If you’re an animal lover, you’ll definitely love the LA Zoo. It’s perfect for kids or adults. Just make sure you bring a pair of good walking shoes so you can see the entire park without your feet feeling like you got a snake bite at “The Lair” reptile house.
The zoo is open daily from 10 AM – 5 PM except for Christmas. If you are planning on going during the weekend, make sure to get there as early as possible. The parking lot turns into a zoo by 11 or 12! To save more time, you might also want to purchase your tickets online. Children’s tickets for ages 2 to 12 are $16, adults are $21, and seniors are $18. You can buy them here: https://tickets.lazoo.org/webstore/shop/ViewItems.aspx?CG=tkts&C=TKTS
Some of my favorite exhibits include the flamingos and the komodo dragon. They also have gorillas, rhinos, ostriches, seals, and everything in between. I definitely recommend picking up a map to make sure you hit all the spots you want to see.
Not only does the zoo have lions, tigers, and bears, but they also have up-close and personal encounters with a few of the animals.
From 11 AM to 1 PM and 2 PM to 4 PM you can participate in a giraffe feeding for $5. Just be careful of that 6 foot long tongue of theirs.
On weekends and holidays you can learn more about the animal that I take a lot of my eating inspiration from: the hippo! Tickets for this can sell our months in advance, so make sure to purchase them early. Who would want to miss the opportunity to meet a hippo?
If you’re looking for something a bit bigger, make sure to check out the elephant training demonstration which happens daily at 11 AM except for Tuesdays and Thursdays. Zoo keepers will explain how to keep these gentle giants happy and healthy.
Head over to Muriel’s Ranch aka the Winnick Family Children’s Zoo if you have small children with you. They have some pretty sweet (and adorable!) goats and sheep. They’re perfect for cuddling and getting a cute Christmas card photo for the upcoming season! It’s open daily from 10 AM to 1 PM and 1:30 PM to 4 PM.
When you need to take a break from all that walking, but your kid still has plenty of energy after downing a slushie, take them over to the Neil Papiano Play Park. It has a playground for the kids to play in while you can relax in one of the many shaded areas.
Feeling a bit peckish after watching the snow leopards chomp down on a lovely slab of meat? The zoo has plenty of restaurants to grab a snack before venturing on. Most of the restaurants sell staples of sandwiches and enough soda to drown an alligator, but some have specialties. The Mahale Café features pizza, Café Pico offers a variety of Mexican cuisine, and the Gorilla Grill carries Philly sandwiches for all you Philly cheesesteak fans.
If you’re looking for something sweeter, head over to the Churro Factory. Their churro sundae is the perfect cold treat on a hot summer day at the park. Also make sure to check out the shaved ice vender by the tigers to get a tiger’s blood snow cone. Who knew that tiger’s blood tasted like cherry?
After you leave the zoo, you might have a desperate urge to go back, so consider becoming a member. You get a ton of great perks like free daytime admission to the LA Zoo and free access to special animal experiences. Check out all the perks here: http://www.lazoo.org/membership/