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Going to the Zoo
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Going to the Zoo
This might sounds weird, but I am curious about when my 3 month-
old daughter will start to be interested in going to the zoo...
I have poked around online and found nothing -- any thoughts?
At a year? Two years?
We have a two-year-old, and started taking him to the zoo around his
But I know parents who have taken their child at a younger age than
that. We wanted him to be aware of the animals, and awake and alert
during the visit, so age one seemed to work. If you go to the Oakland
Zoo, definitely get an annual membership to the Bay Area zoos. That way
you can go to the SF Zoo, Happy Hollow in San Jose and others either
free or half-price. We were at Happy Hollow when we joined, but next
time we are joining at the Oakland Zoo as membership there includes a
My son started being interested in the zoo right around age 1, and then
only for the really big animals that you can see easily without a lot of
effort. We also tried to visit first thing or right at the end of the
day when they feed the animals, because there seems to be more to watch
at that time. Go in the middle of the day, and all you'll see are
I took my daughter to the zoo for the first time at nine months and she
loved it, though I think that she was more interested in the people than
the animals. At around 18-months she started taking interest in the
I am a SAHM and fid the zoo to be a life saver. If 'relaxing'
mornings at home aren't working we just pile in the car and off we go.
Elephants can help turn a bad morning into a superb day.
My nephew and a friend's daughter are both turning 2 in April and March,
respectively. They started becoming interested in the zoo at about 1
year old. I believe it's when kids are really tactile and curious and
starting to walk too, but still a little hesitant... so you need to be
there with them. But, do bring celery and lettuce, if it's allowed. I
would, however, recommend starting at the Tilden Park Little Farm, just
to start getting acquainted with live animals. It's free (so you don't
have to worry about paying and having your daughter bored), it's
smaller, most of the animals (cows in
particular) are babies, and there's a nice nature center and tons of
paths to take walks on, as well as areas to picnic.
We took our baby to the zoo for the first time at 5 months. We packed
him for a tour in the elephant barn and strolled him the rest of the
time. It was nice, but I don't think he really got anything out of it. I
started taking him again around 11 months, and by about a year he really
started to see and hear the animals and get excited about it. He is also
now old enough to enjoy the petting zoo and the play equipment in the
I loved taking him even before it was clear that he was aware--it's a
great place for a relaxing and inexpensive day out of the house. We
bought a membership, and now we can just pop in for an hour or so
whenever we need something to do for the afternoon!
A child might be interested in the zoo at around 18 months -- but they
likely won't be interested in what you expect! My son, at 18 months,
didn't even notice the elephants (they were too far away from him!) but
LOVED chasing after the pigeons, and also really liked the bird exhibit
at the Oakland zoo. It wasn't until between 3 and 4 that he reacted to
the zoo like one expects -- interested in the chimps, camels, elephants,
It certainly won't hurt to take an infant to the zoo (it never hurts
kids to go out with parents, as long as they get their naps) -- but face
it, the trip is more for the parent than the child.
You might want to start out by going to Little Farm in Tilden Park.
They have cows, ducks, geese, chickens, goats, sheep...interesting
enough for a baby. I don't think the zoo would work unless your infant
can see long distances and has an attention span longer than 10 minutes
. That being said, you can enjoy the zoo just don't expect your baby
to get much out it yet. Probably about 1 yr to 18 months is
I've enjoyed taking my son to the zoo since he was about 5 months old,
and he's now almost 17 months. If you're near the Oakland Zoo
membership pays for itself after 4 visits, and even though early on he
was in a carrier just looking out and observing, now he enjoys the
Children's Zoo, petting zoo, train ride, etc. It's also nice to be able
to go for an hour or so rather than several hours...easy to do with the
membership. I think he got a lot more interested when he was about 10
months or so.
It is highly variable and depends on the kid. My son, who is now 2 1/2
yo, just recently started showing interest in the zoo - finally, though
he still prefers the trains and car rides over the animals. Of course it
also depends on what you mean by the 'zoo.' There are play and climbing
structures at the zoo that young children love, but interest in animals
can come later. I should add that for a long time my son was much more
interested in neighborhood cats and dogs than in zoo animals, and he
also liked the fish at the CA Academy of Sciences long before he cared
Like the zoo more than my son
Go anytime! I took my son to the Oakland Zoo
for the first time
probably when he was about 6 months old. I remember him laughing at the
little squirrel monkeys jumping around. He watched animals sometimes
(like the big macaws, monkeys, etc.) and sometimes just watched people,
etc. I got a memberhip to the Oakland Zoo and we went often. I'd go
with friends when our babies were crawling and they would crawl around
on the grass in the Children's zoo area and there are things for kids to
climb on. Yes, your children will get more out of the zoo and watching
the animals when they are older, but they will get something out of it
when going as babies. I'll never forget him laughing at the monkeys.
