Today’s post is brought to you by Nikki Stephens, Mommy My Way blogger and 25 year old single mom of baby boy, Zaylen. She works full-time in a corporate setting both in the office and from home, owns a handmade silicone teething necklace shop on Etsy, and is working on her first book. Visit her blog, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.
A friend of mine came into town to visit a few weekends ago and we were searching for something to do in the city that would be eventful for my 7-month-old son. I had already been to the aquarium and we had both heard great things about the zoo, so we decided to check it out. As we pulled off the interstate, the surrounding neighborhood was a little sketchy to say the least. We immediately looked at each other and thought maybe it wasn’t the greatest choice. We turned into the parking lot and saw teeny little signs that said, “zoo entrance this way.” We laughed at the lack of marketing and the handful of cars in the parking lot. We joked that the “zoo” was probably just a cage of golden retrievers and stray cats.
I am happy to report that our pitiful first impressions were extremely off base. The park was much larger than we initially anticipated and there were definitely some exciting exhibits all for only $20 admission.
Our adventure began in Africa with elephants, zebras, Meer cats and giraffes. For an additional $3 we got to feed the alpha male giraffe. Zay was so excited to see the giraffe up close and personal.
Next we went into the parakeet enclosure. All of the little budgie birdies were flying around right there with us. The fluttering movements were exactly what we needed to capture little man’s attention. Some of the other exhibits were uneventful for a tiny baby because there wasn’t enough motion to steal his gaze.
After, we ventured into the fish and reptile section of the zoo. Snakes and lizards don’t move all that much, so this was a dud. But on the plus side, this is the only portion of the zoo that is enclosed and air conditioned. On a summer day in Hotlanta, this was definitely a welcomed break from the heat.
The Atlanta Zoo contains all of the usuals: lions, tigers, bears and monkeys. This particular zoo is home to two young panda bears, though, which is a unique treat for guests. Because it was very warm out, the pandas were in glass, temperature-controlled enclosures. This was easily the highlight of the park. They were close and interactive and I could have spent the entire day just looking at them. I was so captivated by these animals that I didn’t even get any photos.
Finally, we enjoyed the petting zoo. Zay is a big animal lover, which is another reason why we chose the zoo, but the petting zoo was the only portion where he got to actually touch any animals.
Non-animal, family-friendly perks:
1. Splash fountain for kids to play in – bring a bathing suit!
2. Ice cream – the good kind, grab a scoop near the orangutan exhibit because you’re about halfway through.
3. Train ride around the park – a quick, sight-filled adventure ride just waiting for you to hop on board!
Don’t let negative first impressions deter you from visiting this destination. The Atlanta Zoo is a fantastic trip for children of all ages and adults too.