Los Angeles Zoo
Spend a Sunny California Day at One of the Best Valued Attractions in Los Angeles!
When you combine the 1100 animals, the beautiful LA weather and the fact that a visit won't break the bank, the Los Angeles zoo is certainly a top Los Angeles attraction!
Located in picturesque Griffith Park, the large and ever expanding zoo is home to a wide range of wild animals from all over the world that are housed in interesting exhibits, mimicking their real life habitats.
The Los Angeles zoo is not surprisingly a great family destination. The Zoo is usually filled with kids so be prepared! But don't worry there is plenty to interest any adult as well....
The Zoo is pretty big so you can easily spend the whole day exploring it. Especially since a lot of the fun comes from sticking with a particular animal to check out their behavior. A lot of the exhibits have seating, some, like the chimpanzee exhibit, have arena seating!
- Reggie the Alligator
You can find Reggie near the beginning of the zoo. Reggie is actually a bit of a local folk hero! Back in 2005, two men dumped him illegally in Lake Machado (Harbor Lake) in Harbour City. They apparently had bough Reggie when he was a youngster and couldn't handle him anymore! Not the brightest pair lol...
Anyway, sightings became legendary and Reggie became a media sensation, with local tv networks keeping “Reggie-watch” a staple from 2005 to 2007. After many failed capture attempts by hired wranglers from all over the country, Reggie was finally secured in May 2007 by city wildlife experts and transported to the Los Angeles Zoo, where he now makes his home!
- Prairie Dogs
What makes the prairie dog exhibit so cool, are the plastic bubbles the zoo have set up that allow you to poke your head up right into the animal's back yard. I was able to get a great close view of the little guys poking their own heads out of their burrows. Great for picture taking too!
- The Aviary
The Aviary was another of my favorite areas in the Zoo. You enter through double doors and enter a beautiful tropical landscape filled with various tropical birds enclosed with protective netting high above. The best section of the aviary has got to be the Flamingo nesting area. When I visited in late October, the Flamingos were getting ready to nest, scouting out the best areas to lay their eggs.
Other birds call this area home and some hilarious bickering ensued between between a Flamingo trying tostake a claim on a particular spot of ground and an Ibis trying to walk by. Relax give the guy a break, he's not trying steal your spot, “he's just walking here!”
So as you can see this is a good spot to check out some fun animal interaction.
My first view of the Hippo at the LA Zoo was an interesting one. Rump only.
After that first funny introduction, I was lucky enough to see him being fed by his trainer. The trainer first sprayed a hose at the Hippo who seemed to love it, opening his giant mouth and and drinking in the spray.
He then stood up on the side of exhibit so the trainer could feed him some hay. The trainer took close up pictures for people. This feeding happened around 2:45 or 3pm. The Hippo was definitely one of the most impressive animals there, he was absolutely massive!
- Francois' Langurs
One of the newest animals at the LA Zoo is this type of primate from Southern China, Laos and Vietnam. These animals have faced a tough road and their species is threatened. The zoo is part of the effort to save their kind and has built a beautiful Asian inspired exhibit to house them. They are quite majestic looking as they sit perched, perusing their surroundings aren't they?
- Chimpanzees of Mahale Mountains
This is one of the most elaborate and impressive of the exhibits. There are multiple viewing points for the animals and their habitat includes both indoor and outdoor areas. There are currently 16 chimps at the Los Angeles Zoo.
The exhibit is great because it provides short intros on all of the animals. For example, I know now that “Gracie” who was born at the zoo in 1987, likes to get into all sorts of mischief and that she is one of “Pandora's” daughters. These little snippets really help in creating a connection between the chimps and the public. Take a seat in the “stands” and check out these animals and their fascinating interactions.
- Western Lowland Gorillas
One of the newer exhibits , The Campo Gorilla reserve is a beautiful site that allows the animals to roam a lush area filled with plants, grass and rocks. Like the chimps, the different gorillas are introduced to the visitor by panels detailing their traits and personalities. One side of the exhibit provides an unobstructed view of the animals without a glass partition. Just watching them examine objects like rocks or plants is amazing. There behavior sometimes seems so incredibly human like.
- Orangutan-Red Ape Rainforest
Another exhibit not to be missed is the Orangutan habitat. Their area is a cross between a beautiful rainforest and a jungle gym on steroids! The various orangutan's can be seeing flying through the air on ropes and trapeze-like contraptions. So cool! When I visited, one of the females was sitting on the ledge right in front of the glass viewing window. She was just sitting there contently munching on some plants and making funny faces at the various kids sitting at her level. Another great exhibit not to be missed!
- Snow Leopards
The Snow Leopard is one of the rarest animals on the planet and the Los Angeles zoo just had baby cubs! These cubs are two of the cutest new additions to the park. When I saw them they were frolicking and play fighting while their mom dozed under a tree. After seeing the “Planet Earth” documentary and knowing how rare they were it was amazing seeing them up close. Especially while they were playing and having fun!
Map of the Los Angeles Zoo
Here is a link to the map of the zoo.
- World of Birds Show: Come check out birds of prey and other exotic birds perform for you live! Weekends: 11:30am, 2pm, 3:30pm.
- Animals & You: Get up close and personal with various animals at these 15 minute long presentations. Takes place at the Winnick's Children Zoo. Weekdays: 10:45am, 11:45. Weekends: 10:45, 11:45, 12:45.
Free Los Angeles Zoo Audio Tour
One of the coolest features that is available toll free, is the cell phone audio tour. You can stroll around the park and take in bios of 14 of the most interesting animals at the zoo. For English call 866 933 4005. For Spanish call 866 933 4006.
The Los Angeles Zoo is always growing and expanding!
- Pachyderm Forest
The most anticipated exhibit that will return the Asian Elephants to the zoo in glorious fashion is due to be completed in Nov 2010. The construction site is truly gargantuan! And no wonder, at 6 acres and the most expensive at 42 million dollars, the pachyderm forest will be the Los Angeles Zoo's pride and joy when it premieres. The new exhibit will be absolutely state of the art, with brand new dietary and medical examination areas. The space will have waterfalls, water holes, plants and trees to create a natural habitat for the elephants. Should be amazing!
- Reptile and Insect Interpretive Center
After a 2 year sting operation headed by the U.S. Fish and wildlife service, a Malaysian smuggler's cache of threatened and endangered reptiles was recovered and put in the care of the LA zoo! The species found include Komodo dragons, Chinese Alligators and the rarest tortoise in the world, the ploughshare tortoise of Madagascar. The exhibit that will incorporate these animals will open in Feb 2011.
The park welcomes you to bring in outside food. In fact there are many nice picnic areas scattered around. If you want to buy food here there are plenty of vending machines, restaurants and stalls around to suit your needs.
The tram wasn't working when I was there but when it is running it makes 6 stops throughout the park, saving you some walking.
LA Choo Choo Train
There's also a fun little choo choo train for kids near the world of birds show at the eastern side of the park.
One way to save is by buying a combo ticket for the Los Angeles zoo and the aquarium of the pacific. You can use both tickets with a year of their purchase. This is what i did and I saved 4$ on the zoo ticket and 5$ on the aquarium price.
If you really dig animals maybe a Los Angeles zoo membership is the way to go. There are various membership levels each offering different benefits. The base individual membership is 45$ and gives you access to the park for free for a year, two one time guest passes, free admission for your kids up to 17 years old and more!
For more info on the various membership levels, check out this link.
Strollers and Wheelchairs
Both can be rented at the park on a first come first serve basis.
The Los Angeles Zoo is located at the northeast corner of Griffith Park at the junction of the I-5 and 134 freeways.