Visiting Zoo Miami with the Kids

Last week I took the kids on a day trip to Zoo Miami with a couple of friends and their kids. 

This was our second time there and we were in a hurry that time with no idea what to expect. For this trip we had a few things in mind to try differently. 

I also have some tips for anyone planning on going to Zoo Miami or planning a trip to any zoo with kids.

Zoo Miami with Toddlers

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The park is huge and there’s a lot to see!

It’s well designed but everything is spaced out so if you’re on foot you better be a fast walker with a lot of energy. They also offer rentals of family bikes to speed up your travel between places.

Our First Time There: clueless and rushed

The first time we went, I knew nothing of the place. 

I brought the double stroller and a mini clip on fan as the two more important items for the kids. 

With all the speed walking and looking at most animals as we passed right on by, we managed to see about 2/3 of the park. We loved it though. 

We saw monkeys, giraffes, elephants, tiger, lions, a bunch of lizards and snakes and frogs, some alligators and otters too. 

I took a ton of pictures because I occasionally had my hands free and wanted to show my kids later since we only saw each thing for a matter of seconds. 

But the next day my legs and back were very sore (back because of the stroller weight being double and trying to push quickly). 

We had lunch there as well, which was okay in taste but a bit expensive. Just water will cost you about $3. 

They don’t check bags so you could definitely bring your own drinks and snacks at least. 

The kids enjoyed it. My son more than my daughter since she was mostly in the stroller. He got to see a lot and then they napped the whole way home.

Our Second Time There

This time I came somewhat mentally prepared. 

Rental Bikes

I had every intention of renting a bike for the day. They have small and large bikes which seat 2 adults and 2 children or 4 adults and 2 children.

The bikes have a cover for shade throughout the adult section so be sure to have your kiddos wear hats if they need to sit in the front.

I didn’t realize this before or prepare for it so my kids got more burnt than me, despite multiple rounds of sunscreen.

Before seeing the bikes up close I didn’t know was where to put my bags and how to make sure they don’t get stolen when I need to walk away.

Turns out they have a security system setup for when you need to leave the bike (like for lunch or to go the bathroom etc) with a lock on the steering wheels and your key is on a bracelet that you have to return on your way out the park.

As for where to put things, I was concerned because since its a bike there’s no floor to sit your things. A lot of people use the top cover since its structurally safe, even for strollers. You can also hang things on the bars of the seats (most diaper bags have clips).

The rental is okay in price, they’re honestly a little costly but so worth it.

Cooling Fans

I also brought a clip on fan that I mostly pointed it at the kids and it helped a lot until the end of the day when it ran out of battery from constant use (but I did fall in love with the fan and some others I purchased after). 

We just entered summer heat so we had temperatures between the high 80s and low 90s (Fahrenheit).

Luckily though, throughout the park there are lots of water mist “cool down” posts so we would park our bikes in front and turn it on for the kids- they loved it!

They kept saying “again” so we got them soaked enough to keep refreshed and keep going.

Giraffe Feeding & Splash Pad Cooldown

We had lunch in the Critter Connection area, which had a nice turf play area for kids in front of a stage. 

After lunch we kept riding and came across the giraffe section where they also had a feeding option. $5 for a handful of leaves from a nearby branch seemed a little expensive but worth the excitement of our children and the wonderful photos!

We walked away from the giraffes dripping in sweat so stopped for some Dippin’ Dots, what a life saver!

We finished off our day by a mini splash pad area (we didn’t want to go in the main one they had or else we’d never get the kids out of there) and the kids cooled off and had a blast.

Overall Experience

Our day was rushed and we didn’t get to explore every aspect of the areas we did see. In all we saw about half the park so we’ll have to do multiple trips to enjoy the rest.

I briefly saw the giant splash pad and main playground from a distance and they both seemed great but because the park was about an hour drive (without traffic) for us we may not get to enjoy those as much since we mainly want to see the park.

On the way home we caught some unfortunate traffic because we stayed til almost closing. It delayed us a whole hour but we all made it home and had a blast.

And we all were sore that night and the following day from pedaling.

We got the Summer Pass and are already planning a few return visits, possibly to see some different sections and maybe enjoy some of their daily events.

We even joke about getting those bikes for ourselves because they were so much fun.

Zoo Tips

Here’s a few tips if you plan on going to this zoo:

  • Expect to sweat and get wet in your clothes
  • Rent a bike
  • Get a map (they even have an app)
  • Bring sunglasses, a hat, sunscreen, a fan, and a towel
  • Bring water
  • Don’t expect to see/enjoy the whole park in one visit
  • Expect to spend on food and maybe extra attractions (like giraffe feeding)

Tips for spending a day at any zoo or theme park:

  • Choose your clothing wisely (I prefer active tops and bottoms or rash guards/swimwear)
  • Wear comfortable shoes
  • Apply and reapply sunscreen
  • Hydrate
  • Bring sunglasses, a hat, a fan, and a towel

Here’s a few of my products I’d take with me on a day like this:

Zoo Miami with Toddlers

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Crystal Russell
August 1, 2018 10:29 am

Looks like fun! you just reminded me my son has been asking to go to the zoo. It’s hot here right now so I will wait until it gets a little cooler here.

August 2, 2018 3:37 pm

We went to Miami for dinner in April and I really wish we had more time. Especially because I know my son would love the Miami Zoo! We will definitely take him here next time! 🙂

August 2, 2018 6:38 pm

What an awesome zoo! Sounds like a fun trip.