Being out and about with a babe is anything but tame. They’re lively and curious, which often appears messy and sounds loud. Enter the Oregon Zoo! Because what better place is there for a youngster to be himself than in the company of wild animals?! My preschool and elementary-aged kids love to roam and play at the zoo, but I wondered if my pre-walker would enjoy it as well.

He and I went on wild date together while the big kids were in school and had a great time! While he’s too young to fully appreciate all that the amazing zoo residents have to offer, there is still much for him to see, do and explore. Our visit fit right into the golden activity window between morning and afternoon naps and lasted a couple of hours. We explored the whole zoo and I took note of his favorite spots for our next visit. They all had one thing in common — space for him to scoot around, no surprise there.

Five Hot Spots for Pre-walkers at the Oregon Zoo

The Washington Park and Zoo Railway. What kiddo doesn’t love a good train ride?! The ride is only six minutes long and is perfect for a curious little one. Train tickets are $4, but babies ride for free.

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Sand Pit at Central Plaza (across from Stellar Cove). The giant sandbox is filled with toys and has plenty of room for little ones to scoot and crawl. Plus, it is under the cover of a bridge, making it a nice place to escape the rain.

Nature Exploration Station (near the Discovery Center). Both the indoor and outdoor areas of the (relatively new) Nature Exploration Station have lots to offer. Surprisingly, this was my dude’s favorite stop. He scooted around on the smooth concrete of the indoor area, exploring all of the textures, crawling through the hallow tree and touching every surfaces.

Harbor Seals and Sea Otters. I have a love for seals so I’m admittedly biased. The seals are so playful, making it an eventful and exciting place to compulsively observe and smile. The lower section with the tall glass that gives the underwater view is perfect for the smallest of seal lovers. My guy sat against the glass waving his arms excitedly as the seals swam by, twisting and turning.

Elephant Lands. There’s plenty of space both inside and out to watch these gentle giants eat, play and roam. The indoor area is a perfect shelter for the cold and wet days.

The Oregon Zoo
4001 SW Canyon Road, Portland, OR 97221

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