Friday, June 6, 2014

Trip to the North Carolina Zoo

We have been to the North Carolina Zoological Park twice, as a family, now. The zoo is huge and wonderful for families to hike through and see animals from around the world. I am writing this post to both share our experience and also to ease your fears! The zoo can be done in one day! It can be done at little to no cost! And best of all your children will have lasting memories!!

I will start with some pictures from our most recent zoo trip:

The hubby pushing the kids in the double jogger. That's a real man right there! 


Lions


Me at 32 weeks pregnant and my almost 4 year old son in front of the Rhinos!


The hubby and our two year old daughter in front of the Elephants!


Lunch break, that we packed, in the shade.


Lunch break!


Watching the geyser spout. Also, you can see the double jogger is well packed!


First thing you need to do is get a membership to a local place that will also include the Zoo. For example, we are members to the Fort Fisher Aquarium for a total of $75 per year for our whole family. That membership also includes the NC Zoo, so it is free for us to visit at any time. If there is no where local for you to get a membership at and you think that you would go to the NC Zoo more than twice a year than it is worth purchasing a membership to the Zoo at $74 for your family. That comes out to under $10 a person if you have a family of four and go twice in one year. Obviously, if you go more than twice than the cost is even more worth the while! 
We live three hours away from the NC Zoo and can easily "do the Zoo" in one day. We leave the house by 8 am, arrive to the Zoo by 11 am, start walking, take a lunch break when we get to the "Junction" in between North American and Africa, finish walking around 3 pm, get back in the car and make it home around 6 pm. Obviously, that is a very abbreviated version of events, but it can be that simple if you make it simple. Don't make it harder on yourself than it needs to be!!
 Pack well, not too heavy but not too light! Make sure to pack lunches for your family. You CAN bring food and drink in to the Zoo and there are plenty of picnic areas to eat at. I have a small cooler bag that I pack all our cold items: water bottles, cheese sticks, yogurt, carrots and hummus, etc. Then, in a separate bag, I pack all of our lunches, in individual snapwear containers, that includes: PB&Js, goldfish, dried fruit, etc. I do it in two separate bags so that they can fit under my double jogger and neither Hubby or I have to carry anything. Nobody wants to hike miles and miles carrying anything they don't have too! I hang my camera bag on the handle bars for easy access so I can switch lenses when needed and have easy access to it to snap a photo of my cutiepattootie children! I also pack us each a reusable waterbottle on top of the waters I put in the cooler bag. You will drink a lot of water walking the Zoo! 
We have been twice, to the Zoo, once last fall and now again at the beginning of summer. They were two very different experiences. Fall was the perfect weather, not too hot and not too cold, and almost all of the animals were alert and able to been seen. However, the kids play area was closed and is only open during the warm weather months. When we went again, this week, it was hot. Hot! Hot!!!!! It was 90 something degrees, I am hugely pregnant, cramping, cranky, tired...you get the picture.... The animals were also hot and hiding. Not all were hiding, but a good majority of them were. There was even a sign at the polar bear exhibit stating that because it was so hot the polar bear was likely in it's sleeping quarters. We were pretty bummed, but totally understand. Because it is summer the play areas, for the kids, are open, so the children did get to enjoy that! 
We plan on going again after I have the baby. I hope we get to see the polar bear this time! I will be pushing the baby in a single jogger and my Hubby will be pushing the older two in the double jogger. It will be a much more full car on the next trip! 

I hope you all take a trip to the Zoo soon! Enjoy!  

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