My daughter is 16 months now and has really been getting into animals and the sounds they make so my husband and I thought it would be the perfect time to take her to her very first zoo and also explore our new city so we headed down to the Atlanta zoo.
As I was planning for our trip I stumbled upon some interesting facts about how this zoo came to be. It started in 1889 when a Circus came to visit. The circus was not planning to stay but when they were in Atlanta the owner went bankrupt and had to leave the animals in the city. So soon after that happened a man named George Valentine Gress bought the animals and donated them to the city of Atlanta. The city placed the animals, which at the time were a jaguar, a hyena, a black bear, a raccoon, an elk, a gazelle, a Mexican hog, lionesses, pumas, camels and snakes, in the Grant Park which is a favorite local destination then and now. Something interesting about this zoo’s history is their panda exhibit. Before even moving to Georgia I could remember watching a video in science class in 3rd or 4th grade in Longmont,Co about a giant panda bear being born at a zoo in the US and come to find out that zoo was now my family’s local zoo.
Now that you know a little about this zoo and hopefully are thinking about planning a visit to see their cute pandas I wanted to share with you 6 tips I thought of after visiting the zoo.
1. Bring your own food or eat before. My reasoning behind this is that this is smaller zoo so some people might think that there will be less food being sold there….WRONG! From what I can remember there seemed to be some kind of food cart or building after EVERY animal exhibit so if I had not eaten before had I probably would have spent a good amount of money from those tempting food options. This is a great way to save money and save time if you are wanting to just enjoy the animals and not end up spending 30+ more minutes waiting for everyone to finish eating their food. One rule to keep in mind when packing your lunch is that no alcoholic beverages are allowed. For more of the parks rules check them out here.
2. Check out the animal encounters. If you have a little more cash you can spend on your trip to the zoo the animal encounters are a great thing to look into. There are four different animals you can “encounter” and they are the pandas, the aldabra tortoise, the African elephant and the lemurs. Each encounter varies in price but they all include getting up close and personal with some of the zoo’s favorite animals.
3. Plan your trip around the giraffe’s feeding times. Another one of the zoo’s cool features is that at 11 am-1 pm and 2 pm -3:30pm guests are allowed to feed the giraffes buy purchasing two romaine lettuce leaves for $3. I was a little bummed that we ended up going on a rainy day because the giraffe is actually my favorite animal and it would have been cool to feed one but if you schedule your trip for a day with good weather and at a time that will get you to the zoo during these times than it is something to check out!
4. Check the weather. This goes along with the last tip about planning to go to the zoo during nice weather so you can feed the giraffes. My family and I got lucky because although we went to the zoo on a rainy day the whole two-three hours that we were there it didn’t rain until right as we were leaving. In Atlanta, especially in the spring it seems, the weather can change from day to day and there are a lot of rainy days but the weather men seem to get it right most of the time so it would be a good idea to check ahead of time so you know you will be there are a not so miserable day so you can enjoy the whole experience.
5. Bring sunscreen, hats and water. Although this zoo is in the middle of a park that is full of trees there seemed to be a lot of open spaces where if you stood in the sun long enough you would get a good burn. Also it is a good idea to stay hydrated and going along with the first tip it will save you a few bucks to not have to buy liquids there at the park.
6. Check into getting a zoo Atlanta family pass. This is something that I thought was really cool. If you are a Georgia resident you can easily get this pass for free from any local library that you have a card at. All you have to do is go to your local library the week you are planning on visiting the zoo, check out the Zoo Atlanta Family Pass DVD. Then when you return it you will receive a receipt that is valid for up to 7 days as a zoo Atlanta family pass which will get up to 2 adults (12 and older) and 2 children (ages 3-11) into the zoo for one free day! Pretty cool right? Check out more details about this here.
Those are my tips. We really enjoyed our day at the zoo and although it was rainy it was a quite day full of fun! Check out more pictures below and check out the zoo website for more information to help you plan your upcoming trip!
*I received tickets to the zoo mentioned above for free to facilitate this post. All opinions are mine.