Summer vacation is a great opportunity to take a trip to the local zoo! Heading to the zoo is always a hit with the kids, it give you some family memories, and it’s educational.
Being on a tight budget, it might seem like a trip to the zoo might be a little difficult. Between the price of admission, food, and souvenirs, the cost of a day at the zoo can quickly get out of hand.
You don’t have to skip the fun, though! There are a few realistic ways to save money at the zoo and still have a great time!
Check Your Local Businesses
A great way to save money at the zoo is to do a little research and find out if your local zoo is partnered with any local businesses or organizations. Oftentimes, you can get a discount on zoo admission when you purchase your tickets through a local grocery store, bank, or similar business or organization.
Consider a Season Pass
If you’ll be going to the zoo more than once in a season, it may make more sense to purchase a season pass. The cost of a one day admission to my local zoo for our family is only $10 cheaper than the season pass. If we had more children, the cost of a season pass would actually be cheaper than paying for one-day admission tickets for the four of us. Season passes not only help you save money at the zoo, but also usually come with other money saving bonuses as well. Purchasing a zoo membership may also entitle you free or deeply discounted admission to other local attractions, like theme parks or aquariums.
Keep Your Eye Out for Free Admission Days
Make sure yo sign up for your local zoo’s newsletter or mailing list. Many zoos offer free admission from time to time. It may be on a specific day of the week or just a couple of days each season. You can also call your local zoo and ask if they have free admission days.
Buy Admission Tickets Online
Sometimes you can find cheaper zoo admission online. Sites like Groupon might have discount admission tickets. Before you buy admission to a zoo online, though, make sure you understand the details of the offer and pay attention to any restrictions.
Pack Snacks and Drinks
Snacks and meals are pretty pricey at most zoos. Instead of hitting the snack bar or on-site restaurant, pack your own snacks and drinks. If you’ll be at the zoo most of the day, you might also consider packing lunch or dinner as well. You should be able to find a public picnic area near the zoo to relax, unwind, and dine.
Steer Clear of the Souvenir Shop
Yikes! Souvenirs are expensive! Another great way to save money at the zoo is to skip the souvenir stands and gift shops completely. Instead, take a good quality camera and extra batteries. Take lots of pictures, and you’ll have your own souvenirs to remember your day – long after that corny zoo t-shirt fades.