The other day I covered family-friendly Halloween events at amusement parks. If your kids love trick or treating but are too young for gory zombies, vampires, and ghouls, consider planning a trip to the zoo! With options like sleepovers, train rides, spooky stories, and costume parades, zoos across the country focus on fun instead of fright.

Philadelphia Zoo

Celebrate Boo at the Zoo with spooky crafts and games, musical performances, and special animal exhibits including the Animals of Harry Potter. Be sure to visit the Philadelphia Zoo Boo at the Zoo website for event schedules and details.

Henry Vilas Zoo

Halloween at the Zoo in Madison, WI includes trick or treating, a fun house, and musical entertainment. This single-day event is free, though donations are accepted, with proceeds going toward zoo renovations. Please visit the Henry Vilas Zoo Halloween at the Zoo website for specific event information.

The Bronx Zoo

This Boo at the Zoo is a New York City tradition. Weekends in October feature hay mazes, pumpkin carving demonstrations, puppet shows, magic shows, live music, and plenty of bats, cats, and other creepy critters. Events are included with general admission, and one costumed child (ages 3–12) can get in free with each adult admission ticket purchased. Check out The Bronx Zoo’s Boo at the Zoo website for schedules and more details.

Phoenix Zoo

boa constrictorThis Boo at the Zoo event is specifically geared toward children 7 and under, with a “Tails from the Crypt” animal show, the Pumpkin Stomp and Chomp, a maze, and a pumpkin patch. Boo at the Zoo events are included with general admission. Check the Phoenix Zoo’s Boo at the Zoo website for more information.

Older kids (and young-at-heart adults) can enjoy evening activities—when “nature’s worst nightmares come out to prey”—at the Howl-O-Ween event ($6 for Phoenix Zoo members, $8 for non-members), intended for children ages 8 and older. Activities are broken down into three scare levels to help keep things age-appropriate. You can also extend the Halloween fun with the Sleep Over with Nature’s Nightmares ($65 for Phoenix Zoo members, $70 for non-members) featuring a night hike, up-close animal encounters, dinner, and breakfast. Please visit the Howl-O-Ween website and the Nature’s Nightmares website for more information about these events.

Knoxville Zoo

Bring your little monsters to Knoxville’s biggest Halloween event. This Boo at the Zoo offers ten nights of safe and not-so-scary Halloween fun featuring music, games, a “haunted” carousel, the scary-go-round, and (of course) trick or treating. Tickets are $6 per person ($1 discount for zoo members, children under 2 are free) and parking is $5. Please visit the Knoxville Zoo’s Boo at the Zoo website for more information and to purchase tickets.