It has taken me awhile to get to the new exhibit at the Edmonton Zoo. I had seen plans for what they were putting in last year when we visited but to be honest I had very low expectations. I have always enjoyed taking J (age 4) to the zoo but it was something we did once a year because it was close. We went last week with our family and I was very impressed!
If you have a child that loves construction and big equipment you need to go sit in the parking lot for an afternoon. J could have sat there all day watching the excavators and big dump trucks pushing dirt around. If the lure of Grandma waving to him inside the gate wasn’t there I’m sure we wouldn’t have even gone into the zoo!
The weather was rainy and cool which made it perfect weather for seeing all the animals. They were all outside and active. Even the Snow Leopard came down off his bed and walked around for a bit.
The new exhibit is fantastic! There are so many things for the kids to learn about, climb on, and find. The zoo did a great job of creating tunnels to crawl through, placing statues of small animals inside for the kids to find. This kept J busy for a very long time while I sat and fed Baby G. The skeleton was also a big hit along with the vertebrae seats! The sea lion tank is huge and has ample room for people to sit and watch them swim around.
On previous zoo trips I would spend an hour or two wandering around, go see Lucy, go for a train ride, and leave. This time I was glad we packed a lunch and spent the time to fully look around and enjoy everything the zoo has to offer.
Top tips for a successful zoo visit:
- Go at 2:30-3:00. This allows for enough time to see everything before it closes but also ensures that you miss the crowds of school groups and day camps.
- Pick a cooler or rainy day to go. The animals are way more active which keeps the kids entertained longer. The monkeys were running around and chasing each other which kept Baby G very entertained!
- Pack a snack/lunch. There are great picnic areas with good climbing trees for the kids to burn off some energy and act like monkey’s themselves!
- Avoid the petting zoo if there are rambunctious kids in there. Your kids will not get close to any animals because the animals all run and hide in the ‘off limit area’. You are better off to come back later when the animals have calmed down.
- If you are going on the train get tickets at the front gate. This allows you to hop on as soon as you see the train coming, avoiding waiting in line with impatient kids. Also the train stops running an hour before the zoo closes so get there before 5 to avoid a melt down!
- One of the Sea Lions gets a little territorial about her water tank. Scared the munchkins (and the Sister-in-law!!) when the sea lion popped up against the glass and hissed at them. Don’t press your face up to the glass!
- Take time to talk to the staff. They are very friendly and knowledgeable! They answered all of J’s questions about zoos and the animals that live there. If you have a four year old you know how amazing this is!
Deanne Ferguson has spent the last five years caring for her three boys Jack 4, Gavin 8 months, and Chris 29. She is passionate about helping families find ways to enjoy Edmonton without having to spend lots. She has also found a way for her shopping addiction to become a business by becoming part owner of Stayinyourjammies.com an online children and maternity consignment store.