5 Ways to Turn the Zoo into a Date!

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is it too cliche to start out a post with “lions, tigers and bears, ohhh my!” when it’s going to be about the zoo? i just did it.

one of the very first places my husband and i ventured too while visiting portland before we moved here from colorado, was the oregon zoo so we try to make it back here at least once a year!

when we first visited back in 2009, he looked 15 and i weighed 45 more pounds. oh how the years have changed us…

YES you can go visit the lorikeets at the zoo and buy cups of apple juice for $1 and they may just land on you.

old school us at the zoo

we decided to have a day date here because we work from home so we like getting out of the house to go on fun dates! one tough side of working form home is that we often forget what day of the week it is.

turns out yesterday was sunday (and everyone else was well aware of this) so every family within a 40 mile radius also decided to go to the zoo. there were some parts that felt pretty crowded but since it’s a big zoo-it wasn’t too bad.

we didn’t want to bother parents by asking them to take take our picture, so we said “let’s fine someone who isn’t trying to herd their children through the zoo.” we waited 7 minutes and then finally asked a woman who at least had her child confined to her stroller to snap this photo!

Zoo Date for Couples header

first order of business-mapping out what animals must be seen! giraffes are my first choice and the hubs loves otters.

oregon zoo date wife blog

the oregon zoo is truly one of the prettiest zoos i’ve ever been too because they do an superb job making it feel like you are just strolling through the forest and then BAM there’s some zebras and dwarf mongoose!

oregon zoo date wife blogthey also take great care to put in small details around the paths and animal exhibits while keeping it feeling ‘natural.’ if you’re going to have a fence you might as well have some awesome wood carvings on it.

oregon zoo date wife blog

here are 5 ways to make going to the zoo a great date:

1) bring a picnic!

oregon zoo date wife blogi made us peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, brought my trusty wheat thins and had some other goodies to indulge in while we sat and admired the beautiful scenery. i actually get super grossed out and can’t eat when i see animals (even my own dog) so we opted for a pretty table near a water feature where i could not see (nor smell) any animals!

we ate this at 10:52am so i suppose that was technically brunch?

2) reminisce about your past zoo experiences

i talked about when my dad chaperoned one of my elementary school trips to the zoo in denver and when i was a camp counselor for kids with disabilities, ‘the big zoo day’ was always how we ended camp!

my husband shared an adorable story from his childhood. he grew up in houston and apparently they have one of eight white alligators in the world and when he saw the cage the alligator was living in, he wrote to the houston zoo about its conditions. this included a sketch from him detailing the new habitat and how they needed to honor the alligator better. that is the sweetest. they did respond back and let him the alligator was ‘comfortable.’

we also talked about how we basically rented a child for our zoo experience last year…

3) hold hands and giggle together

the oregon zoo spans 64-acres so there are plenty of opportunities for hand holding while strolling.

there are over 1,900 animals which presents a plethora of opportunities to see them doing hilarious things or making up stories about them together.

this california condor was all like “come at me bro. come atttt meeee!

oregon zoo date wife blogdid you know that in 1983 there were only 22 of these massive birds left and now today there are still only around 200. there wing span gets near 10 feet and that is insane.

my husband also has a very impressive wing span, which was one of things that attracted me to him–obviously.

oregon zoo date wife blog

or take this hippo for instance. can you imagine how upset she gets when she tries to play soccer but her short little legs can’t kick the ball?!


4) play games

we decided to play “find the other couples without kids!” because there weren’t many. we found 3.

another game we played was “KOAL” or “kid-on-a-leash” and we counted 7 because we find them hilarious. just because you convinced your child to put on a monkey backpack with a leash attached to it, doesn’t make it any less of  leash! no pictures of this because that’s too weird of me.

another game we played was “if you could change into 4 animals, only once but for any period time, what would those 4 animals be?”

5) be conscious of your time together

since the zoo is 64 acres, we sat on many benches on our trip around the zoo and chatted about how much fun it is to get to spend time together, even if 390284 children are running around. this is a unique and amazing time in our lives and we don’t want to let it pass us by.

also…goats on tables photobombing? #onlyatthezoo

zoo oregon chelsea avery and ryan avery goatcheck out your local zoo or visit the oregon zoo because most zoos also have a concert series, zoo lights or other festivities going on too and it’s a fun way to spend time with your favorite animal/spouse (too weird?)

1) any good stories from a zoo experience?
2) if you could be any animal…which one would you pick?
3) zoo picnic must for you or do you buy food there?

we were guests of the oregon zoo but as always, all opinions are completely my own!


  1. junebugroseanne

    August 4, 2014 at 10:58 am

    Loved this post. And pictures. Makes me want to make another trek to the zoo. Our Oregon Zoo has had many names over the years. Some names that come to mind are the Portland Zoo, the Washington Park Zoo, and I think it may have even been the Metro Zoo for awhile. Go back for the zoo lights in the winter and the zoo concerts in the summer evenings. Also good date ideas.

    • chelsea

      August 4, 2014 at 12:33 pm

      yay! glad you enjoyed it june and yes you need to make it back out to the zoo soon! no idea it had so many different names and i’ve never been to the zoo lights at this zoo before so i may need to add that to winter festivities 🙂

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  3. Carissa

    August 6, 2014 at 7:00 pm

    1) What a great post! I have only been to the Oregon Zoo for a ZooBrew event with Jess when I first moved here. That was also the night I met Jeff! The zoo in Colorado Springs, the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is way up in the mountains (near NORAD) so going to the zoo was literally a hiking event too. I remember always feeding the giraffes graham crackers.

    2) I would be hawk if I could be an animal. Great view!

    3) I always try to pack picnics for day events but usually don’t bring enough and get hungry and end up buying something anyway 🙂

    • chelsea

      August 7, 2014 at 11:11 am

      wow! i didn’t know you and jeff met at the zoo-amazing! you should definitely go back and go now while it’s still lovely weather! and you can feed the giraffes at the cheyenne mountain zoo?! adding that one to my list-that’s amazing!

      ravery will like you even more now that you said hawk because he is obsessed with scouting them on the highways! 🙂