At about 1 1/2 yrs. of age, most toddlers will respond to the zoo
animals, & certainly by 2 are enthusiastic zoo goers. Show your child
pictures of animals, birds, snakes, etc. before you go & talk about the
animals, their sounds, etc.
You'll have a great time, and so will your toddler.
Nana of a 2 yr. old
Babies start enjoying the zoo when they can see out of their stroller.
So I'd say at about 8 months or so. But from 1 year on it is great. When
she is just learning how to walk, it is a great place to practice. That
said, start taking her whenever you feel like going to the zoo. If
you're like me, you haven't been since you were a kid and it is really
fun and interesting. There are lots of newborns there accompanying older
Oakland Zoo Member
It will certainly be a while before your baby is able to show any
interest, but there's no reason not to start now. It is great exercise,
fresh air, and the earlier you start going, the sooner she will become
familiar with it and be able to focus on animals. We began taking my son
to the Oakland Zoo
at a pretty early age, and while we don't go every
weekend, he does know the layout of the zoo like his own house and still
discovers something new there every time.
We took our 5 month old son in December to the
Oakland Zoo. He actually
enjoyed the whole zoo from his front-facing Bjorn...especially the frogs
at the reptile house and looking at the goats in the ''petting zoo.''
They have a new children's section if you only want to tackle that part
of the zoo on your first visit. I don't think he's too young, but
obviously he will get more out of his zoo visits as he gets older. Have
Went on Baby Zoofari
I got a zoo membership and started taking my daughter to the zoo long
before she was able to appreciate it--probably around
3 mos. The question really is, will you enjoy taking her there and being
out and about, even if she doesn't notice the animals.
As to when they start appreciating it, I think my daughter started
really appreciating it around a year old. I have pictures of her at 13
mos riding the Merry-go-round at the Oakland Zoo.
She went through a
phase where she was fascinated with sitting on curbs and would stop
every 20 feet or so along the elephant exhibit to sit down. None of that
has anything to do with animals, particularly. That interest probably
started around 1.5-2 years (the same time she wanted me to do a google
photo search for ''Monkeys'' on a daily basis).
I don't think that's a weird question at all! I wondered the same thing
when my son (now 2.5) was little, because the zoo on its surface seems
such a kid-friendly place. But there's a lot about it that's good for
older rather than younger kids. I would say that your child may start to
get interested in looking at animals, etc., at around 12-18 months, but
it will be much longer than that before she really "gets" the zoo as an
enjoyable outing. It all depends on your financial circumstances
(whether you can afford to "pop in" to the zoo even if she enjoys it for
only 30 min) and how close you live to the zoo (again, whether it's
convenient to go for a short time).
As with all things, understanding is gradual. At age 1, she might enjoy
looking at the elephants for 3 min, running on the sidewalk, playing in
the dirt, eating a snack, and then going home. At 2, she might be more
familiar with the concept of an "outing" (as her sense of time intervals
gets better), and might be good for an hour or two of animal-looking
including the aforementioned running and snacking. Could be a fun time,
but keep in mind that at this age the zoo might not be more exciting
than a visit to Little Farm (free), the park (ditto), or the pile of
dirt at the end of your street. Last, although I haven't gotten there
yet, my guess is that it's not until school age that kids are able to
fully appreciate the zoo - what it is, why the animals are there, and
what the signs say about them. Before 2, my kid wasn't even tall enough
to SEE the animals unless I held him. The newly remodeled Children's Zoo
at the Oakland Zoo is attempting to bridge that gap between bigger and
littler kids, and it IS fun, but the same comment about Little Farm,
etc., still applies. Still, when you have a
2+ year old, it's a good outing with visiting grandparents, etc.
See you at the dirt pile
Hi - we just took our 20 mo old son to the Oakland Zoo
this past weekend
and he LOVED it. He was interested at all the big animals (elephants,
giraffes) and he had a great time at the Children's Zoo (mostly running
around and playing on the animal rock structures) We have taken him
before (closer to when he was 1) and he didn't really get it.
our daughter started being noticeably interested around 8 or 9 months
and i just got a membership to the oakland zoo so that we can go there
often. the sf zoo is wonderful, too!
this page was last updated: Jul 31, 2012
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