I had the privilege of working at the Tulsa Zoo and Living Museum for a while during college. It was a fun job, especially during the winter. The zoo is a much different place in the winter months. If your family has not visited during the cold weather season, please allow me to share some of what you’ve missed. You might decide a winter visit is just right for you.
More active animals
Many animals are more active during the winter months than they are during the summer. A summer visit to the zoo might leave you wondering if there are even any occupants in the snow leopard or arctic fox exhibits. The arctic animals aren’t the only ones who hide out from the summer heat.
Zoo workers are often the only ones to see many zoo animals in the summer, because they tend to get active only during the early morning or evening hours, before and after visitors arrive. But when the weather cools, you’ll see lots of animals awake, active and even behaving playfully during the daytime.
Sometimes it seems as though people don’t realize that the zoo is open in the winter. Many zoo workers are seasonal, working only during the busy months from late spring through Halloween, because there just aren’t enough visitors to support a large staff in the cooler months.
The positive side to lighter winter crowds is that your family can see more of the zoo, enjoy more shows, speak directly to more keepers and more. You can linger at your favorite exhibits without lines of people waiting behind you for a turn. In general, it’s just a more pleasant experience to hang out with the animals without so many other people in the park.
Buildings are still comfortable
Even in the coldest winter months, the zoo buildings are still usually open to the public and comfortably warm. If you plan to spend most of your time indoors, you may only need your coat for walking in between buildings and getting back to your vehicle. And that’s another positive aspect of visiting the zoo in the winter. Your car will likely be parked much closer to the entrance than it would be during the more popular spring and summer months.
A few drawbacks
There are just a few drawbacks to visiting the zoo during the winter. You will likely find fewer shows and special attractions. Traveling “limited time only” shows are typically scheduled only during times when zoo traffic is high and ticket sales are reliable. Also, attractions such as zoo trains, carousels and other rides may not be running during cold weather when there aren’t enough passengers to warrant paying those employees. Call ahead or check your favorite zoo’s website for current shows and closings.
More by Tavia:
Protect Your Kids from Deadly Germs at the Petting Zoo or Farm
Take Your Children to a Wildlife Preserve
Comprehensive Guide to Field Trip Etiquette