Tap Zoo

Common Sense Media says

Lackluster zoo sim entices you to spend real money.





What parents need to know

Ease of play

The controls may be easy, but you can't really get much of anything done without loads of coins -- coins which you either have to wait for days to earn or spend real money on.

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Sexy stuff

Animals do have babies, but nothing is shown -- they just arrive -- and always in an egg.

Not applicable

Impatient players who don't want to wait several days between buying animals or decorations for their zoos can spend real money to buy in-game coins. Coin packages can cost anywhere from $.99 to $150 of real money. Since this game takes so long to earn money, interested players will be tempted to spend real money.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

Other players may get a random chance to see your zoo, but they won't know your name, location, or anything else about you.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Tap Zoo is a free app that lets kids build and customize their own virtual zoo, but that the game is designed so that kids have to wait a long time between purchasing animals or buildings for their zoo. Early in the game, you will only earn a few hundred coins from your zoo, but anything you want to buy will cost far more than that (example: a hedgehog is 16,000 coins). If you don't want to wait, you will need to spend real money to buy extra coins. Many animals and items can't even be bought with coins -- they need to be purchased with "stars," which are rarely ever earned within the game and almost certainly need to be purchased with real money.

Parents say

Kids say

Is it any good?


There are many simulation apps like TAP ZOO in which you earn money very slowly and are therefore enticed into spending real-world money to speed up the game and customize it the way you want. They're all somewhat insidious, but most of them look better than Tap Zoo. At least in Tap Birds, when you buy a bird for your virtual aviary, you get to see that bird fly around and interact with other birds. In Tap Zoo, when you buy a gorilla, you get an pre-rendered animated square with two gorillas in it and a little number 1 in the corner to show you that you only have one gorilla. When you buy another, the animation stays the same and you get a little 2 in the corner. If those two gorillas have a baby (which will hatch from an egg, by the way), you still have the same two-gorilla animation only with a little 3 in the corner. A changing numeral is not worth the time it takes to build up all the coins you need to buy these animals, and certainly not worth the real money you'd have to spend to make it happen quickly .

App details

Devices:iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire
Pricing structure:Free
Release date:September 14, 2010
Category:Simulation Games
Publisher:Streetview Labs
Minimum software requirements:iOS 2.1 or later, Android 2.2 and up

This review of Tap Zoo was written by

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  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Parent of a 4 year old Written byesha mahin March 24, 2011

time consuming....

well my son loves animals..... so he loves the game too..... he is a little confused about how much money he has or needs to save.... the game is time consuming...... my son and i play together and we wait for days to hatch an egg or get more piece of land.... the worst part is he cant get animals he really likes... like a tiger or a dolphin...which requires stars or real money. so he gets upset over this... but i never spend to get these animals.... i sometimes feel bad that i got him into this....
Parent of a 4 and 7 year old Written byd.f.chic January 24, 2011

Money Trap--Avoid it!

My 7-year-old son downloaded this "free" app and when he was playing it he unknowingly bought $99.99 worth of coins! I was shocked and very sick to my stomach when I received the iTunes receipt a day later. I do not recommend this game to anyone. It is a money trap!
What other families should know
Too much consumerism
Parent Written bywilliambmac June 4, 2011

If Tap Zoo is draining your wallet, it's your own fault.

Stop blaming Apple and the Designers of the game for your mistakes. First off software designers develop these games to make money. The game does inform you that you need to purchase more coins/stars when required. They also ask your permission before doing so. When you setup your ipod you can lock out the account, so your children cannot make purchases on your credit card. If you were smart you would do so. Proper parenting will also help prevent this. Pay attention to what your children are doing instead of sitting them in a corner with an Ipod. You want someone to blame, blame yourselves for setting up an account and allowing your children to have access to it. Wake up people.


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