Jess Reiche

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Frugal Summer Fun Series: The Zoo

The Zoo is such a great day trip for families. There are animals and flowers and food and tons of learning and exploring opportunities. But many times, there is a good amount of money spent with these trips. Here are a few things to cut down on the cost:

  1. Before you do anything, visit the website of the zoo your visiting – you may be surprised at their rules, promotions and opportunities!
  2. If your park allows it, bring your own food and drinks. Bring food that doesn’t need to stay cold so that you aren’t carrying a cooler all day with you. Look into collapsible water bottles for real light carrying!
  3. Visit on a discount or free day. Chances are these days will be BUSY, but if money triumphs personal space, go for it 😉
  4. Check out the map of the zoo and make a plan. Make sure you get to see everything you want, maximizing your experience and time.
  5. Carry cash to prevent overspending using a credit card.
  6. Plan what you will and will not purchase – planning is key!

and number 7: Consider an alternate zoo.

Do a little research and figure out if there is a smaller zoo in your area that is a good frugal alternative. Where I live, the Bronx Zoo is the place to be. It has all of the animals you’re looking to see and a whole lot more. BUT, the cost gets up there when it comes to driving and parking in the Bronx, among all of the other costs discussed above. So, the Bronx Zoo is on hold until the kids are old enough to really appreciate it. In the meantime we have been visiting the Trevor Zoo at the Millbrook School, not far from where I live. It has enough animals to entertain the kids, not enough to spend a whole day, and only costs a few dollars which goes to supporting the zoo and school. It’s a win win for little kids. There is also the Trailside Museum &  Zoo at Bear Mountain which has other attractions such as a pool, carousel and hiking trails. I haven’t been there but know many that have and recommend it for a frugal family day trip.

Any suggestions? Comment below!

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