A trip to the LA Zoo is a mindful experience allowing us to better appreciate the idiosyncrasies of our daily lives. There’s something oddly serene about spending the day with a bunch of wild animals. It’s the kind of environment where you can sit with your thoughts and be one with nature as you observe various creatures of the earth in their natural habitat. With at least five zoos located within a two-hour drive of Los Angeles, plus an excellent option right here in the city with the Los Angeles Zoo & Botanical Gardens, you can make the most out of your zoo experience by following a few simple tips from this Los Angeles guide to the zoo.
Save yourself some time and purchase your tickets online to avoid waiting in any potentially long lines, especially at some of the bigger zoos. The lines at the LA Zoo aren’t too bad, but you can still save yourself about 15 to 30 minutes worth of wait time. Besides, while everyone is waiting in line to access the zoo, you can rush ahead and secure the best spots for viewing your favorite animals.
All Types Of Animals To See
The LA Zoo is one of the largest and most prestigious zoo’s in the world. Open every day of the week, parking is free, and you’ll get to go from exhibit to exhibit seeing some of the world’s most exotic creatures on planet earth. In addition to amphibians like frogs, all types of birds, a huge array of mammals like gorillas, chimps, deer, bears, anteaters, giraffes, koala’s, monkeys, jaguars, tigers, elephants, and more, there are also plenty of reptiles, too.
Flowers, Fauna & Botanical Gardens
Who would think a zoo would be known for some of the most incredible botanical gardens around. Well, the LA Zoo offers an amazing array of plants from all over the globe – from Mexixcan fan palms to Hong Kong orchid trees and more. Often overlooked, the fauna and flora provide food, shade, and even entertainment to the residents of the zoo. With three main groups of plants at the Zoo, many of which overlap, there’s plenty to see. Often the trees that fill the landscape (acacia, eucalyptus, ficus, mulberry) provide food for the animals, commonly known as “browse.” In addition, the Zoo’s great plant collection includes many intriguing specimen plants. Zoo grounds also feature special gardens that highlight groups of plants. The native gardens offer many of this region’s spectacular indigenous plants, while the cactus and succulent gardens contain representatives of arid climates around the world, and the cycad garden is a living time capsule full of plant species that have been in existence since the age of dinosaurs.
Arrive Early & Stay Late
Most of the animals are usually more active as early as when the zoo opens and as late as when it closes. The LA Zoo, for example, often does training demonstrations daily for elephants, chimpanzee’s and other animals, so you won’t want to miss those!
Become A Zoo Guide
The LA Zoo offers a convenient audio tour straight through your personal mobile device. The audio cell phone tour features at least 14 of the zoo’s most interesting exhibits and includes the amphibians and reptile LAIR exhibit as well as the Madagascar radiated tortoise and the mountain tapir exhibits. Take the time to stop and read the exhibit descriptions as well. Some of the stuff you read can be quite insightful, such as a baby giraffe being born at six feet tall and 150 pounds. In addition, the tour offers fascinating facts from our animal care staff about unique animals such as the Sifaka, the Komodo Dragon, and the African Wild Dog, and how the Zoo is working to remove them from the endangered species lists.
Plenty of Food Options
The LA Zoo offers plenty of food options, including the famed Reggie’s Bistro. As a quick service restaurant, you’ll have options of gourmet salads, burgers, sandwiches and more in an upscale setting. It’s located next to their gift shop as well! Or, try the Zoo Grill, serving items like hot carved sandwiches, chicken tenders, healthy kid’s meals, specialty salads, ice cream and cold drinks. Indoor and outdoor seating is available as well. You can find this eatery at the entry to the Winnick Family Children’s Zoo. Other offerings include Sweet Treats, which serves ice cream , Icees, cotton candy, popcorn and much more. Hungry for churro’s? Who isn’t? They offer that and more!
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The bigger the zoo, the more walking you’ll do, so be sure to wear comfortable walking shoes. The LA Zoo, for example, consists of 133 acres that could take a couple hours to walk through at a leisurely pace. Most of the walking will probably be out in the sun so don’t forget to wear sunscreen. Given the apparent infestation of bees throughout the zoo (said to be part of the natural habitat for zoo residents), bug-repellent sunscreen comes highly recommended. It is also a fun “hint” to wear the same color of the zoo attendants (usually dark green) then the animals may even approach you.
The LA Zoo offers a bevy of educational classes to connect visitors with the conservation efforts they achieve. Through a variety of fun, engaging programs, they help create ambassadors of wildlife for life. The Education Division here commits to developing programs that help deliver programs that are not only educational, but enjoyable and inspirational. Kids and adults alike will be enthralled! From children’s classes to school and group outings, all-night indoor and interactive experiences for kids, a zoo camp and adult education, there’s no shortage of great educational events here.