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The Los Angeles Zoo Family Guide

Updated for 2023

The Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens is now open for families, with advanced ticketing and safety precautions in place. Families can visit and enjoy seeing the animals and exhibits.

The LA Zoo is located within Griffith Park and has been a family favorite for years. 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 2000 mammals, birds, amphibians, and reptiles (representing more than 270 species) on more than 100 acres at the LA Zoo. In addition, you’ll see more than 800 different plant species on site, which is why the words “Botanical Gardens” are in the name.

Zoo Friday Nights Happening in Summer 2023

Friday evenings in July and August 2023, the Zoo is hosting “Zoo Friday Nights,” where you can spend time in the cool of the evening, getting a glimpse of the animals just before they head off to sleep. There are food trucks for grabbing dinner, as well as education stations throughout the Zoo. There’s even a DJ, with music and games for kids and grown-ups, too.

MomsLA was invited to experience the first Zoo Friday Night event of the Summer, and it was really fun! There are fewer people, so you get to see the animals that are still awake with a smaller crowd, and the cooler temps in the evening make it much more enjoyable than on a super hot day. Each Friday there will be different food trucks, so be sure to check before getting your tickets.

Read about all the Best Botanical Gardens in SoCal.

Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens
5333 Zoo Dr., Los Angeles, CA 90027

Table of Contents:

  • Los Angeles Zoo Tickets
  • Admission Prices and Membership
  • LA Zoo Hours
  • Los Angeles Zoo Deals and Discounts
  • Food and Dining Options
  • Virtual Programming and Animal Cams
  • Animal Exhibits at the LA Zoo
  • Parking Info

Related: The Best Museums for Kids in Los Angeles

Guide to the Los Angeles Zoo. #LosAngeles #zoo #zooanimals

LA Zoo Hours:

The LA Zoo is open daily from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm and is only closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. However, keep in mind that Zoo animals start to go in for the night beginning at 4:00 pm.

Los Angeles Zoo Tickets, Prices, and Membership

How much does the LA Zoo cost? It depends if you are a Member or buying General Admission tickets. See the two tables below with all the info.

General Admission Ticket Prices

General Admission, Adults ages 13-61$22.00
General Admission, Seniors, age 62+$19.00
General Admission, Child, ages 2-12$17.00
General Admission, Infant ages 0-23 monthsFREE
These are the admission prices for the LA Zoo as of Summer 2023.

Please note that tickets must be reserved and purchased in advance, online via the Zoo’s website. Look for the “Plan your visit” tab, and then find the “reservations” button.

Please also read the rules and safety precautions before you go.

Check the Zoo’s website for any discounts for AAA members, or members of the military, as policies change often.

Guide to the Los Angeles Zoo

LA Zoo Membership

According to the Zoo’s website, “membership pays for itself in as few as 2 visits per year.” Here are the 4 different membership levels to choose from.

Individual $60– Admission for 1 adult named on card
– 1 membership card
Individual PLUS $90– Admission for 1 adult named on card + one guest
– 1 membership card
Family $150– Admission for 2 adults named on card + your own children or grandchildren (ages 2-17)*
– 4 Free Safari Shuttle Tickets (a $20 value)
– 2 membership cards
Family DELUXE $190– Admission for 3 adults named on card + your own children or grandchildren (ages 2-17)*
– 2 free one-day Guest Passes (a $42 value)
– 6 Free Safari Shuttle Tickets (a $30 value)
– 3 membership cards
*some restrictions apply

Please note that Members must still reserve tickets ahead of time via the website.

Patron Circle Memberships

These membership levels come at higher price points and allow for more support to go to the Los Angeles Zoo.

Contributing Circle $300– Admission for 3 adults named on card + your own children or grandchildren (ages 2-17)*
– 1 additional guest per visit
– Invitations to exclusive events and presentations for Patron Circle Members
– 4 free one-day Guest Passes (an $84 value)
– 8 Free Safari Shuttle Tickets (a $40 value)
– 3 membership cards
Wildlife Circle $500– All the benefits of the Contributing Circle level, plus
– 1 extra additional guest per visit (2 total)
– Free ADOPT an Animal Kit ($35 value)
Conservation Circle $1000– All the benefits of the Wildlife Circle level, plus
– 1 extra additional guest per visit (3 total)
– Private, docent-led cart tour of the Zoo for up to 6 guests
Safari Society $1500– This premier giving society offers exclusive access and a deeper connection with the Zoo’s Mission
*some restrictions apply

About the LA Zoo and the Animals

As you explore the Zoo, you’ll feel as if you’re traveling around the world, observing these beautiful creatures from all across the 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.

A few of the many animals you’ll find at the Los Angeles Zoo include Western Lowland Gorillas (a critically endangered species), Asian Elephants, the American Black Bear, Baird’s Tapir, the Bongo, Bornean Orangutans, and even some California Sea Lions.

Want to find more Sea Lions and tons of Marine Life? Check out our Guide to the Aquarium of the Pacific.

Many people ask: does the LA Zoo have koalas? And the answer is yes. This furry marsupial from Australia can be found in a special exhibit that allows them to sleep many hours each day.

The Los Angeles Zoo also has Linnie’s Two-Toed Sloth, Giant Anteaters, and the Sumatran Tiger, all very popular animals.

The LA Zoo does not have any Giant Pandas or Red Pandas, but San Diego does have Red Pandas. They no longer have any Giant Pandas, having returned them to the wild in China. Check out our Guide to the San Diego Zoo next time you’re down there.

Photo credit: Jamie Pham

Special Experiences at the LA Zoo

At this time, the LA Zoo’s special experiences are temporarily closed, but may re-open soon. Stay tuned to the Zoo’s social media for updates to that policy.

When they are operating, you’ll want to plan to take advantage of the shows and activities that are offered. Giraffe Feedings by Zookeepers or even by Zoo visitors (for an additional fee), Hippo Encounters, the World of Birds Show, and the Elephant Training Demonstrations.

Special Celebrations at the LA Zoo

The Los Angeles Zoo hosts several special events during the year, and they are sure to be new family favorites! Check out the annual Halloween event called Boo at the Zoo, or their Winter celebrations: Reindeer Romp and LA Zoo Lights.

Los Angeles zoo entrance

Parking Information at the LA Zoo

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). Please check their website for details.

Food and Dining Options at the LA Zoo

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, so check the website for descriptions of each eatery.

In addition, you can bring in outside food and drink to the Los Angeles Zoo. Check their website for a list of items (such as alcohol, glass containers, or disposable straws) that are not allowed on Zoo property.

Photo credit: Jamie Pham

Nearby Attractions

Near the Zoo there are tons of fun things to do in Griffith Park, including the Griffith Park Pony Rides and Travel Town, both 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 right across the parking lot from the Zoo is the Autry, and our Guide to the Autry Museum of the American West lets you know all the fun you can have there as well.

MomsLA is your source for Things to do with Kids in Los Angeles

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