The Cleveland Zoo is an animal wonderland for both kids and kids at heart. This venue is designed to entertain visitors at all age levels, which makes it a great destination for the entire family.
Due to the wide appeal, there’s a lot to consider when bringing a toddler to this zoo. Although there are a variety of engaging activities, you want to come prepared for a day that will please your little one, and make the day easier for yourself too.
Here are a few tips to ensure the Cleveland Zoo a complete success with your toddler in tow.
Tips for Exploring the Cleveland Zoo with a Toddler
Tip # 1 – Bring a stroller/wagon and comfortable walking shoes
The Cleveland Zoo is large! Although the 183-acre zoo offers lots to see, it also requires a lot of walking. Also, the exhibits are fairly spread out, so your toddler probably won’t be walking from station to station.
For those of you who just aren’t up for the walk (especially up the big hill), there is a tram that you can take if needed.
Tip # 2 – Check out the Map Beforehand
Due to the sheer size of the zoo, it would be wise to take a look at a zoo map before you trek out. That way you can identify the animals that your toddler loves most. You can also get a sense of what is close together and maybe try to hit up the few exhibits that are close in proximity to one another.
Even if you don’t get around to everything, you’ll still have a blast, and this way you know you viewed the most desirable animals for your little tribe.
Tip # 3 – Look at Times for Animal Feedings
One of the coolest and probably most engaging activities that the zoo offers is animal feedings. It really adds to the nature experience for your kids witness the animals eating.
It’s good to get a feel of these feeding times when you arrive. That way you aren’t standing out in the heat waiting.
Tip # 4 – Bring Cash
From the many indoor/outdoor cafés to the several additional activities, there is a lot more to experience than just the wildlife. You can even ride a camel! We are always big fans of the train and carousel. There are also outdoor play sets and plenty of activity spots along the pathways.
These are all great options to let your little one burn off some steam in between exhibits.
Tip # 5 – Don't Forget about the Rain Forest
The first time we went to the zoo we completely missed the Rain Forest exhibit. The Rain Forest is tucked back on the other side of the main entrance. However, your admission tickets get you into both the zoo and the Rain Forest exhibit, so don’t miss out if you have a reptile lover!
No matter when you visit the Cleveland Zoo, there is more than enough for your toddler to see! Make sure you check out the website for specials (for example, on Father’s Day all dads are free).
Take a moment to plan your day to ensure you hit all of your little one’s favorite exhibits. And, of course, bring your camera to capture the moment.
Cleveland Zoo – Website
Location: 3900 Wildlife Way, Cleveland, Ohio 44109
Contact: (216) 661-6500
Pricing: (As of Summer 2016) Adults – $12, 62 and older – $12.25, ages 2-11 – $10.25, under 2 – free
Hours: Daily: (As of Summer 2016) 10am – 5pm, starting May 28 the zoo is open until 7pm on Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays through Labor Day
- 183-acre zoo
- The Rain Forest
- African Savanna
- Australian Adventure
- Northern Trek
- Primate, Cat & Aquatics
- Waterfowl Lake
- Stillwater Place (reception rental space)
- Free parking
- Several indoor/outdoor eating options
- Stroller, electric wheelchairs and push wheelchair rentals available (call ahead of time to reserve wheelchairs)
- Bathrooms, changes stations and water fountains located throughout venue
- Play places located throughout venue
- Shaded areas located throughout
- Small train
- Tram service (with approximately 20 minute wait time)
- Areas designated for nursing mothers; including family restrooms