kayla kakes

This food blog is a way to share recipes, opinions, and stories about cooking/baking.

Our day at Brookfield Zoo using reusable bags

My husband suggested the other day that we go to the zoo over the weekend for a family day.  He had plans to go fishing Friday night and Saturday morning with his brothers, and was spending Saturday night visiting with his relatives from Australia who are here (in the Chicagoland area) on vacation.  So that left Sunday for our family day.

This was our daughter’s first trip to the zoo, so we decided to go with the big zoo…Brookfield Zoo.  Kayla is crazy about monkeys, so I knew this was our best bet because there are tons of monkeys there.  Not to mention, Brookfield Zoo is the best zoo in the area.  No other zoos even come close.  I’ve been telling my husband since last summer that I wanted to take Kayla to the zoo, and this summer I knew it would be a great learning experience for her.  She knows all the basic animals now and likes to make their sounds.  She gets excited when she sees stuff with cows, pigs, horses, zebras, bears, sheep, etc., so this is the perfect time to take her to the zoo to reinforce everything I’ve taught her about animals so far.

Kayla and her daddy by the gorilla statue.

I have various reusable bags, and I was determined to put a few of them to use today.  I decided to go with a simple thin non-insulated market tote, and my large tote that is both insulated and non-insulated (with matching wristlet purse).  The large tote has two sides to it.  One side is a big insulated section, and the other side is a decent size non-insulated section for necessities.  There is also a zippered compartment on the backside of the large tote.  Let me just say that these totes were lifesavers today.  They made my life so much easier.  There are all types of reusable bags on the market right now, and I’m sure a lot of them are great, but I think these bags are among the best.  Kudos to Sachi for coming up with such user-friendly bags.

Insulated side of large tote. Plenty of room to pack a lunch for the family for a day at the zoo.

Non-insulated side of large tote where I was able to carry my wallet, small cosmetic bag, camera, camcorder, and a spare outfit for Kayla.

I used my non-insulated market tote for a few different things today, and it really served it’s purpose.  I was worried at first because this tote has a very thin material that I wasn’t sure would really hold up.  It’s also tall and not very wide.  I was concerned I wouldn’t be able to fit much in it, but I was wrong.  This bag held way more than I expected.  I had this thing jam packed with items and the thin material held up without any issues.  It was also easy to carry.  The handles/straps are just the right length.

On the way out of the house, I had the bag packed with a large cosmetic bag that holds our daughter’s diaper necessities, a portable DVD player, two DVD movies in their cases, a monkey backpack, and a sippy cup.  Some of this stuff got unloaded in the car, so once we arrived at the zoo we only had the large cosmetic bag in it along with a sippy cup.  While walking around the zoo, we stopped in a few gift shops to buy things for our daughter.  We started to put the purchases in the market tote so that when we left the tote in the bottom of the stroller, people wouldn’t be able to see what we bought.  By the time we left the zoo, the tote contained the large cosmetic bag, a stuffed animal, a toddler t-shirt, a small photo album, a small monkey purse (that we bought at the zoo), a box set of zoo animals, the monkey backpack, and a sippy cup.  This bag was stuffed.  My husband commented that the bag was very convenient to have with us.

Market tote stuffed full from our day at the zoo. This bag came in very handy for carrying our purchases from the gift shops.

This is the large cosmetic bag I carried in the market tote with Kayla’s diaper stuff in it. I typically put this cosmetic bag in my (very large) purse so I no longer have to carry a separate diaper bag. I am able to fit a few diapers, wipes, a changing pad, disposable bags, antibacterial wipes, and a few other small items in this bag with no problem. This cosmetic bag was easy to carry in the market tote for the day.

The inside of the non-insulated market tote.

I opted to not bring my purse to the zoo today, but put all of my essential items in the large tote.  I also decided to pack us a picnic lunch in an attempt to save us some money.  In the large tote, I put my keys and cell phone in the outside zippered compartment.  On the non-insulated side of the bag, I put my wallet, a small cosmetic bag, my camera, our camcorder, and a spare outfit for Kayla.  On the insulated side, I packed sandwiches in two 8″L x 5-1/2″W x 2-3/4″H containers, three small juice bottles, a few sticks of string cheese, a couple protien bars, a 1 cup container of dry cheerios, a few 100 calorie snack bags, and two freezer sheets to keep the food cold.  I still had a little bit of room left if I wanted to add something else.  I had the big tote pretty much full though.  In the little matching wristlet purse that came with the tote, I carried sunscreen, a little hand sanitizer bottle, some tissues, and an extra binkie for our daughter.  This big tote was a lifesaver.  It fit everything we needed for the day, and it was easy to carry.

When I first got the bag, I was worried about the straps.  They didn’t seem long enough, and they didn’t seem like they would stay on my shoulder properly.  I was wrong again.  The straps were just long enough for me…but I am petite at only 5’2.  And I had no problem with this bag staying on my shoulder.  I don’t remember it slipping off even once while walking around the zoo.  Of course, the bag would get heavy at times when we were doing a lot of walking, but I was able to shove it into the bottom of our stroller when I needed a break.

Eating lunch in one of the picnic areas at the zoo. You can see some of the food and drinks we had inside the large tote.  There’s no need to drag along an ugly plastic cooler when you have one of these pretty bags.

Lunch time!  The food containers we used are Lock and Lock containers. Lock and Lock is another product I highly recommend.

I couldn’t believe how much I liked using these reusable bags.  We didn’t have to worry about having tons of different bags or stray items.  Everything fit into these two bags.  Our lunch stayed cold in the insulated section of the large tote.  I was able to bring everything I needed from my purse without having to actually bring my purse with me.  I will definitely be using reusable bags in the future when we have family day outings.

For now, my next planned outing is a trip to a U-Pick Farm this week to pick some fresh fruits and veggies.  I know I’ll be bringing at least one reusable bag on that trip.

Kayla taking a rest in her stroller. You can see the large tote is shoved into the bottom of the stroller The market tote was also in the stroller basket, but you can’t see it in the picture.

We’re on the carousel and I have the large tote on my shouder without any issues.

Walking around the area with all the monkeys. The large tote is easily being carried on my shoulder. And this picture was before lunch, so that was when it was still stuffed with food and drinks.

Kayla walking around with her little monkey backpack on. The tail is like a litte “leash” so we can allow her to walk around without having to worry about ever losing track of her. It gives us peace of mind, and she loves it.

Kayla looking at the monkeys. Seeing all the monkeys was the highlight of her day.

In Tropic World at Brookfield Zoo, the monkey area.

Kayla looking up at the birds flying around in the penguin area.


Kayla looking at the ducks in the Children’s Zoo area.


  1. esqstyleblog

    That’s exactly why my mom says, “You can never have too many bags!”

  2. Great! You are using reusable bags.These bags are fashionable and environment friendly..The bag with insulated and non insulated sides is looking good and very useful.Kayla is cute and adorable.I think “Her first trip to zoo was an amazing experience for her”.

  3. Good tips here – will remember them when we visit the zoo!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: