I received free product in exchange for this post.
One of our favorite things to do in the summer is go to the zoo. We had a pass to the Blank Park Zoo last year when we lived in Iowa, and we got a pass to our local zoo when we moved to Idaho last month. It’s the perfect way to get outside and spend a fun afternoon, especially when you have younger kids!
One of the most important parts of having a good day at the zoo is coming prepared. I had the opportunity to try out some of the JJ Cole Collections’ new spring collection, and it inspired me to write some tips on how to enjoy a day at the zoo!
1. Get a pass. One of the best things about getting a pass last year (and why we did it again this year) is that you can go whenever you want and you can leave whenever you want. If you get a pass, you don’t have to feel bad about leaving if the baby is crying or your toddler throws a tantrum after you’ve only seen half of the zoo. And if you are planning on going to the zoo a lot, a pass is probably cheaper anyway!
2. Wear your baby. Sure, you could push your baby around in the stroller, but she isn’t going to be able to see anything from in there! Zoo enclosures usually are taller than most stroller seats, so if you wear your baby, she can see all the animals! I got to try the JJ Cole Agility Stretch Carrier (available at Babies R Us, buybuyBABY, Target, and Amazon).
It was perfect for Little A! It was really comfy and unlike some carriers, it didn’t make my back hurt after wearing it for several hours. It was also super easy to slip on by myself, and Little A was snug enough that I was able to be hands-free in the even that Little J decided to run away (which happened).
Little A loved being able to look out, and she was bouncing her legs almost the whole time. It works for babies 8-35 pounds, and there are multiple positions for your baby, depending on how big they are. I loved having Little A close, and when we were done, I was able to get her out by myself, too.
The best thing about the Agility carrier is that you can get it on and get your baby in really fast. You don’t even have to look in a mirror to try and figure it out. Super simple, and perfect for a day out at the zoo! The only thing about is that if you are tall, you might want to get the next size up. I got a small because I fit in the size range for it, but when I put it on it was pretty high up on my chest, so Little A’s head was right by my chin. It was fine, but a little bit weird if I turned my head.
3. Keep your diaper bag handy. You never know what kind of trouble you are going to get into when out with young kids, so it’s super helpful to keep your diaper bag handy. The JJ Cole Caprice diaper bag (available at Babies R Us) comes with Grips stroller attachments so you can hook your diaper bag onto your stroller handles. It is really nice because I was able to just grab my wallet when we got lunch instead of having to dig around underneath the stroller trying to get it out.
The side pockets on the bag are also amazingly deep and insulated, which are things I really appreciate as a mom! There is a lot of space inside to keep everything I need for a baby and a toddler, and with an included wipeable changing pad, I can forgo bringing my own changing pad. I also love how many pockets and zippers there are, inside and out. There is definitely a place for everything!
The only thing I didn’t love was that the regular handles are a little short to keep on your shoulder. But it comes with a padded shoulder strap, and I have been using that so it hasn’t been a problem.
4. Bring a blanket for lunch. If you are planning on staying at the zoo for longer than an hour, I would recommend bringing a blanket for lunch! And even if you aren’t going to eat lunch, you never know when your toddler will suddenly just decide he wants to take a break and sit down for a while (or you might need a break from chasing him!).
The JJ Cole Outdoor Blanket (available at buybuyBABY) was perfect for our little family of four to sit on and eat our lunches.
My favorite thing about it is that it is easy to carry when you aren’t using it. It has a strap, velcro, and a sewn-in guide that makes folding it quick, easy, and compact. When you have two kids and a diaper bag to carry, a blanket with a strap is a huge help!
The blanket is also water-resistant so even though the grass was a little wet when we went, we all stayed nice and dry! And we were able to eat our lunches and feel re-energized for the rest of our time at the zoo!
5. Bring sunscreen. I feel like this might not be as obvious as it should, so I am going to include it. If you are going to be in the sun, you need to make sure you bring sunscreen. Put it on your kids before you get to the zoo, and toss it in your bag so you can put more on if you are there for a long time. Sunburns hurt, and I can only imagine how bad I would feel if my kids got burned because I neglected to put sunscreen on them. Even though I put a hat on Little J, I still made sure to get his face, neck, and ears all sunscreened up, too. I would even go so far as to recommend keeping sunscreen in your diaper bag throughout the summer. Mine fits in my JJ Cole Caprice diaper bag with everything else I have in there no problem. You never know when an impromptu play date outside might happen!
6. Stay hydrated. Another important thing to remember is to bring water! Bring water for yourself, bring water for your kids. And with those super deep pockets in your JJ Cole Caprice diaper bag, you definitely don’t have an excuse not to bring a drink!
If you don’t stay hydrated while you are out in the sun, you could get heat exhaustion or dehydrated, both of which are awful. And you most definitely do not want your kids to go through that. So bring some water and you will be fine.
So those are my tips to have a fun day at the zoo! I was super lucky to get to try out all these great JJ Cole products, because they really did make a difference! I’ve already used the Agility carrier at the grocery store, the Outdoor Blanket is in my car so we can be ready for outdoor play, and I’m loving all the extra pockets on the Caprice diaper bag! If you get a chance, check out the JJ Cole Collections website and check out all the other awesome things you can have!
Also, thanks to my awesome husband who was my personal photographer for the day. You are amazing!
Do you have any other helpful tips for a day at the zoo? Let me know which JJ Cole Collections product you want to try the most!