Parents Day Out at the Cincinnati Zoo

A normal day at the Zoo for our family consists of packing up backpacks full of water bottles, wipes, snacks, sunscreen and sanitizer while chasing our little one up and down, all around. While we absolutely adore the excitement on her face when she sees her favorite animals, sometimes a zoo trip with just mom or dad brings out animals and exhibits we normally wouldn’t get to see. Especially if your kiddos attend summer camps at the Cincinnati Zoo, consider a visit with just yourself for a calmer and slower experience.

Nothing beats walking right past the playground and carousel on your parents-day-out but one activity you shouldn’t skip is the train ride. Included in your pass or for an additional fee for single day visitors, the red and white train is an icon at the zoo. In a large loop around Swan Lake, riders get to experience the wolves, flamingos, zebras, Galapagos turtles and the many water fowl and amphibians of the lake.


An exhibit I’ve always loved but spent far too short of time in is the World of the Insect. Luckily, my kiddo enjoys all types of bugs behind glass but Mama misses out on the education behind the tiny and not-so-tiny critters. The Cincinnati Zoo was the very first zoo to ever hold a building devoted to insects, beginning in 1978. Many awards and accolades have been appointed to the Cincinnati Zoo for breeding and displays of species, particularly the bullet ant, giant water bug and Peruvian fire stick. In conjunction with the zoo, you can even submit your backyard bugs for identification here.

An underrated yet very relaxing hideaway at the Cincinnati Zoo is a gift from the Jewish community, the Garden of Peace. Featuring a working water wheel, aquaduct, mosaic art and mossy benches, connecting with nature is easy in the garden. Find peace within while watching cardinals hop around apricot trees and listening to sounds of rustling plants and shrubs. Take in deep breaths of begonias and lancelot while connecting with your inner self in the garden.


Unless you’re a huge lover of sloths, sometimes the off-the-beaten-path P&G Discovery Forest doesn’t make the “must-see” list. While the giraffes, elephants and hippos are almost always on our mind, the Discovery Forest is home to three types of armadillos and sloth couple, Lightning and Moe. Taking your time through the tropical rainforest includes beautiful sights of hundreds of plants including fragrant vanilla and a two story waterfall.

Before you hurry off next time at camp drop off, spend some time with yourself, the animals and the beautiful botanical gardens throughout the Cincinnati Zoo. The highly educated staff behind the scenes have curated so many amazing fact signs at each exhibit, there is always so much to learn and new things to see on a slower parents-day-out at the zoo.

The Cincinnati Zoo is open daily 10a-5p with early admission for members at 9a.

3400 Vine Street, 45220

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