Are you planning to visit a petting zoo with your kids soon? Here is how you can ensure fun and safety for everyone involved:
Check Out the Rules Ahead of Time
It is a good idea to get online or call the zoo to find out what their rules are before you visit so that you can be sure that everyone in your party understands the rules before they even set foot near an animal. Write the list of rules that you feel are the most important for your children to learn before visiting the zoo and then hang the list on a wall in your home where everyone can see it every day.
Take time to go over the list of rules with the kids every couple of days until it comes time to visit the zoo. Make sure to bring the list of rules along in the car so you can all go over them one last time before heading into the zoo and interacting with the animals.
Create a Visitation Plan
Using the petting zoo map, create a visitation plan to share with the kids before getting to the facility so that they know exactly what to expect during their visit. Number each animal station in the order you plan to visit them and mark a spot on the map where you plan to take a break for lunch. You can use the map during your visit to point out exactly where you are and where you are going next.
You can also use the map to warn the kids when you are moving away from the restrooms so that they don't end up having to go back when everyone else wants to keep moving forward. If everyone is familiar with the map, anyone will better be able to find their way back to the family if they should become separated for any reason.
Give Each Child One Responsibility
To ensure that everyone stays safe and happy during your visit to the petting zoo, give each of your children one responsibility to focus on during the visit. The oldest child might be responsible for making sure that the younger kids stick together. Another child may be responsible for handing out disinfecting wipes after petting animals. Another kid could watch the packed lunches to make sure that they don't get squished.
If everyone has just one responsibility to focus on, your family can work as a team to keep the kids out of trouble, the animals safe during interactions, and everyone safe and healthy throughout the whole experience. Keep these tips in mind before going to a local petting zoo.