you will need to get through a long day away from home. Aside from diapers, wipes, baby powder, and sunscreen, be sure to pack extra baby clothing, blankets in case it gets chilly, towels in case there’s a sudden downpour, an umbrella in case it is rainy or too sunny, and a first aid kit. Include snacks for yourself and baby as well, in case those offered at the park aren’t appropriate for your normal diet, or just too expensive to spend money on.
3. Remember They’re a Baby
Some babies get excited over everything they see. They laugh, burble, and cry if you don’t let them look at all of the people and animals and things around them. But other babies aren’t as interested in the outside world yet. This is an important thing to keep in mind when taking baby to the zoo, especially for the first time. They may sleep through the whole trip, or show little interest in the animals you are introducing them to. You have to realize this doesn’t mean it’s a wasted trip. It just means you may be enjoying it more than they are on this visit.
Strange sights, smells, and sounds can also be over-stimulating to babies. Zoos often have large crowds who are loud in and of themselves, and then you can add in the sounds of animals making their natural noises. It can be too much for some babies to handle.
Even the quiet animals can be scary for someone who has never seen them before. A lion who suddenly stands up to it’s full height and pushes it’s face against the side of it’s enclosure can be very startling.
Baby may not enjoy such a thing and let you know, very loudly. Remember that this is all new for them and that just because they are upset now doesn’t mean they’ll be upset later. They may find the giraffes terrifying but love the penguins. You need to give them time to adjust to their surroundings before you decide to give up and cancel your experience of taking baby to the zoo.
4. Safety First
Large crowds always pose a safety risk for you and your baby. They can be noisy and unruly, scaring baby if it’s not used to that kind of thing. They can also carry illnesses that baby might contract from being near them. You need to keep this in mind when taking baby to the zoo. Limit their exposure to other people as much as possible throughout the day. Don’t let strangers touch baby. Keep them in a covered carrier or stroller if you can. And make sure to clean your hands in a restroom or with hand sanitizer often.
It is also necessary for you to keep in mind that the zoo is not a controlled environment like your house is. There is always a risk of sunburn from really sunny days, chill from really cold days, and sickness from wet and rainy days. Baby could hurt itself on the sharp edges of enclosures, or be jostled too much in large crowds. They could also get bitten or stung by an insect flying around. Carry a first aid kit with you and make sure it is stocked with items specifically geared toward infants. Some medicines and ointments are not safe for babies to ingest or have on their skin. You don’t want to risk making them sick while you are trying to make them better after an accident.
5. There Will Be Other Trips to the Zoo
One of the most important things that you need to remember when taking baby to the zoo is that you will have a lot more chances for such adventures in the future. You can pack enough, plan enough, and be prepared enough for any type of situation to occur, and still have the trip go badly. You need to not let it ruin all further opportunities of taking baby to the zoo.
If you find that baby screams the whole time, has no interest in the animals, and ends up sick from exposure to a lot of new people, keep in mind that this was just the first time you tried such an experience with them. They will grow and change – and become more immune – as the years go by. This time gorillas might scare them, but when they are a toddler gorillas may be their favorite. Carrying them around all day now may be exhausting, but in a few years they’ll be mobile and ready to run themselves around the zoological park. There will always be another chance for a great trip when taking baby to the zoo if this one isn’t what you hoped it would be.
Taking baby to the zoo can be a lot of fun, but it will not be an easy undertaking. Much planning, preparation, and patience needs to go into your visit. If you aren’t prepared to put so much time and effort into the trip, it may be a good idea for you to wait until they are older before attempting such a thing. Creating memories with baby is important, and giving yourself the opportunity to experience things once you’ve become a parent is also important. But you need to take the time to decide if such a visit is worth it at this point of your baby’s life.