When we first moved to Maryland, and I heard that there was a zoo in Baltimore, I thought, ‘Oh, that is cute.’ I didn’t mean to dismiss it, but I couldn’t help but compare it to the National Zoo in Washington D.C. Fast forward a few years and we wanted to take Sweet Pea to the zoo for the first time. Driving to DC was out of the question, so we opted for local and ‘cute.’ Wow, our preconceptions were completely off base. I have to tell you, The Maryland Zoo is one of my favorite Fun Things to Do With Kids in Baltimore. Read on to find out why!
Related: Check out the Kid Friendly Maryland comprehensive resource for parents: Things To Do In Maryland With Kids!
Fun Things to Do With Kids in Baltimore: The Maryland Zoo
I could probably rave about The Maryland Zoo for quite some time. However, instead I will just give you some of the things I love most about this awesome zoo (and then show lots of pictures)!
Highlights of The Maryland Zoo
- The Maryland Zoo is very accessible. It is relatively easy to get there and the parking is close, plentiful, and free.
- There is a convenient shuttle to the main zoo. Or, you can walk down a very nice, wooded, walking path. We tend to walk to the zoo (it is downhill), but take the shuttle back.
- The zoo has three distinct areas.
- The main attractions in the central area are the amazing Penguin Coast exhibit, the Polar Bear Watch, and a very nice carousel
- The African Journey is well laid out and includes animals such as zebras, rhinoceroses, ostriches, tortoises, cheetahs, leopards, lions, giraffes, elephants, the chimpanzee house, and many other smaller marsupials.
- The Maryland Wilderness does not have as many animals, but it is great for young kids because there are a ton of interactive exhibits, play structures, and a petting zoo.
- There are numerous opportunities to get really close to the animals. The zoo itself is laid out very nicely so that there seems to be a lot of space for the animals to roam around, but visitors are not so far away that binoculars are needed to get a good look. Some of our favorite experiences have included:
- Feeding the giraffes
- Riding a camel
- Watching the elephants take a bath
- Watching the penguins play and swim
- Seeing the Polar Bear swim
- Brushing the goats
- Checking out the (likely) napping lion cubs
- Making faces at the chimpanzees
- The zoo extras are a lot of fun and don’t cost a lot of cash:
- $2 to feed the giraffes
- $1 to ride the carousel
- $1 to ride the zephyr train
- This zoo is totally doable for families with young children. I would still recommend a stroller. However, I have brought a 2-year old Sweet Pea in the morning, ‘did’ the entire zoo, and was pulling out of the parking lot by around 230/3pm. Granted, this is still a busy day for a toddler or preschooler. In a way it is nice that there aren’t a ton of animals on the Maryland Wilderness side because if you started with the African animals, your kids will be tired by lunch. There is a lot of walking but:
- There is a ton of shade
- Even though there are some hills, they are gentle (except for the elephant exhibit)
- The food is typical for any other zoos or museums. You can also bring a picnic lunch.
Are there any downsides?
- Well, this is a smaller zoo, which means some of the exhibits might be smaller. However, it seems that what the zoo lack in quantity, they make up for in quality.
- You can get super close to the lions, but it is often difficult to actually see them well. Also, the ‘glass wall’ viewing area is not super clear, which can result in fuzzy pictures. However, did I mention that you are really really close to them? By the way, the Polar Bear Exhibit also encounters some of these problems. As with the lions, sometimes the polar bear is hiding, but sometimes we have enjoyed watching him swim and play. It all depends on your ‘zoo luck.’
- Check your GPS before you pull out of the parking lot. GPS brings you to the zoo through a very nice Baltimore neighborhood. However, we have had to circumvent GPS directions for the return trip, because it tends to bring us through a ‘less than savory’ area of town.
What Animals Will You See at The Maryland Zoo?
In addition to the animals shown above, here are some more of the animal encounters you might experience, as well as other fun activities that your kids will love!
Crocodile and Turtle in some underwater acrobatics
Zebras playing tag. The Rhino is sad because he was just caught.
Pink Flamingoes. I could watch them forever.
So close you can see the giraffe’s boogers.
The giraffes are really so graceful.
Two heads are better than one, or something like that.
Elephant baths are fun, but you can really get quite close to these animals at other times too!
Don’t stare if you aren’t going to give me something.
Monkeying (or Lemur-ing) around.
Back in the saddle again…
Petting the mountain goats
Fun in the Maryland Wilderness
When you go, here are some things you should know:
- Hours: 10AM-4PM Daily
- Ticket Prices: $18 Adult, $13 Child (over 2)
Thank you for joining me today! I hope you will come back for more Sunshine Whispers soon!
Are you interested in more Fun Things to Do With Kids in Baltimore? Check out these ideas as well!