Finding a toddler-friendly event venue can be a daunting task. You need to find the right mix of walking time versus stroller time, a realistic cost versus time spent at venue ratio and the ideal amount of hands-on activities versus watching activities.
That’s why we are big fans of the Akron Zoo. In fact, even with only a 20-month old son, we have a season pass because it’s one of our favorite places to spend the afternoon. If you’re looking for a fun day at the zoo, here are five tips for a successful visit with your toddler:
Toddler Approved Tips for Your Visit to the Akron Zoo
Tip # 1 – Bring an easy in/out Stroller or Wagon
If you forget a stroller, don’t worry too much because the zoo rents strollers out for a fee. However, it would be smart to bring a stroller or wagon that you are comfortable putting your child in and taking them out quickly and on a regular basis.
The zoo offers some great little paths that are safe for little ones to run around. There are even stations around the park to do physical activities like jumping jacks or push-ups. Also, many of the animal exhibits let you get right up to the glass, so it’s an awesome way to get a photo of your little one’s nose pushed right up to the giant Grizzly Bear.
There is also quite a lot of walking and some big hills, so you’ll want the ease of putting your kiddo back in their stroller.
Tip # 2 – Pack Sun Protection!
Whether you need sun screen, hats or sunglasses, make sure to bring them with you. There are some indoor exhibits, as well as an indoor/outdoor café (with food to purchase), but much of the zoo is unshaded.
Tip # 3 – Wear Comfortable Walking Shoes
You’ll be walking a lot, and although the zoo is not huge square foot-wise compared to some other zoos, it does require a lot of walking. Some of the more intense walking is up a large hill too.
Due to the smaller size of the zoo, the access and proximity to exhibits and the fairly uncrowded atmosphere you will hopefully have the opportunity to really take your time, walk around and appreciate the animals with your little one.
Tip # 4 – Check for Special Activities
The Akron Zoo offers a lot of events for families, such as: naming of the animals, feeding of certain animals or even exclusive meals for different holidays. The website notifies you of upcoming events, the pricing and how to sign up.
It’s always neat to have an additional activity for your toddler to partake in if you know about it ahead of time!
Tip # 5 – Bring Extra Cash
Some of our favorite aspects of this zoo are the small side attractions. For an extra two dollars you can ride on the train, feed the petting zoo animals or ride on the beautiful carousal (our little guy is a huge fan of that carousal). The great thing about a toddler is that you just pay for the child, and the accompanying adult is free. Also, don’t miss out on the sea otter slide (which is free).
Although the Akron Zoo isn’t huge, it’s easy to spend an entire afternoon enjoying the unique and often one-on-one experience with the animals. The clean bathrooms, fresh water fountains and large cafeteria make your visit with a toddler even more relaxed.
Don’t forget your camera because you’re bound to snap some memorable photos of your toddler taking in the wonderment of the animal kingdom.
Akron Zoo – Website
500 Edgewood Ave, Akron, OH 44307
Hours: Open 10am – 5pm daily (April 1 through end of October, winter hours vary)
Pricing: (As of Summer 2016) April 1 through end of October: Adults – $12, kids – $9, 62 and older – $10, parking – $3 per vehicle, Akron Zoo members – free
- More than 700 animals
- Large paved parking lot ($3 per vehicle, free for zoo members)
- More than 50 acres
- Lehner Family Zoo Gardens
- More than 7,000 plants and flowers
- Single and double strollers, electric scooters and wheelchairs available (some for rent)
- Komodo Kingdom Café
- Grasslands Café (open seasonally)
- Several large, clean restrooms
- Water fountains
- Picnic areas available throughout venue
- Petting zoo area
- Small riding train
- On-site playground area