Auckland Zoo

Over the summer holidays we took our little boy (18 months old) to Auckland Zoo for his first zoo trip. We timed leaving Whangarei with his morning nap so that he would at least get one decent nap during the day. He slept all the way to Orewa, which worked out perfectly because we'd planned to stop here for an early picnic lunch. I set up a blanket under a small Pohutukawa tree and then made up a picnic platter for my little bear. He happily ate his lunch and had a play on the grass to stretch his little legs. Once he had finished we packed up the car again and headed off to the zoo. 

The first car park right outside the zoo was pretty full so we drove past and parked in the car park on the other side of the road. We choose to take our mountain buggy in for a couple of reasons - it saved us carrying everything around the zoo and also meant we had it as an option for when our little one got tired. When we got into the zoo we discovered that there was a reasonable queue for tickets. Instead of trying to entertain a toddler in the line I took him into the shop, while my partner lined up for tickets. Infants (under 4 years of age) are free and adult tickets cost $28 each. 

We'd planned to let our little bear pick out one soft toy to take home and we thought it was likely he would be too overtired to do it at the end of exploring the zoo so it worked out perfectly. He walked straight up to the big basket of toddler sized soft toys he picked out all of the flamingos! So of course we ended up purchasing a flamingo, as well as a zoo cup. 

After finally getting our tickets we went through the second entrance to the zoo. We were asked to pose for photos. I normally don't buy these, but we splashed out this time since it was our first family zoo trip. 

We headed around past the giraffes, rhinos and elephants first. 

A certain little cheeky monkey also decided that maybe their flamingo should be with the rest of the flamingos in the enclosure (have a look at the front of the photo, down in the grass). 

There are so many animals to see at the zoo that sometimes it can become confusing with which way to go next, so having a zoo map is helpful. You can print them out on their website here or pick up a copy when you purchase your tickets. 

I was amazed as how far our little tot walked. He walked around almost the whole afternoon by himself, rushing to the next animals and roaring along the way. 

This photo was taken on the way to the zoo shop to buy an ice cream. The food at the zoo is quite pricey so if you're planning on eating at the zoo as a family I'd recommend packing a picnic. We took snacks in with us and were pleased we'd decided on having an early lunch at Orewa. 

18 months was definitely old enough for our little boy to be able to enjoy the experience of being at the zoo. I love his cute expression when he first saw the Tuatara. 

Very proud of his new pink flamingo and carefully putting his afternoon snack into his zoo cup. We waited while he had something to eat and then headed back to Orewa for dinner on the beach. If you're wanting to plan your trip around the animal encounters you can find times for those here. We didn't bother this time and simply explored the zoo at our own pace. 

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