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200 million people visit accredited zoos every year, and 50 million of those are children. It’s no surprise that kids love the zoo. The zoo isn’t just a fun trip. It’s an educational one, too!

Critter Chatter

One surprising benefit of a trip to the zoo is enhanced language development. The zoo offers a rich vocabulary, from animal names to locations around the world. Ask­ing questions, making observations, and reading signs at exhibits create unique op­portunities for kids to expand their knowl­edge and comprehension. To keep the learning going after your trip, try checking out a book at the library about some of the animals you saw together!

Sense-ational Studies

Children learn best by doing, and there’s no better place than the zoo for hands-on, engaging les­sons. Take advantage of keeper talks, workshops, and petting zoo areas to give kids a chance to explore new information that is much more exciting than on a page or screen. Another benefit of zoo trips is the chance to use all their senses to process what’s happening. Pay attention to what you can see, what you hear, what you can touch and feel, and yes, even what you can smell, for a truly immersive experience.

World of Wonder

Environmental awareness and conservation are important in today’s changing world, but big, abstract concepts like these can be tricky for kids to understand. The zoo is a great way to share information about taking care of our planet and its creatures in a child-friendly, hands-on way. Learning about animals and their habitats from all across the planet gives kids insight into how humans can impact the world and helps foster curiosity and compassion. Follow up your visit by brainstorming ways you can take care of the earth in your own home and neighborhood!

Don’t let your plans be derailed by grouchy kids (or parents)! To make sure your visit goes smoothly, plan for plenty of rest, free play and bathroom breaks. Don’t forget snacks, water, sun protection, and comfy shoes.

Now, your family is ready for a brain-building, boredom-busting walk on the wild side!