I am excited to be sharing a little bit about our recent adventure to the Oakland Zoo in California’s Bay Area. The zoo is not far from the city of San Francisco and a great day trip for kids of all ages. It is officially located in the hills of Oakland, CA. You can find a lot of great information on the zoo’s website.
The zoo has five areas for you to explore with your kids.
Our favorite areas are the African Savannah and the Children’s Zoo.
The African Savannah is filled with animals that are enormous. It is one of the central spots to visit in the zoo. Our favorite animals were the giraffes and elephants. We were impressed with how much space they have to spread out. With a toddler and preschooler I made sure to bring a stroller and lots of snacks/drinks since getting to this area requires some walking (some of it uphill)… and my kids needed some snacks to keep up their energy!
The Children’s zoo is hopping with families with little kids. There were also several camp groups when we went. My kids loved all of the things to climb and slide down since this area is part zoo and part play area. There is even a little playground that is perfectly sized for toddlers and preschoolers. It is loads of fun except on very sunny days when there is very little shade and the play structure animals can be very hot. The lily pads were so fun to hop on and there are several slides. We loved checking out the reptiles and arthropods too!
In addition to the exhibits, one other thing that is important to me is food!
There are a few areas where you can buy snacks/food/drinks for your kids/self but nothing is cheap and there isn’t that much variety. You are welcome to bring your own food into the zoo though, so that is what we typically do! The zoo doesn’t allow straws or soft drink lids. My kids love getting slushies at the food booth by the Children’s Zoo when it is hot!
Other details to note about the Oakland Zoo:
- The zoo is a moderate size, so it is pretty easy to navigate with small children. There were several hills, but overall it didn’t take more than a few hours to get around to each exhibit. Some friends recommend using baby carriers instead of strollers for the hills… but I loved that we got an adventure AND I got a great workout, so I didn’t mind pushing the stroller.
- There is a rides area that is separate from the zoo and you don’t need to pay admission to get into it. Tickets are about $1.50 each and every ride costs 1-2 tickets. I typically let my kids pick 2-3 rides to go on. Some of the rides allow kids 36″-42″ to ride alone, so those are my favorites because then I don’t have to pay a ticket to ride them! The zoo exit basically leads right to the rides… so be prepared for tears if you don’t want to go on them and you forget to distract your kids in time,
- The Outback Express Adventure Train costs $3 per person (children under 2 are free). My kids love this even though I hate waiting in line for it!
- During December the Zoo has a fun Zoo Lights event that we love to go to each year. The Zoo is lit up at nighttime and we love riding the train in the dark and checking out the musical light show.
- The zoo is typically open from 10:00am-4:00pm. Parking costs $7 and general admission is $13.75 and kids 2-14 are $9.75. There are coupons you can find online with a variety of admission deals.
We have lived in the East Bay close to this zoo for over three years and have only gone three times- two times for Zoo Lights and then one time recently for this daytime zoo adventure. I cannot believe we haven’t gone more often during the day! We will definitely be adding this zoo to our list of places to go each month from now on. My kids loved being able to explore, climb, and discover new animals… and I loved how exhausted they were when we got home. They had fabulous naps when we got home and have been talking about all of the animals they saw ever since we went!
Thanks for letting me share about this fun zoo adventure today at Kids on the Go!