How to Behave in a Zoo

Many people, especially parents with their children, visit zoos for pleasure. It’s interesting to see native animals up close or exotic creatures from other parts of the world. Modern zoos are, for the greater part, not solely intended to entertain, not simply playgrounds and not a place just for picnics or parties. Zoos should educate and inform as well as helping to protect endangered species. Many zoos are scientific institutions, so visitors should obey the rules. This article will explain how to behave in a zoo.


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    Do not feed animals or birds. Animals can become ill after they eat unsuitable food. Remember that each animal has its own ration, fed to it by the zoo workers. Do not feed the animals even if the animals seem hungry.
    • Sometimes, for example at Petting Zoos, food for some of the animals can be purchased so visitors can interact with the animals. This is the one time it's okay to feed zoo animals.
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    Let the animals stay calm. Do not make loud noises, clap your hands or attempt to scare them to get a reaction. Many animals are afraid of noise, timid and shy even though they are captive. You don't know how long some animals have been at a particular zoo or in an enclosure or they may be recovering from a injury or have a new animal in their midst. Any zoo bird or animal may be feeling uncomfortable on display on any given day so be reasonable and don't expect animals to perform for your entertainment. They are all just doing what they'd do in the wild as far as possible.
    Some visitors think that if they paid money for tickets, they are allowed to do anything and see every exhibit at its peak performance. It’s not the case. A ticket only allows you to enter the zoo and look at the animals. No animal is obligated to perform tricks for you.
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    Be careful, obey all signage and directions from staff. Zoos can be risky if you don't follow the rules. Do not climb over fences. Don't try to hug animals unless a keeper says it's okay and don't try to take photos of yourself or your children with the animals from anywhere other than behind the barriers and fences.
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    Do not ask the zoo employees unnecessary, silly or inappropriate questions. They are busy with their work; they are not guides. Information about animals is usually provide by their enclosure. Read about the zoo and any animals you're especially interested in before visiting the zoo. If a zoo keeper or other expert is giving a talk or demonstration at any of the enclosures, listen quietly and ask questions when invited to do so. Any joke you think of they will of heard at least 100 times so don't make any!
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    Use a map or guide book to plan your route around the zoo. If there are exhibits you don't want to miss, visit them first. Plan your route around the zoo so you don't have to rush around and so you don't find yourself heading in the opposite direction as everyone else at a peak time.
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    Don't push to the front of a crowd to see what's going on! Wait your turn, others will step back when they've seen what they want to. Everyone has paid the same entry fee so everyone's entitled to look at everything as long as they like. If you don't get to the lion's den at feeding time, for example, you can't expect all the people that did to step back and make room for you, or your children.
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    Be aware of others taking photographs. Many zoo visitors like to record their trip with photos of the animals and birds. They may wait many minutes for the perfect shot just for some other oblivious visitor to walk right through their shot or, worse, allow their child to run shrieking up to the animal's enclosure for it never to be seen again that day.
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    Respect the animals and workers, and they will respect you in return. Enjoy your visit to the zoo!


  • Read these steps twice to remember them by heart.


  • Be vigilant visiting zoos with small children. Children do fall into or intentionally enter enclosures which can lead to serious injury or death for them or the animal.
  • Never get out of your car in a safari park area with loose, dangerous animals. Safari park visitors have been mauled by tigers because they didn't stay in their car.

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