Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Tuesday Talk: 5 Tips for Easy Outings with Kids

We had a fun outing at the zoo this past weekend and it went really well.  The kids enjoyed themselves, the adults had fun and the only meltdown came when the zoo was closing and we had to say goodbye to the ocean.  It was a little hot, but other than that our preparation went smoothly.

1. Plan ahead & buy tickets in advance
We purchased our zoo tickets on-line so we could just walk right into the zoo.  You could easily do this with annual passes, too.  It was nice to avoid the long lines of people waiting to get in and save some money by purchasing our tickets early.  It was helpful to check out the zoo website ahead of time to look at the map, show times, features, etc. so we could plan our day in advance.

2. Dress for the Weather & Wear Comfy Shoes
Be sure to check the forecast for the day and dress everyone accordingly.  I keep a hoodie for each of the kids in my car so that if it gets cold unexpectedly I am prepared.  Everyone seems happier when they are wearing comfy shoes.  So I wore tennis shoes to the zoo since I'd be doing the majority of the walking/pushing a double stroller.  I always stick an umbrella in the bottom of our stroller if there is a chance of rain.  The sun shades on our stroller would keep the kids dry and the umbrella would take care of the adults. 

3. Pack Snacks and Drinks for Everyone
Snacks are expensive when you are talking stopping at a drive through for several people.  I'd recommend packing snacks that don't melt for every person going on your outing.  Our staple snacks are Skinny Pop Popcorn, pretzel sticks, almonds, granola bars, carrot sticks, cucumber slices and a little candy.  I bag the snacks in sandwich bags so that everyone gets their own bag.  We can just pass them out in the car or when we are out and about and no one gets hangry.  I always pack water for everyone, too.  We have our own water bottles or I do a cooler with water bottles in it.  Cold drinks and a snack are sure to lift everyone's spirits :)

4. Do Your Favorite Things First
For our zoo trip this meant seeing favorite animals at the beginning of our zoo tour.  Olive requested seeing the tigers so we started there.  I knew she'd enjoy the ocean exhibit so we made a loop around the zoo and finished there.  The whole building is air conditioned so I figured it would be a fun place to cool off.  It was a great way to end the day and we were right next to the exit when we finished.

5. Have Realistic Expectations and Don't Overdo It
When we would travel before we had kids we would pack as many attractions, stops and fun plans into a day as possible.  Now we try to be aware of nap time, all meal and snack times and make sure to give us plenty of time so that we don't have to rush.  I notice that my toddler melts down quickly when the parents are stressed trying to hurry from one thing to the next.  So instead of squeezing in the zoo and the Children's Museum on the same day since they are right next to each other, we opt to visit one attraction per day.

The tiger was super friendly.  His mouth was hanging open because it was hot.  He kept walking laps in his exhibit to say hello.  We were the only ones there for a while and we LOVED seeing him up close.

Little man was happy to be along for the zoo ride.  

 The meerkats were hilarious.  They'd stand, slouch, fall over and run all over their tunnels.  It was so much fun to watch them.

 The Dolphin Pavilion was so neat!  We weren't there during any of their show times, but we went below to watch them swim.  It was so neat and Olive kept asking me, "So where do you think all of the mermaids are hiding??"

 The Oceans were so neat to see.  Both kids loved them and it was great to cool off in the AC.

 We stayed in this building for over an hour - there were so many neat things to see!  There was hardly anyone there since the zoo was closing in an hour.  I talked to a few local moms who recommended coming to the zoo around 3:00 and staying til 5:00 because things aren't nearly as crowded.

 Olive pretending to swim with the fish.  She would have stayed here all day if I let her.

Several of the tanks had built in benches in front of them.  It was perfect for the kids!

Thanks for a great trip to the Indianapolis Zoo!!  We missed the polar bears, but still had a good time.

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  1. These are great ideas. Thanks for hosting.

  2. Olives comment on the tiger was my absolute favorite. I smiled so big when I saw that on Instagram this weekend. I think the #1 tip that you covered is the snacks. Oh the melt downs I have derailed by offering a snack. They are FAR too many to count.

  3. Hey Whitney! These are such great tips. We went on several day trips over the summer, the zoo namely, and we've had a great time as well. Great note about buying tickets in advance. Don't want to start the trip off by waiting in line forver...especially if your venue is outdoors and it's hot! Thanks so much for hosting this week :)

  4. I always try to pack enough snacks but I am so BAD at trying to plan everything! Love this post and your blog :)-Lisa

  5. Snacks and realistic expectations... Totally agree! And the jaguar in our zoo loves to walk back in forth in front of the glass too! And yes, where were those mermaids hiding!?!

  6. These are great tips! We moms always have to be prepared!!

  7. When going somewhere, I often go with NO expectations. Simply because I don't want to stress myself out or the boys.

  8. How were you in Indy this past weekend and did not call me??? 😉 The Indy Zoo is so fun! Love the Dolphins and the elephants! Your tips are spot on...having plenty of snacks and drinks on hand is key for my crew!!

  9. These are such great tips! It might be easy to think that a fun day at the zoo should be carefree and not require any organization or planning, but that's just not the case. You're such a wise Mama to plan ahead with snacks, comfy clothes and everything the kids need to have a fun day. :)

    Whitney @ Come Home For Comfort

  10. We always love going to the zoo! It is so much fun! I'm hoping the weather will continue to cool down soon and that we can make it over sometime in October :)


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