Pandas are Cute

My children and I are “in the Zoo.” (That means “members” to those of you not up on your Zoo Atlanta lingo.) We have been members for a couple of years, and in preparing for our most recent outing, i was reminded of lessons learned in my frequent trips to the zoo last summer. I thought i would share them here:

Make sure that you get a list of the day’s activities. It will usually list the times for animal encounters (such as seeing the elephants eat and bathe) and the feeding times for various animals.

If you see a Zoo Atlanta volunteer, feel free to ask them questions about the animals. They are very knowledgeable and enthusiastic about their subject, and you will come away with a new appreciation for the animals.

If you are by yourself with a toddler, either make the child stay in the stroller the entire time, or don’t take the stroller at all. If you let the child out of the stroller, you are then stuck with a darting toddler, a bulky stroller, and no access to certain areas of the zoo without going a roundabout, ramped (handicapped and stroller access) way to get there as your toddler quickly loses you by taking the stairs. Slings work great for one child, and if more than one adult joins you, take a wagon. It makes jumping in and out much easier for the little ones.

Pack a lunch. There was a McDonald’s at the zoo, but they have done away with it. Good thing, because you try telling the toddler he is going to have apple slices when everyone else is giving their children french fries. Not to mention the god-awful wait times. There is a Nathan’s Hot Dogs, and the last two times I have been, there has been a Chick-fil-a stand. Rumor has it that perennial Atlanta favorite, The Varsity is there occasionally, too.

Pack your own water/drinks. No one searches your bag at the gate, and as far as I know, there is no rule about bringing in your own food and drink. Picnic tables can be found near the carousel, train, and rock climbing wall. (Note that there is an extra charge for the train, carousel, and climbing wall – even for members!)

Don’t forget sunscreen and sunhats.

There is a great fenced-in playground with benches for parents. It is relatively safe for the toddler age group – No long falls, like some of the other playgrounds in town.

Toddler pleasing animal displays include: Elephants and giraffes (big bang for your buck size-wise), gorillas (especially now that there are three baby gorillas, including a rare set of twins!), and the playful otters and lemurs.

If you still have energy afterwards, there is another playground in Grant Park, too. It is a nice walk from either of the parking lots, and will really wear your kids down so they’ll sleep in the car on the way home. For those who like to dance in the great outdoors, there is a large gazebo in the park (which is a great location for after-zoo picnics). Other Grant Park sights? The Grant Park Pool, soccer fields, a pavillion, and a fountain or two.

Need a wildlife fix until your next trip to the zoo? Check out ZooAtlanta’s PandaCam. Pandas are cute!

1 Comment so far

  1. wrong (unregistered) on June 19th, 2006 @ 4:58 pm

    I think this was meant for

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