If a zoo could be described as cute and cheerful, the Brandywine Zoo in Wilmington, Delaware would totally fit the bill.
Delaware has always been one of those states that we drive through on our way to get somewhere else. A blink-and-you miss it, quick passage on our journey elsewhere, for some reason, we’ve never made Delaware our actual destination.
Until this past weekend.
After getting a small work obligation out of the way, we grabbed breakfast and hit the road. A mere two and a quarter hours later, we had arrived. Really, there are parts of our OWN state that take longer to get to than crossing the Delaware border does!
When I was planning out our day’s activities, I focused largely on the Wilmington area, and the Brandywine Zoo was one of the places that kept popping up. And if you’re a regular reader here, you know how much my kids love a good zoo visit.
Although the zoo itself was very easy to find, once we were in the parking lot (free parking btw), I found it a bit of a challenge to find the actual entrance to the zoo. There are a few signs, and they’re a bit small, and I swear we walked around in circles for a few minutes before we ended up going in the right direction.
The admission prices are super reasonable … $7 for adults and $5 for kids (and even cheaper from October through April, and actually free from December through February because you won’t see as many animals). Once we paid, the staffer gave us a map and away we went.
The first exhibit was a condor, a crazy large bird that I don’t think I’ve seen before. There was an employee right in front of the exhibit that gave us a quick run-down on the bird’s background and had a few feathers for us to touch (so soft!).
As we wandered around the zoo, employees were nearly around every turn, and quick to answer any questions the kids had, which was awesome.
You can walk right into the goat exhibit and mingle and pet them freely, which I loved, and that’s where Madeline took her “goat selfie” from this weekend’s photo round up – love it!
As far as favorite animals, I could have watched the otters race around for hours, and I would love to smuggle one (or four) of the tamarin monkeys home with us. At just about 3 or 4 pounds, they’re actually smaller than some of the cats we have! I also loved seeing the red pandas, because I don’t think I’ve seen one before – they’re an odd little mix between a raccoon and a fox and totally not what I would have pictured.
The zoo is very well maintained, and the habitats for the animals are really nice (and reminded me a bit of the habitats we’ve seen at the Philadelphia Zoo).
The zoo is small and quaint, and with a low key vibe, so you can tour it in just an hour or two, saving you plenty of time to see other sights in the Wilmington area (more on other places coming soon). And, of course, a visit to the zoo isn’t complete without acquiring a smashed penny for our souvenir collection.
If you’re in the area, or looking for a fun day trip, it’s worth a stop.
Hungry for more day trips or afternoon adventures?
You can visit Thomas Edison’s estate, museum, and laboratory for a rich step back into his life and mind.
Head for the Jersey shore and Jenkinson’s Aquarium. It’s small, but packed with many sea creatures and knowledgeable and friendly staff.
If you have an avid rock collector or history buff in your family, visit the Sterling Hill Mining Museum. Because of the cool temps inside the mine, it’s perfect for a hot day.
Brookhollow’s Barnyard might have been the cutest farm we’ve visited so far.
The Stickley Museum at Craftsman Farms is a great step back in time.
For even more activity ideas in the tri-state area, visit this appropriately-themed Pinterest board.