Zoo Trip Packing List You Must See Before Taking A Family Trip To The Zoo

Before you load up the kids and take the family to the zoo this summer make sure to check out this zoo trip packing list…

Before you load up the kids and take the family to the zoo this summer make sure to check out this zoo trip packing list to ensure you have all the essentials for a successful and fun day at the zoo.

zoo trip packing list

Going to the zoo is such a fun family activity. If you are anything like me you are preparing in advance to make sure the trip goes as smoothly as possible. As a mom of three, I am giving you a zoo trip packing list full of items we’ve brought AND items we wished we would’ve brought on our previous zoo trips. 

On this list you will find zoo trip essentials like hand sanitizer, cash for feeding the animals, sunscreen and more!

This zoo trip packing list is sure to come in handy when your family heads to the zoo this summer.

This post is all about a zoo trip packing list.

zoo trip essentials

Zoo Trip Packing List

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1. Food

A day at the zoo means you’ll need to plan out what you are going to do for food ahead of time. Most zoos have food you can purchase but it’s usually outrageously priced. Check beforehand and see if your zoo allows for carry-ins. If so, pack a lunch for everyone.

You will also want to pack snacks (even if you plan to buy lunch at the zoo). You do not want to have to go find food every time someone gets a little hungry.

2. Food Containers

Bentgo Kids

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If you are planning to pack food for your trip instead of buying it at the zoo you’ll need something to store your food in. I absolutely love these Bentgo Boxes for trips like this. It keeps each person’s food all together while having 5 handy compartments.

They are sealed really well so the food doesn’t spill even if it’s tipped upside down. The only downside I have found is that the outer shell of the box has to be hand washed.

3. Water

This zoo trip packing list item is a MUST. Once you think you have enough water pack some more because you can never have enough water, especially on a hot summer day.

I recommend each person have a reusable water bottle to drink from. I like insulated bottles like these Hydro Flask or Thermos Water Bottles to keep your water cool on hot days.

It can be helpful to pick up a few gallon jugs of water and put them in a cooler in your vehicle. That way, if you need them you can come out to the vehicle during lunch and fill up everyone’s bottles. You will also have them to fill bottles after you are done at the zoo for the car ride home. 

Hydro Flask

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Thermos Funtainer

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4. Walking Shoes

If you are going to spend the whole day at the zoo you’ll need to make sure everyone has a good pair of walking shoes because you will be doing A LOT of walking. Depending on how big your zoo is you could very easily do 4-5 miles just walking around the zoo all the day.

We love Keens Sandals for summer activities like this. They keep feet cooler than tennis shoes in the summer, are great for walking and the best part is they’re waterproof! 

KEEN Sandals

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5. Cash

zoo trip tips

Cash is optional but if you want to be able to feed the giraffes or goats you may need cash and quarters. Some zoos are going completely digital so you would buy a wrist band ahead of time to do this. If feeding the animals is something your family wants to do you’ll want to check out your zoo’s website before heading there to see what you’ll need. 

6. Hand Sanitizer

Purell Travel Size Pump Bottle

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Hand sanitizer like this travel size pump bottle is great to have on hand when you are at the zoo. Since you are going to be touching a lot of surfaces that other people have touched all day it can be nice to have sanitizer to use every now and then, especially at lunch time. It is also crucial to have if your kids are going to pet any of the animals at the petting farm.

When we went to the zoo last, almost all of the hand sanitizer stations were out and it would have been SO helpful to have our own little bottle with us. We will surely be packing this next time!

7. Change of Clothes

It can never hurt to have an extra set of clothes for ALL of your kids, just in case. You don’t need to bring these into the zoo but I do recommend packing them and leaving them in the vehicle. We made this mistake on our latest zoo trip because we had only packed extra clothes for our 2 year old.

We had never taken our kids to the Jacksonville Zoo so we didn’t realize they had a really cool splash pad for kids. We let them play in the water with their clothes so they ended up soaking wet. Thankfully it was a hot day so they dried off a little bit in the sun but they still had to ride home with damp clothes which was less than ideal. 

Next time, we will be packing extra clothes for everyone so we don’t make this mistake again. 

