The Wildlife Learning Center may not look like much from the street. In fact, if you blink as you drive by, you just might miss it. But nestled in an old olive grove behind the unassuming entrance, you’ll find a shady, natural environment that’s home to more than 70 different species of rescued and zoo-born wild animals.
The Wildlife Learning Center not only rescues wildlife, it also educates the public in wildlife biology both onsite and through outreach programs. In fact, the Center hosts the largest outreach program in Los Angeles. Impressive, no?
I usually despise animal rescue centers because the enclosures seem unnatural and too small. Although the Wildlife Learning Center certainly isn’t large, the lush, naturalistic setting is serene and inviting. I hope the animals that live there agree.
We were lucky enough to have the entire Center to ourselves during our visit this week. And in spite of the Center’s pint-sized setting, we quite enjoyed ourselves, spending about 45 minutes getting to know the animals that call it home.
Insider tip: If you’re looking for a longer visit, sign up for a special tour ($20/family). Imagine getting up-close and personal with a fennec fox, porcupine or sloth!
Since we had the place all to ourselves, we could be as silly as we wanted. We talked to each of the animals, introducing ourselves, reading a little about them (there were signs posted in front of each enclosure), then asking how they were.
Many of the animals seemed to like our friendliness, coming right up to the front of the enclosure.
After one loop around the outer exhibits, we headed inside to the see the reptiles, amphibians and arthropods. Here, we watched a tiger salamander eat a cricket right before our eyes. Needless to say, The Explorers were enthralled with each and every critter.
Insider tip: The display cases within the Reptiles, Amphibians & Arthropods exhibit are too high for little legs to reach. Be prepared to do a fair amount of lifting here.
Before heading out, we took one more stroll around the outer enclosures. Turned out to be a good idea, because many of the animals were ready for us. We caught the bald eagle flying from one end of the enclosure to the other and talked with a macaw.
- Wildlife Learning Center provides up-close views of exotic animals like foxes, prairie dogs, lynxes & bobcats, porcupines & a bald eagle
- Wildlife Learning Center is open noon to 5 p.m. on weekdays, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends
- The Center is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas Day & New Year’s Day
- Admission to the Wildlife Learning Center is $6 for adults, $5 for kids 3 through 12; FREE for kids 2 and younger
- Trainer talks are held every hour on the hour starting at 1 p.m. on weekdays, noon on weekends
- The Wildlife Learning Center provides homeschool tours, behind-the-scenes family tours – even summer & winter camps
- Restroom located just inside the entrance
- No food or drinks are sold inside the Center, but picnic tables are available if you bring in your own
- Street parking only
- Small gift shop located in the main office
- No crowds to contend with; facility can be explored in under an hours’ time
- Small, flat, stroller-friendly setting is perfect for little legs
- Smaller kids (including my 7-year-old!) will need a boost to see the animals on display in the Reptiles, Amphibians & Arthropods exhibits
Wildlife Learning Center is located at:
16027 Yarnell St.
Sylmar, CA 91342