Allergy-Friendly Zoos

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Zoos are a great outdoor activity especially right now. And while we squeal looking at elephants, giraffes, and gorillas, it’s the clean grounds, safe food options, and zoos that let us bring our own food in that really get us excited! See our inaugural allergy-friendly zoo guide featuring 17 Spokin users’ favorite zoos to visit.

 Arkansas | California | Florida | Illinois | Nebraska | New York
Oklahoma | Oregon | Pennsylvania | Canada | Singapore


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Little Rock Zoo

Location: Little Rock, Arkansas

“They offer a small amount of top 8 free safe snacks-Lays potato chips, Fritos, and soft drinks. They also have Slushie Puppies for an ice cream popsicle alternative as none of their frozen treats are allergy friendly.”

@mama_crist who manages celiac and peanut, tree nut, milk, and soy allergies



San Diego Zoo

Location: San Diego, California

“We were able to find safe snacks and cotton candy throughout the zoo. We ate at one restaurant and the staff seemed moderately aware of food allergies but very thoughtful, courteous and helpful.”

@skellenbeck who manages a peanut allergy


San Francisco Zoo

Location: San Francisco, California

“The zoo itself is pretty small but is kept clean!”

@scristol who manages peanut, tree nut, shellfish, and pea allergies


Santa Barbara Zoo

Location: Santa Barbara, California

“We love the cleanliness of this place. You are allowed to bring in food and there is plenty of places for you to sit and eat. It’s typically not too crowded. We have yet to actually eat at the zoo because it’s smaller so we just bring our own snacks and it’s enough.”

@lifewithitchy who manages peanut, tree nut, milk, egg, kiwi, and pea allergies


Sea World San Diego

Location: San Diego, California

“We had a good time at the San Diego Location. We only ordered coffee from a Starbucks location inside the park. I also packed all of our food and snacks. They seemed like they had a few good options to accommodate anyone with an allergy. Just don’t pack your things in glass!”


who manages peanut, tree nut, and legume allergies


Oakland Zoo

Location: Oakland, California

“I love the Oakland Zoo, and we used to have a weekly pass when I was a kid! The animal exhibits are all really cool, and they have a fun kid area with small amusement park rides. I would always bring my own food in because their restaurants are not super allergy-friendly (pb&j on the menu at most places), but bringing in food was never a problem!”


who manages celiac and a peanut allergy



Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens

Location: Jacksonville, Florida

“I safely had shaved ice at the zoo! The zoo is a great way to spend a day in Jacksonville if it isn’t too hot out––and you can even feed the giraffes! It is clean and a very family-friendly spot.”

@scristol who manages peanut, tree nut, shellfish, and pea allergies



Lincoln Park Zoo

Location: Chicago, Illinois

“I’ve always had fantastic experiences at Lincoln Park Zoo. Not only is it free, but they have safe options for eating. They clearly label the menus at the Park Place Cafe when it comes to the dining options. I usually shy away from the dessert options offered and bring my own!”

@hsafron who manages peanut, tree nut, chickpea, and soy protein allergies


Brookfield Zoo

Location: Brookfield, Illinois

“The popcorn is popped in Wesson oil for those who can do corn. This was a great surprise and we are huge popcorn lovers!”


who manages celiac and peanut, tree nut, milk, and soy allergies


Chicago Zoological Society

Location: Chicago, Illinois

“The popcorn is popped in coconut oil which is the one “tree nut” my daughter is allowed. This was a wonderful surprise as we are traveling through the state and decided to stop toting our own safe snacks. Staff was very helpful and knowledgeable of their food products.”


who manages celiac and peanut, tree nut, milk, and soy allergies


Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium

Location: Omaha, Nebraska

“Some of the restaurants are better than others. This zoo is huge with lots of fun activities. They do allow allergy families with outside food and drink and have little picnic areas. We’ve been able to eat at different restaurants safely. We usually try and pick less busy times, but have been able to speak to management or a chef at sit down places regarding allergies.”

@vkotz who manages peanut, tree nut and wheat allergies



Central Park Zoo

Location: New York City, New York

“Bring your own food and enjoy. I VAGUELY remember eating animal shaped chicken nuggets somewhere near the Central Park zoo but I could be totally wrong. Definitely go see the polar bear!”

@apalin who manages peanut and soy allergies



Oklahoma City Zoo

Location: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

“The restaurant in Sanctuary Asia (Lotus Pavilion) provided great service. They have some gluten-free options and the manager went above and beyond to call the chef to ensure their fries were gluten-free. They also did a great job by switching gloves and ensuring a sanitized prep area.”


who manages peanut, tree nut, milk, egg, and wheat allergies


Oregon Zoo

Location: Portland, Oregon

“Africafe has sign posted alerting guests about common allergens and says to talk to manager or supervisor. I was told PB & J is made in a dedicated area in separate building and is individually packaged. We felt confident ordering grilled cheese/mac & cheese here. Really cool zoo. Beautiful landscape. Loved our whole experience here.”

@skellenbeck who manages a peanut allergy



Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium

Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

“We go to the zoo often. Today for the first time we noticed a new grill that stated it was allergy friendly. We went and asked (we didn’t buy as we had already brought in safe food -totally allowed). They have a binder with information on everything they serve and all of the allergen information. They also are completely nut free at that location. There weren’t a ton of dairy free options, but it was a small menu, and at least there were options and they were trying. Greatly appreciated.”

@punkinmama who manages cashew and milk allergies



Riverview Park & Zoo

Location: Peterborough, Ontario

“This is a free-to-use, short walk through zoo with a small train to ride and a playground with a big slide. There is also a large picnic area by the river, and no major food facilities in the zoo. There is a small snack bar but it’s never been open when I’ve gone. There are drink vending machines and water bottle refill stations. Note––water bottles are not for sale so make sure you bring your own!”

@danielles who manages peanut, tree nut, soy, legume, and lupin allergies


Toronto Zoo

Location: Toronto, Ontario

“You are allowed to bring in as much food as your want and eat it around the park, but the park is always spotless despite no food restrictions. Lots of snacks available to buy at the little stores. I believe they sell packaged Chapman’s ice cream too. If you email in advance of going, I think they can send a list of which restaurants are safe for specific allergies.”

@danielles who manages peanut, tree nut, soy, legume, and lupin allergies



Singapore Zoo

Location: Singapore

“I have been in the “River Safari” and “Night Safari” parts of the zoo. The zoo is extremely clean and large, and a lot of fun. River safari features an amazing panda exhibit, and also a water ride (great for if you need a break from walking in the heat). I remember avoiding the snacks inside the zoo out of a concern for safety, but there is an easily accessible KFC at the zoos entrance that had safe options for me!”

@scristol who manages peanut, tree nut, shellfish, and pea allergies

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