Toddler

Budget Friendly Spring Activities with Children: Going to the Zoo

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Spring has sprung! The weather is changing (constantly) and we are happy to get out of the house.

There are many activities to do with young children during the spring time. But which activities can you do that are budget friendly and won’t break the bank?

Recently, I became a work-from-home mom to my 16 month old toddler. To say he is a busy little boy is an understatement! I had all these visions for what I wanted to do with him when I became a work-from-home mom.

Obviously, many of the activities available for toddlers cost money. Not that I mind paying for my toddler to make memories, learn, and have a good time. However, those things add up quickly!

While being a work-from-home mom for over a month now, I have found several activities to do with my toddler that are budget friendly! Not only are they budget friendly, but they are fun and educational as well. Today, I am going to share one of the those activities with you.

Going to the Zoo!

The weather has been so nice lately. My son has been obsessed with wanting to be outside all the time. So, I figured what better way to spend a day than by going to the zoo! There is so much to see and do. The environment is rich with learning opportunities and wonders that would amaze my son.

So we packed up the diaper bag/backpack with various snacks and lots of water. Then, we made a our way to the zoo. This budget friendly trip turned out to be one of the most exciting adventures my son has been on yet!

Admissions

Depending on your area, the admissions fee will vary. For my area, the zoo was $6.00 per person and children under two years old were free. This meant that the total we spent for entry at the zoo was $12.00 for my husband and myself.

Activities

This one is probably common knowledge, but there are SO many activities to participate in at the zoo! There are opportunities to visit all kinds of animals. There are interactive activities as well.

In addition, there are plenty of chances for photo opportunities. The zoo we visited incorporated several platforms for children and adults to pretend to be different animals. This created fun pictures to keep for memories!

Animals

At the admissions counter, there were free copies of a map of the zoo that listed all the animal habitats they had throughout. This is helpful for those who have not visited the zoo before or if you are looking to visit a specific animal.

My son was just happy with the animals available to see at the entrance, which were peacocks! We also visited the tiger, some bears, two golden eagles, and some monkeys. We then went to the farm animal exhibit housed at the top of this particular zoo and noticed the cows, donkeys, pigs, and even saw some deer!

While seeing the animals, we made sure to expand on our son’s observations. We discussed with him what he was seeing. For example: when we saw a bear, we pointed out that it was a large bear that was brown. We also showed him how to use his baby sign language to say “bear.” We did this for as many of the animals as he would listen to!

Interactive Opportunities

There was an interactive map as well so for older children, this would be ideal. The map was blank, but had pictures of the enclosures. The activity was for children to visit each enclosure and identify which animal lived there and write it down on their interactive map.

We witnessed several children excitedly going to each enclosure to view the exotic animals and read about their habitat. The zoo also provided a history on why each animal was living there.

**Side note: The zoo we visited was a sanctuary zoo. Therefore, all the animals living at this zoo were found and saved from their previous situations.**

Extras

This is something I was not prepared to see, but when my husband saw this opportunity, he knew we needed to do it!

We live in Northern California and a lot of history from our area stems from The Gold Rush and gold panning. There was an opportunity for us to pretend to pan for gold at the zoo! It was an additional cost ($6.00), but what we got was a great experience and some pretty, colorful, and cool gems that we panned for ourselves!

Another extra to keep in mind are zoo events! Take a look at your local zoo’s website or find information on Facebook about zoo events or specials. Many events that we see taking place around our zoo include Star Wars Day, Disney Day, etc. The staff members dress to the part of the theme and there are displays throughout the zoo that are decorated accordingly.

They also offer separate events where we can go and experience the zoo from another perspective and get some cool prizes or gifts! Many opportunities for fun and learning.

Our zoo also offers classes to teach young children how to treat animals nicely and respectfully so that they can grow up with a love and respect for all living things!

What Have You Experienced at the Zoo?

We loved going to our local zoo and turning it in to an opportunity for learning for our son. He learned the animals names, colors, and heard their unique sounds. But, I am also aware that others are against the zoo experience altogether. For us, we acknowledged that this zoo was a sanctuary zoo and therefore was a safe place for the animals.

I am curious to know if you have had a positive experience at the zoo with your little one(s)? What activities did your zoo offer that is different from the activities we experienced? I would love to know how you incorporated your experience to be a learning experience for your child(ren) in the comments below!

Always,

Samantha <3

**To expand on older children’s knowledge and zoo experience, click the image below for your FREE instant downloadable activity sheet!**

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Budget friendly spring activities to do with children- going to the zoo

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First time parent to an incredible little boy residing in Northern California. I hold my M.A. in Education with a Specialization in Culturally Responsive Education. My mission is to consistently provide helpful content for other parents to draw from. Parenthood is ever-changing! I look forward to sharing my experiences with you and hope that my posts are insightful.