A trip to the zoo is a perfect way to spend a sunny day. Getting some fresh air while seeing exotic animals up close is an enjoyable outdoor activity. However, wandering around the zoo for hours in the summer heat requires careful consideration regarding what to wear to the zoo.
You’ll need an outfit that balances fashion and function. The goal is to look cute yet feel comfortable as you walk miles viewing all the exhibits. Follow this guide on how to dress stylishly for your next zoo visit.
Comfortable, Breathable Fabrics Are Key
The most important factor in choosing an outfit for a long day at the zoo is selecting pieces made of lightweight, breathable fabrics. Since you’ll be walking around outside for extended periods in hot temperatures, you want clothing that allows your skin to breathe.
Natural fibers like linen, cotton, rayon and modal are ideal for zoo wear. They have a lightweight, airy feel that prevents overheating and allows moisture to evaporate from your body. Loose-fitting shirts, tank tops, shorts, skirts and dresses made of these fabrics will keep you cool and dry even in sweltering temperatures.
Synthetic blends and polyester may seem like convenient options, but they trap heat and perspiration next to your skin. Stick with natural fibers when assembling a zoo outfit to remain cool and comfortable in the summer weather.
Supportive Footwear for Lots of Walking
Make sure to wear shoes that provide arch support and cushioning when planning for a full day of walking around the zoo. Sneakers, flats, supportive sandals and other comfortable footwear will prevent your feet from getting sore or blistered after miles of pavement pounding.
Avoid flimsy shoes like unsupportive flats or flip flops which won’t cushion your feet properly. Also skip heels, wedges or any type of uncomfortable shoe that could leave your feet throbbing halfway through the day. Stick with sneakers or sporty sandals with good arch support built in to keep your feet happy and pain-free.
If you’ll be dealing with damp conditions, waterproof boots or shoes may also come in handy. Having dry feet will keep you comfortable in case of rain showers.
Hats, Sunglasses and UV Protection Are Necessary Accessories
Don’t forget essential accessories to protect yourself from the hot summer sun all day at the zoo. Visits can last six hours or longer, so having hats, sunglasses and UV protective clothing is crucial.
Wide-brimmed hats like big floppy sun hats help shield your scalp, face and shoulders from harsh rays. Baseball caps also offer sun protection for your face and neck. Big aviator sunglasses will shade your eyes and prevent squinting in the glare.
See if your local zoo prohibits large brimmed hats or loose items near animal enclosures for safety reasons. If so, choose secured hats like baseball caps.
UPF clothing is designed to block ultraviolet rays. Look for UPF shirts, swim tops or light covers when extended sun exposure is expected. The extra UV protection will help prevent painful burns.
Incorporate Trendy Pieces with Classics
You don’t have to wear drab, boring outfits to the zoo. It’s easy to incorporate some stylish pieces into your look while relying on classic staples as the base.
Try a cute floral sundress or romper with sandals for a chic zoo outfit. Pair high-waisted denim shorts with a trendy graphic tee and white sneakers for an effortlessly cool vibe. Drape an animal print scarf over a simple tank and jeans to add a fun accessory.
Use accessories like hair scarves, jewelry and handbags to spruce up a casual zoo outfit. It’s all about balancing fashion and function.
Avoid Loose or Flowing Items Near Animals
One style caveat for dressing for the zoo is to avoid excessively loose or flowing garments. Many zoos prohibit baggy clothing, especially adjacent to animal enclosures.
Items like long maxi dresses, floor-length caftans, big floppy hats and large scarves could potentially blow towards exhibits and startle the inhabitants. Some places ban dangling jewelry for similar reasons.
Check your zoo’s regulations before choosing an outfit. Often tight-fitting and secured clothing is recommended near habitats and in petting zoo areas. Save the maxi dress for another occasion and opt for shorts or fitted capris when zoo-bound.
Sample Outfits for Women
Here are some specific outfit examples for women to give you an idea of stylish yet practical things to wear:
- Floral sundress with sandals or sneakers
- High-waisted denim shorts with a breezy button-down top and slip-on shoes
- Patterned skirt and plain fitted tee with supportive walking shoes
- Lightweight joggers or capri leggings with tank top and cross-training shoes
- Cotton shorts with UPF tee shirt and slip-on sandals
- Loose linen button-down over tank with cropped leggings and sneakers
Focus on natural fabrics and comfortable shoes suited for walking long distances. Add lightweight layers like kimonos or cardigans in case of chillier weather. A crossbody purse will allow hands-free carrying.
Sample Outfits for Men
For guys, these types of outfits check the boxes for both comfort and casual style for a zoo outing:
- Khaki shorts with polo shirt and sneakers
- Plain tee with lightweight cargo pants or joggers and walking shoes
- Button-down short sleeve shirt untucked over shorts with sandals
- Moisture-wicking tee with performance hiking shorts and trail shoes
- Lightweight pants and breathable button-down with cross-trainers
- Linen shorts and plain tee with baseball hat and walking sandals
Prioritize lightweight and breathable fabrics like linen, jersey cotton and moisture-wicking blends. Sneakers or hiking shoes will provide arch support for all-day walking. Don’t forget a hat for sun coverage.
Advanced Planning Is Recommended
To ensure you’re appropriately dressed for the zoo, it’s wise to check the weather forecast in advance. This will allow you to anticipate heat, sun and the chance of rain showers.
Browse the zoo’s website or give them a call to understand any restrictions on items like large hats or long, flowing dresses near habitats. This will prevent any issues at the entrance gate.
Give thought to sun protection needs based on time of year, weather, and how long you plan to stay. The longer the visit, the more vigilant you’ll need to be with shade, UV blocking attire and hydration.
Dress Comfortably Yet Stylishly
A day at the zoo entails lots of walking outdoors, but you don’t have to sacrifice fashion. Choose lightweight natural fabrics that breathe, and build outfits using cute dresses, trendy tops or shorts. Make sure to wear supportive walking shoes and don’t forget sun protective accessories. Use these tips to dress for both comfort and style during your next fabulous zoo outing.
Sophia Rodriguez is the creative force behind IGXO Cosmetics, a popular beauty blog and brand. As a long-time makeup artist and beauty industry insider, Sophia realized there was a lack of authentic, relatable content for the everyday woman. This inspired her to launch IGXO Cosmetics in 2018 as a platform to share her passion for beauty.