10 Ways to Save Money at the Zoo

This post contains links to affiliate websites, such as Amazon, and we receive an affiliate commission for any purchases made by you using these links. We appreciate your support!

Looking for ways to save money at the zoo? If you’re looking for a fun day out with the family, a trip to the zoo is always a great option. But if you’re on a budget, it can be easy to rack up some serious expenses quickly.

Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to save money at the zoo because having fun does not have to be expensive. Taking a trip to the zoo doesn’t have to break the bank so let’s go over a few different ways to save money at the zoo.

10 Ways to Save Money at the Zoo

How can you save money on entry to the zoo?

While planning your trip to the zoo, there are some different things you can do to help save money on zoo entry fees. Before you start to plan that trip, here are some great tips on how you can money entry to the zoo.

Check for discounts and promotions

Many zoos offer discounted tickets on certain days or for specific groups such as students, seniors, military personnel, or local residents. There are even some zoos that offer discounted tickets to the zoo for low-income families.

These days are typically listed on their website, social media pages, or you can call the zoo directly to inquire about these.

Some zoos will also offer discounted tickets if you buy them online. You may also see a variety of different combo packages. Many zoos partner with other restaurants or attractions to give you a discounted price. If you are already planning to visit multiple places on your trip to the zoo, these can be a great way to spend less on your visit.


If you live near a zoo and plan on visiting the zoo multiple times throughout the year, it may be worth purchasing an annual membership. The cost of the membership is typically equivalent to or even less than the price of multiple individual visits.

For instance, you can purchase annual passes for Bush Gardens in Tampa starting at under $200. With the annual passes, you save money on parking, and admission, and can get some discounts on purchases in the park.

Plan your trip for off-season days or hours

Throughout the week or sometimes on the weekends, some zoos offer reduced prices. This is the case for early morning or late evening hours as well. Not only can this be a great way to save money on entry to the zoo, but it’s less crowded.

Go With A Group

Ask friends and family if they’d be interested in going. You can also get a group together for your tween or teen’s birthday. This gives you an affordable birthday idea for tweens and teens.

Many zoos often provide discounted rates to homeschool groups. If you’re part of a homeschool co-op or want to get a group of homeschool families involved, this is a great way to help with the cost. It’s also a fun field trip activity that the kids can come together for.

Here are some tips to save money on your Zoo Trip

If you have been to the zoo, you know how expensive it can be, making it hard to save money on your zoo trip. But that shouldn’t deter you away from taking a midwest vacation or trip to your favorite zoo

Below, we will show you how to have fun at the zoo without breaking the bank. You will also see some friendly advice on zoo etiquette.

how to save money at the zoo

1. Bring your own snacks and drinks to save money on food.

This is a great way to save money at the zoo, and it also means you can eat what you want and cater more to your picky eaters. Traveling with kids can be hard enough, the last thing you want to deal with is a picky eater who can’t find anything to eat.

If you plan on taking your own food and drinks, you’ll want to research their website to make sure that any food you bring is allowed into the zoo. After checking the website, you can pack a picnic lunch so you can enjoy it in the park or pack snacks for kids to enjoy while roaming the zoo.

Here are some ideal snacks that you can take to the zoo to enjoy:

Make sure to pack a cooler with plenty of ice to keep your food cold, especially if you take something like chicken salad sandwiches or yogurt.

2. Make Your Own Supply Pack

When we went to the zoo one year, I had a total mom moment and forgot all about taking sunscreen and other necessities with us. This left us with having to purchase these items at the park and spending way more than we should have.

To help avoid this, when you make plans to visit the zoo, start gathering the little things that you may need. Make a list to be sure you have everything. Things like sunglasses, sunscreen, hats, or bug spray are just a few items that you should include in your zoo pack. These are typically overpriced at zoos or theme parks so this is a great way to save money visiting the zoo.

3. Plan your visit around the free days at the zoo

Almost every zoo offers a number of free days each year. Make sure to check the schedule before you go, and take advantage of these special days when admission is free.

Most of the time, these free days are during the week and not on weekends when there are less crowds. So you will want to plan your trip and itinerary around those days.

4. Arrive early or visit later in the day

If you arrive early, when the gates open, you’ll avoid the crowds and have a more peaceful experience. In some zoos, you can do this to take advantage of the early bird specials. These early bird specials often give you discounted prices on food, tickets, drinks, and more.

5. Volunteer to help out at the zoo and get free admission

Some zoos offer volunteer programs where you can help out with the animals or assist with educational programs. In exchange for your time, you’ll usually receive free admission to the zoo or discounted tickets.

If you live close to the zoo, this can be a great way to get the kids involved with volunteering while saving money on entrance fees.

6. Ride your bike or walk instead of taking a taxi or Uber

This is a great way to save money and get some exercise in at the same time. Since zoos often charge for parking, you can park away from the zoo and walk. Taxis and Ubers can get expensive too, which makes avoiding these a great way to save money going to the zoo.

If you live close to the zoo, riding your bike or walking to the zoo will be easy. When you walk or ride your bike to the zoo, you’ll also be helping to reduce traffic and pollution, in that sense you are also helping the environment.

7. Take Your Own Stroller or Wheelchair

You can rent strollers or wheelchairs at the zoo, but if you bring your own, you can save a lot of money. Stroller rentals can become costly so this is just an extra way to help you save money at the zoo.

9. Skip the Souvenir Shop

I know you want to remember your trip to the zoo and maybe grab a souvenir or two from the trip, but avoiding the shops can help you save a ton. Instead, bring your camera and take lots of pictures so that the family can keep those memories for years to come.

If you do choose to buy a souvenir from the zoo, go with an inexpensive item that everyone can enjoy to remember the trip. Keep in mind that kids will outgrow things like stuffed animals and toys as they get older.

10. Bring Reusable Water Bottles

One of the things I regret most was not taking our own reusable water bottles. This would have saved us so much money in the long run. Those drink purchases inside the zoo really added up.

Instead of purchasing a drink each time we were thirsty, we could have used the park water fountains to refill the water bottles.

Saving Money at the Zoo

These are just a few of the ways you can save money at the zoo. With a little planning, you can have a great day out without spending a fortune. Just remember to be respectful of the animals and follow the rules of the zoo.

You may also like this polar bear activity printable.

Proper Zoo Etiquette

Visiting a zoo is a great experience for everyone of all ages. However, there are certain things you should and should not do when visiting a Zoo. These are:

  • DO NOT feed the animals. This can be dangerous for both you and the animal.
  • DO NOT touch the animals without permission from a zoo employee.
  • DO NOT run or make loud noises around the animals. This can scare them and disrupt their natural behavior.
  • DO take care of your trash and put it in the proper receptacles, don’t just throw it on the ground. This will help keep the zoo clean.
  • DO have fun! Zoos are a great place for people of all ages to learn about animals and nature.

By following these simple tips, you can have a great time at the zoo while also respecting the animals. Always remember that in every zoo, the animals are the stars and they deserve our respect.

Final Thoughts On Saving Money at the Zoo

Visiting a zoo will provide a great experience for you and your family. Keep our tips on how to save money at the zoo in mind for you to save extra money.

By following these simple tips, you can have a great time without harming the animals or disrupting their natural behavior plus you’ll have more money for your next trip.

We hope you enjoy your next zoo visit! Do you have any other ways that you save money at the zoo?

Ways to Save Money at the Zoo

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *