No monkeying around: How to save on your next trip to the zoo
Lions and tigers and bears … and savings, oh my!
Looking for a budget-friendly way to bid adieu to the summer? Plan a trip to the zoo with your family. We’ve got ways that you can save big on your next trip whether you’re considering a day trip nearby your home or are looking for a fun excursion while on vacation.
Here are four sure ways to save at the zoo, because, well, it’s a jungle out there.
You’ll find discounted tickets on Trusted Tours, a savings site, plus you’ll get an extra 4 percent Cash Back from ShopAtHome.com when you purchase tickets through the site using this link.
Some of our favorite zoos are featured on Trusted Tours, including the world-famous San Diego Zoo that’s located in Balboa Park and features a popular Giant Panda exhibit. (The zoo, almost 20 years ago, worked out an agreement with China to house two adult pandas and their young. The zoo now has three giant pandas — including Xiao Liwu, a baby panda born July 2012).
Trusted Tours also features deals to the Aquarium of the Americas plus Audubon Zoo in New Orleans and The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens in Palm Desert, California.
Bring your own souvenirs:
Every parent knows the dangerous trap that is the souvenir shop. A stuffed animal or book in the gift shop can usurp the cost of the admission ticket — and you might just cave because you want your kiddos to have a souvenir to remember the day. Plan ahead and buy your children an animal-themed gift in advance. One affordable idea that we love? The newly released Dr. Seuss book What Pet Should I Get. The children’s book was recently published after manuscripts were discovered and literary experts believe the book to have been written between 1958 and 1962. What Pet Should I Get hardcover book, $10.19, Barnesandnoble.com
Pack a snack:
Much like the gift shop, the snack shacks can quickly add to your bill. Pack your own snacks — and make it fun for your kiddos. We’re thinking zoo-themed treats like Goldfish, Animal Crackers or frosted Circus Animal cookies. Round out the theme with a horse-print lunch box that is adorned with cute, pink spots. Wildkin Lunch Box – Kids, on sale $13.99, Kohls.com
Do your research:
Check with your local zoo to see if they have any “free days.” In fact, some zoos are even “free” year-round. The Saint Louis Zoo, for example, doesn’t charge for admission — however, special attractions like the Sea Lion Show cost $4.
Other free zoos: Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago, Illinois; Smithsonian National Zoological Park in Washington, DC and the Como Zoo and Marjorie McNeely Conservatory in St. Paul, Minnesota is free with a suggested donation of $3 for adults and $2 for children.