8. Sunscreen

Badger Sunscreen Tin

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Sunscreen like this travel size tin is crucial if you are visiting the zoo in the summer. Apply sunscreen to everyone before heading into the zoo and don’t forget to bring it in and reapply every couple of hours.

It can be helpful to set an alarm to remember because it is so easy to lose track of time at the zoo. 

9. Sunglasses

Kids Sunglasses

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Protect your eyes from the sun as well by wearing sunglasses. Make sure everyone has a pair on your next zoo trip. 

10. Wipes

Papers Baby Wipes

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If you have a baby this is a must for changing diapers while you are at the zoo. However, even if you don’t have a baby I still recommend bringing a package of wipes. They come in handy for wiping any spills and cleaning sticky fingers after eating.

11. Map of the Zoo

zoo trip essentials for toddlers

Many zoos are going paperless and don’t have copies of the zoo map you can grab anymore. They just have a few large map signs scattered throughout the zoo. Having your own map makes it so much easier to ensure you see all the animals and don’t miss anything. 

Before heading to the zoo just go to your zoo’s website and download and print their map. It can be helpful to print a few copies especially if your kids each like having their own.

12. Mini Fan

Battery Operated Stroller Fan

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If the temperature is going to be very hot on the day you go to the zoo I recommend bringing a mini fan. This is even more important if you have a baby or young toddler who can’t regulate their body temperature as well. They don’t take up much space and one like this can be attached to a stroller.

13. Camera

Polaroid 2nd Generation

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If you have a digital camera or fun Polaroid Camera like the one above pack it along and get some fun shots of your kids. If not, just use your phone and make sure to take some photos while you are there. 

14. Charger

Amazon Basics Charger

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You may want to grab a phone charger. The battery on your phone may get drained from using GPS to get to the zoo as well as taking pictures throughout the day.  

15. Car Games

zoo trip with toddlers

Depending on how far away your zoo is you may want to consider bringing some car games for the kids. This will keep them occupied and give them something to do during the road trip. 

Simon Says Game

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If you are looking for a free car game to keep the kids occupied, check out my Road Trip Scavenger Hunt Post!

{RELATED POST: How To Create A Travel Journal Your Kids Can Keep Forever}

16. Zoo Scavenger Hunt

zoo packing list toddler

Add a little extra fun to your zoo trip with one of these free printable zoo scavenger hunts. Either find all the animals on the scavenger hunt or see if your family can find items from A to Z while you are at the zoo. You can get these free printables from my Zoo Scavenger Hunt Post.

{RELATED POST: FREE Zoo Scavenger Hunt Printable For Kids}

17. Stroller

what food to pack for zoo trip

If you have a baby or toddler you will definitely want to bring a stroller. While a stroller can take up quite a bit of room and be more difficult to maneuver through crowds you do not want to have to carry a toddler around the entire zoo once they start getting tired. A stroller is also nice because you have a spot to put all your zoo trip packing list items. 

18. Baby Carrier

Lillebaby Complete Carrier

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If you have a baby or toddler and prefer not to use a stroller you could also use a baby carrier to carry them around the zoo. Just make sure you have a supportive one like this Lillebaby carrier because you will be doing a lot of walking. 

A baby carrier won’t provide the storage space a stroller would but you won’t have to maneuver through crowds at the zoo. 

19. Backpack

can you bring a backpack to the zoo

If you have older kids and are not bringing a stroller you will want a backpack like this that is big enough to hold all of your items. 

Diaper Bag Backpack

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20. Diapers / Pull Ups

Pampers Swaddlers Diapers

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Diapers or pull-ups are another one of those items for parents of babies and toddlers. Make sure to pack a few more than you think you’ll need. You can pack some in the backpack and leave the rest in the vehicle but trust me you’d rather have too many than to run out. 

Zoo Trip Packing List Printable

If you would like a copy of this list to have and check off as you pack for your trip you can download and print it below. 

what to pack for toddler zoo trip


If you would like a blank zoo trip packing list so you can customize and write down the specific items your family needs, you can download my blank zoo trip packing list below. 

trip packing list


I hope you and your family have a fun, successful day at the zoo! If you have other items you think are a must when going to the zoo, I’d love to hear them!

This Post Was All About A Zoo Trip Packing List.

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