Love visiting zoos with the kids but feel that the animals don’t really have much interaction? My family has road tripped to zoos all over the country- only to be disappointed that the animals are either sleeping or simply doing their own thing. I discovered that keeping a quarter in your pocket when you visit a zoo is ideal for fun animal interactions- and fun photos. Curious? So are the animals!

Indianapolis Zoo Seal

Indianapolis Zoo seals playing with a quarter. Photo Credit: Karyn Locke?Road Trip TravelingMom

Sometimes you get lucky when you visit a zoo and spy the animals sitting near the glass. We’ve visited dozens of zoos over the years and I can count on one hand those types of magical zoo moments- until recently. A simple quarter has made all the difference in ensuring we have awesome interactive experiences and fun photo memories. No kidding.

How a Quarter Makes Zoo Animals Interactive

My tween daughter and I visited the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo and were passing by the seal tank when we noticed a couple of children and their parents having a great time interacting with them. We quickly made a beeline for the tank and the family to find out the family’s secret. Was it the kids and the way they were jumping up and down? No.

Was it the parents holding a camera? Nope.

Keeping a quarter in your pocket when you visit the zoo will add to the animal interaction and fun photos! Photo Credit: Karyn Locke/Road Trip TravelingMom

Keeping a quarter in your pocket when you visit the zoo will add to the animal interaction and fun photos! Photo Credit: Karyn Locke/Road Trip TravelingMom

As we got closer we realized it was a simple quarter that was bringing the seals straight to the edge of the glass. The seals were fascinated by the shiny metal coin and I could not believe their attention span. They followed the coin back and forth along the edge of the tank and interacted with the kids like I’d never seen. When the family left we gave it a try. Hoping it wasn’t a fluke, we put a couple of quarters on the cement lip at the bottom of the tank and I was stunned.

Want more interaction from the animals when you visit a zoo? Keep a quarter in your pocket. Photo Credit: Karyn Locke/Road Trip TravelingMom

Want more interaction from the animals when you visit a zoo? Keep a quarter in your pocket. Photo Credit: Karyn Locke/Road Trip TravelingMom

Last summer I had to perform some field research at other zoos. Every time the seals spied my quarters they flew through the water, fascinated by the coins. This holds true for most of the zoo animals with water tanks as well. We’ve had success with penguins and polar bears. Of course, I have to disclose that you should never throw the coins into the animal tanks. You’ll have much more success with letting them rest on the cement lip where the glass meets it.

Carry a Quarter at the Zoo

Want more zoo tips?

Ever visited Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium? Road Trip TravelingMom lets you in on her family’s day trip.

Day Trips TravelingMom gives us the scoop on how to see everything at the San Diego Zoo in one day.

Desert TravelingMom shares her best zoo experience ever at Dutch Creek Farm Animal Park.

Need some photography tips for your next visit? Our Budget TravelingMom gives tips for capturing vacation memories.

What’s your favorite memory of animal interaction during a zoo visit? Share with us in the comment section below.