Bring a packed picnic lunch. Kids love to do this and so do adults. Rather than spend $40 on the shittiest food of all time (hot dogs, nachos, and fries...gross), plan a healthy and satisfying lunch. The Oregon Zoo allows you to bring in food, blankets, and supplies.
Consider making raw veggie kabobs, peanut butter sandwiches, and fresh blackberries from the side of the road to your picnic. Don't forget some Zevia soda or sparkling water to top it off.
And if you really must make a splurge, the little food window near the front of the Oregon Zoo sells slushies for $2-4 bucks! We only get them on special trips to the zoo and always AFTER we've done everything in the zoo. Anticipation keeps the trip on task.
2. Make a Scavenger Hunt
Who doesn't like to do a scavenger hunt? Make a scavenger hunt using facts about different animals in the zoo. Print that puppy out and bring it with you to the zoo. Sure, you can still all of the other animals at the zoo, but this makes the trip WAY more fun because it motivates you to really see these creatures as more than just caged creatures.
The Oregon Zoo is dedicated toward conservation. Remember, the zoo isn't a place to awe and gawk...it's a place to remember just how screwed up we humans have made the world...we're collecting and caging animals to "protect them" from ourselves.
Wow, sorry about that little rant. It just happened.
Some of the best animals to use in the scavenger hunt are: elephants, bald eagle, polar bears, mountain lions, crocodiles, and wild dogs. That'll get you into each section of the zoo.
3. Bring a Zoology Textbook
Total nerd move, I know. Bring a little animal identification book or, if you are like me, bring the whole gosh darn biology textbook. Why? Well the zoo is great place to turn pages into practical ideas. Read bits and pieces on living things, animal classification, and food chains.
Yes honey, the mountain lion would eat you. No, it isn't just a big kitty.
4. Make Animal Masks
We like to shout out our weird to the world. Going to the zoo in style is key and the only style that'll do is wearing an animal mask of the animal you want to support whilst on your furry trip to the caged world. Here are some mask ideas, compliments of Pinterest (AKA that place with pins of all the things I suck at...):
5. Go Every Second Tuesday
Wanna go to the zoo on the cheap? Go every second Tuesday and ride the MAX. Tickets are $4 and they take $1.50 if you rode the max. That equates to $2.50 for the MAX and $2.50 per ticket. Yup. Go early. Go on a rainy day. Go late. Go when everybody else is in school. Best. Time. Ever.