Guide to the Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens
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Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens
5333 Zoo Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90027
The Zoo is open daily from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm (closed on Christmas Day). Keep in mind that the Zoo starts putting animals in for the night beginning at 4:00 pm.
The Griffith Park Zoo opened in 1912 with just fifteen animals, a few miles from the current Zoo site. Today, you’ll find more than 1,000 mammals, birds, amphibians, and reptiles (representing more than 250 species) on more than 100 acres at the L.A. Zoo. In addition, you’ll see more than 800 different plant species on site.
As you explore the Zoo, you’ll feel as if you’re traveling around the world, observing these beautiful creatures from all across our globe. You’ll find many exhibits including the Rainforest of the Americas, the Elephants of Asia habitat, the LAIR (Living Amphibians, Invertebrates, and Reptiles), and more.
While you’re at the Zoo, you’ll want to plan to take advantage of the shows and activities that are offered. Giraffe Feedings occur twice each day (for an additional fee, visitors can hand-feed a giraffe!) Or maybe you’re curious about hippos. The Hippo Encounter provides you with a behind-the-scenes chance to meet the Zoo’s hippos, Mara and baby Rosie. (Encounter is offered on weekends. Tickets are available online and sell out quickly). Watch the daily (except Tuesdays) World of Birds Show, and learn fascinating facts at the daily (except Tuesdays) Elephant Training Demonstration.
Kids will also love exploring at the Winnick Family Children’s Zoo and Muriel’s Ranch where kids can get close to the Zoo’s sheep and goats. The California Condor Rescue Zone (CCRZ) is a fun play space designed for children ages six and older and is open on holidays and weekends. And don’t forget about the Animals and You Program which are fifteen-minute-long animal close-up encounters! Different animals participate so you don’t know until you’re there if you’ll be seeing a Guinea pig or an Eastern box turtle or a Hog Island boa, to name a few of the participating animals.
The Zoo also hosts a number of special events and exhibits throughout the year. On those random days your child’s school isn’t in session you can take advantage of Safari Days. All Safari Day dates correspond to LAUSD unassigned/holiday dates. Kids in kindergarten through sixth grade will have a fun, educational Zoo day. Families can choose to participate in Troop Trek, a monthly “90-minute guided adventure through the Zoo.”
General Zoo admission is $21 for those 13-61 years old. Visitors 62 and older pay $18, children ages 2-12 are $16, and children younger than 2 are free. However, certain attractions do require an additional fee (such as Hippo Encounter and Carousel Tickets). Combination tickets are available if families wish to visit the Aquarium of the Pacific and the LA Zoo sometime within the same year.
Families who visit the Zoo regularly will find Zoo membership a great way to save. Membership includes free admission (including free interactive shows), free and/or discounted admission to other zoos and aquariums nationwide (with 15 in California), discounts at Zoo shops and restaurants, discounts on certain special events, access to members-only events, and much more.
The Zoo offers free parking. However, on certain days throughout the year, families can take advantage of the Zoo’s Preferred Parking Program for a cash fee. This program generally operates on busy attendance days (such as holiday weekends and special events).
The Zoo features several restaurants and eateries so even the pickiest eater will find something yummy to eat when spending a day at the Zoo. Some restaurants are open only on weekends and holidays, but four are open daily. Check the website for descriptions of each eatery. In addition, outside food and drink are permitted on the premises as well. Click here for a list of items (such as aluminum cans) that are not allowed on Zoo property.
The Zoo is located within Griffith Park which means there’s no shortage of things to do nearby. Both Griffith Park Pony Rides and Travel Town are just a short drive away. Families can also go for a spin on the Griffith Park Merry-Go-Round, a Griffith Park family favorite since 1937. And while the Autry Museum is located directly across the street from the Zoo, there’s so much to do there, it’s best saved for a different day. Click here to read our post “9 Things To Do With Kids in Griffith Park.”