The oldest kiddo and I went to the San Diego Zoo last week and had so much fun! I'll admit that we've struggled a bit with getting him involved and engaged in the zoo before. He likes the animals and all, but kids are fickle. They want action and excitement! Outside of feeding time, animals tend to just kind of sit there for much of the day. This isn't the circus: they aren't here to perform for us.
Must-Do at the San Diego Zoo!
Fortunately, I did a little investigation and found several can't-miss ways to get kids hands-on and totally involved at the San Diego Zoo.
Spend the Night
Did you know that you can sleep over at the San Diego Zoo? True story. Wildlife Sleepovers are aimed at youth groups, and they offer the opportunity to sleep near the sheep. Or giraffes. Whatever.
Be Like a Bird
Take to the sky in the Skyfari Aerial Tram! This high-up vantage point gives you a unique overview of the park layout – and it gets your from one end of the park to the other in a jiffy. There's the West stop near the polar bears, and the East stop near the front of the zoo. We like to meander down past the lions, around the pandas and up to the polar bears before hitching a ride back to the front on the Skyfari at the end of the day. It's a perfect way to round the trip out and catch a phenomenal view. You can bring small, collapsible strollers on with you to this open-air gondola ride. Do note, however, that there is a maximum of four people allowed in each bucket and all kids younger than 8 must be accompanied by an adult. I once showed up with my 7, 6, 4 and 2-year-old and was unable to ride. Sure, I probably could have passed the oldest off as 8, but there was no way he was about to ride in a bucket by himself.
Experience Animal Encounters
There are designated times when you can meet with “animal ambassadors” throughout the park to get up-close and personal with your favorite species.
Have a Q&A
At the zoo, we were able to sit down with Dr. Zoolittle so the kids could unleash all their questions. He is so knowledgeable!
See a Movie
Bet you didn't know that the San Diego Zoo has its own theater! They've shown Ice Age specials and other interactive, kid-favorite characters in this space. The 4-D theater currently sells tickets to zoom through the rainforest with Blu and Jewel from the popular movie Rio while your seats bump around and your senses are stimulated with various sights and smells.
The San Diego Zoo's own website has a TON of ideas for getting kids actively engaged with animal concepts. You can pack supplies and make your own panda puppet after visiting the pandas! I've even seen craft opportunities occur in pop-up events at the zoo, too.
How do you get your kids engaged in the San Diego Zoo?