A day at the zoo is full of wonder and excitement. You are given the opportunity to connect with nature, by observing animals from all over the world. From zebras, to elephants, tigers, and more, there are many things to see and enjoy.
As wonderful as it is, the cost of admittance, food, drinks, and souvenirs are not for the cheap or frugally minded. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a wonderful place to visit, but I also know, that there are many ways to save money there. Before you plan a trip, check out these five great ways to save money. You’ll leave there with wonderful memories and a little extra money too!
1. Consider A Membership
When my family and I went to the zoo this year, we realized that a yearly membership was more cost effective. We were only going to pay around thirty dollars more for an annual membership. By paying a little extra for our membership, we’ve already went again, and saved ourselves around fifty-dollars.
For my family, getting a membership was a great deal. It may or may not be for your own. If you can only go once or twice a year, then a membership is probably not for you. If a membership is not something you would save money with, you can also check online for discount admission tickets or coupons. Always check before you go, you’ll be surprised at how much money you can save.
2. Bring Your Own Drinks
When you’ve been walking out in the heat or sunshine for hours, a nice cold drink can be quite tempting. Most zoos have water fountains scattered here and there, but they can be hard to find, and not as close as the tempting beverage machines and stations. A twelve-ounce bottle of water can easily cost three dollars or more, multiply that by a family of four, and your paying almost twelve dollars for water that might last you an hour or so.
Our favorite way to save money on drinks is to bring our own water bottles. You can easily carry them in a stroller, wagon, back pack, etc. If you buy water bottles with a filter, you can refill them with the water fountain water, and have refreshing clean water. My favorite filtered water bottle is the Berkey. The Berkey bottle is big at 22oz and will keep your family and yourself hydrated, for a lot longer than the smaller water bottles. The water has a delicious and pure flavor, without the aftertaste of chlorine and other chemicals that are in tap water. It’s also great to have for overseas traveling, hiking, vacations, and everyday use.
3. Have A Stroller Or Wagon For Children
Most zoos offer a stroller rental for around ten dollars a day. They are on a first come, first serve basis. You might think your three or four year old can handle walking all day, but that normally proves otherwise for most children. They’re little legs and bodies tire out quickly, and having a wagon or stroller is the perfect remedy. A stroller is also great to store items in like a purse, camera, diapers, water bottles, etc.
A great top-rated stroller with a large storage basket, is the Graco Literider. Having a large storage basket on your stroller, is a must have. It will keep your hands free and your valuables safe. An alternative to a stroller is a wagon. This is great for children around the ages of two through six. I’ve found that the best wagons are the ones that have a canopy. The canopy protects the children from the sun, yet still allows them to see what is going on around them.
Check out the Radio Flyer Comfort Wagon
4. Pack A Picnic
If you’ve ever eaten at a zoo, you know the prices are not worth the quality of food.The last time we went, they had zero healthy foods. They’re small menu was mostly fried or junk foods.This type of menu can be a challenge for those who need or want to eat healthy.
It’s also a challenge, if you’re trying to feed a family on a budget. You could easily spend $50+ for a family of four to have a burger, fries, and drink. A great way to eat delicious and budget friendly food, is to pack a picnic. You can bring a small cooler full of sandwiches, fruit, veggies, salad, chips, or your personal favorite, and find a comfortable area to eat. Check with your zoo, as some zoos will not let you bring in food. If this is the case, you could always keep your cooler in the car, and eat before or after you go.
5. Bypass the Gift Shop
It’s easy to think that just “looking around” a gift shop is harmless. Most people will find something they want or need, especially children. If you want to save a lot of money, do not go into a gift shop.They have set it up for people to buy, not to browse. If you really must get something at the gift shop, give yourself a budget and stick to it. A great alternative for children and getting them a souvenir, is to buy items before you go, and bring them with you.
I hope these five ways to save money, will leave you with more cash in your wallet. Whether you use some, or all of these ideas, saving something is better than nothing!