How to Enjoy the Zoo

Have you ever thought that a trip to a zoo was no fun? This article will help you learn to enjoy trips to the zoo.


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    Choose a time of year when you can enjoy being outdoors without worrying about cold temperatures, repressive heat and humidity, insects, or other discomforts. Quite simply, a zoo experience involves spending some time walking and viewing outdoors.
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    If your schedule permits, choose a day during the week to plan your visit - avoid weekends or holidays when zoos are typically most crowded.
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    Plan your visit to begin early in the day if the weather permits. Finding a parking space will be simpler, and there shouldn't be long lines at the admissions booths. For a large zoo, realize it takes a lot of time to visit every exhibit, so coming early will allow more time to see what the zoo has to offer.
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    Pick up a zoo brochure or guidebook to help you find your way around the zoo. Often, these will have information about different animals, locations of rest rooms and water fountains, and other information to help you enjoy your visit.
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    Follow the signs that direct you to different animal exhibits and other zoo features. Most zoos are designed with exhibit areas set up along pathways or sidewalks, and the signs at path intersections will guide you to the animals that you are most interested in.
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    Find the largest animals that inhabit the zoo you are visiting. You may be surprised just how large some animals are when you get close to them. Elephants, hippos, and rhinos are some large species you may see.
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    Look for the most dangerous animals the zoo has on exhibit. Many zoos have venomous snakes, carnivorous cats, and large reptiles like alligators you can enjoy observing safely.
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    See for yourself how some animals use camouflage to blend with their surroundings. Predators use this to ambush prey, and prey also are adapted, to hide from the predators.
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    See how some animals are much easier to spot! Nature gives some of it's creatures bright fur (or feathers) to attract attention, often to help them find a mate.
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    Take your visit as an opportunity to see rare, exotic, and even threatened species. Some species futures may actually depend on the efforts of zoos to maintain breeding and animal health programs, as well as the research that may enhance the animal's survival.
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    See local animals you may not get to catch a glimpse of in the wild very often. Zoos are home to many native and exotic species, from local rodents and birds who come and go as they please, to wild mammals, reptiles, and amphibians.
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    Enjoy the way the zoo designer uses architecture from a specie's native land to add an authentic atmosphere to viewing it. Some larger, well-funded zoos build realistic display enclosures for some of the animals there.
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    Visit areas of the zoo where kids can play. This zoo has a special jungle trail where kids can climb and explore, burning off energy and having fun.
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    Take time to appreciate artwork that has been incorporated in the zoo's design. Many zoos have art themes around exhibits to enhance the visitor's experience and to add dimension to the understanding of the subject you are looking at.
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    Take time to read information posted at each exhibit to learn more about the animal you are looking at.
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    Enjoy the zoo's flora, as well as its fauna. Many zoos are combined with gardens, and in fact, are often call zoological gardens, to help illuminate the public that they are a combined display of animals and plants.
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    Don't walk around too much at once. Stop and sit on the benches occasionally .If you don't, you will get tired, and you won't have fun.


  • Avoid getting too close to the glass for certain exhibits, and DO NOT tap on it.
  • Take bottled water and snacks if the zoo you are visiting allows you to, since vendors at the zoo often charge premium prices for these, if they are available. Many zoos provide picnic/eating areas for individuals, groups and families and many zoos are placed in public parks that can also be used for gathering, cooking and dining.
  • Take extra film for film cameras, or batteries for digital cameras.
  • Find out what time of day the animals you are most interested in seeing are most active and plan your visit/tour to take advantage of this.
  • Take a break occasionally to keep from being worn out from being on your feet.
  • Some zoo's offer special, after hours tours or other special events such as allowing visitors' observation during feeding times for some of the animals (this is particularly interesting when the big cats are getting fed).Visit the zoo's website if they have one to find out details about the activities they schedule, and information about admission cost, hours they are open, and the variety of animals they have.
  • Rent a locker, if available, to store your most cumbersome/heavier items instead of lugging them around with you throughout your visit.
  • Its always good to check out the zoo's website before you go. Some of the larger ones have great interactive areas for children, where they can get to know about the animals before they go and then the trip is more exciting because they want to see their favourites. Also its always great to visit a zoo when they have recently had a new baby born
  • Remember to take a warm jacket if it is going to be cold.


  • Research the zoo's animal welfare policies before visiting. Lots of zoos exist to help endangered species and keep animals from harm, but some only care about making money and don't provide their animals with veterinary care or even enough space or food. If you like animals (and you probably do if you want to visit a zoo), you wouldn't want to support a zoo that treats their animals badly, would you? Always find out the facts first.
  • Obey all posted rules for the zoo you are visiting. They are there for the safety and well being of both you and the animals.

Things You'll Need

  • Sun block
  • Comfortable shoes and a hat
  • Camera and binoculars, if you have them

Sources and Citations

  • Photos taken at the Audubon Zoo, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA.

Article Info

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