Monday, August 5, 2013

Activities Close to Home: Louisville Zoo

This week I am writing on a series "Activities Close to Home."  This year, we have not been able to afford to go away on vacation, but I still wanted to make sure the kids were out exploring and experiencing.

The points of interest we picked were based on:
  • Distance from our house (had to be within a 2 hour driving distance)
  • Family friendliness
  • Cheapness
The Louisville Zoo was the first spot I wanted to head to this year, but we didn't end up going until last week.  I wasn't even sure we were even going this year since it didn't look like Damien had a good day off to go with us, and it cost a little more than we like.  A friend ended up inviting the kids and I to go with her and her kids.

The day we went was very cloudy, a little chillier than expected for late July, and it looked like it could rain at any moment.  The great part of this is that there were not as many people there, the bad part was that it seemed like more than a few animals were not at their exhibits (maybe they are in the process of moving a lot of animals?).  At least we did get to see the orangutans hanging around!

It had been a long time since we had been to the Louisville Zoo.  I think the last time had been when Cara was a one year old.  We have been to other zoos since then, but going back to Louisville, I really feel like some of the exhibits were smaller than other places we have been.  I am not sure where the animals sleep at night or any of that, but it just seems like they live in tighter spaces than I am used to seeing.

There were no polar bears out on the day we went, but there were big brown bears.  They had a bit of room as far as I could tell, but one poor bear stayed in the pool that had glass on one side just pawing.... I am not sure if something was maybe in its eyes as it almost looked like it was rinsing its eyes or if something else was going on.  I did video it because it was just so strange that it was there for so long (at least 5-10 minutes that we were in the area):

After checking out most of the animals it was time for lunch.  I did not even check out the price of food there (though one of the drink stalls was advertising bottled water for $2.49...YIKES!), but we packed our own drinks and lunch to save a few dollars.  After eating we were close to the water park located in the zoo so it was time to get some suits on and let the kids get wet.  Cara had her 2 piece suit on underneath her clothes and Alex wore his swim shorts, so they were ready!

With the low numbers at the zoo that day, the kids were really able to enjoy themselves at the little water park.  We only got to stay about 30 minutes because we had to head back home and get ready for Alex's piano lesson, but it was so handy when I noticed 2 family bathrooms right at the water park so we could all get in and changed into the dry clothes I packed.

Overall, the kids had a great day and loved every moment.  They didn't seem to notice some of the things I noticed and was excited for every animal they did get to see.  With it being only about an hour and 10 minutes from our house, I am sure we will be back in the future.

In the car and ready to head home! (And no, I was not driving when taking this picture!)

Louisville Zoo Pros:
  • Closest zoo from our house
  • Water park at the zoo
  • Family restrooms
  • 2 playground areas
Louisville Zoo Cons:
  • Lots of animals being moved or not at exhibits
  • Small exhibits and habitats for some animals
  • Price of water too high (I did not check on the price of food)
Louisville Zoo Tips:
  • Pack your own water and drinks
  • Bring a wagon or something to pull your things if your kids are too big for a stroller
  • Kids can wear a swimsuit under their clothes if planning on the water park (2 piece for girls so it will be easy to use the restroom before getting to the water park) and boys can wear their swim shorts as their shorts. 
  • Don't forget to pack dry clothes and a towel if you plan on enjoying the water park!


  1. Lots of information there. Thanks for the great review. It seems like your kids had a great time enjoying the zoo and at the swimming :)

    1. Yes they did have a great time! Thank you for stopping by!

  2. That sounds like an awesome zoo! :) Louisville is on my family travel bucket list!-Ashley

    1. Louisville does have a lot to offer! We are blessed to just be an hour away =)

  3. That is so interesting about that bear in the zoo. I wonder what the heck he was up to that day!

    1. I know! I guess I will never know now though, hopefully whatever it was it is all worked out now!

  4. I have had a similar summer - not a lot of money for vacation but we've been planning fun road trips - always within two hours away. I'm loving it! I'll be sad when fall/winter come this year.

    1. School starts back for us next week and our schedule gets super crazy, I have been dreading it!



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