The Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens is our “home” zoo. It’s where we go most often to get our fix of wild animals such as giraffes, elephants and gorillas.
The 133-acre zoo is home to a diverse collection of more than 1,000 animals representing 250 different species, many of which are rare or endangered. Its grounds also feature a botanical collection of more than 800 different plant species.
And while the Zoo doesn’t wow me as much as say, the San Diego Zoo, it’s just the right size for pint-sized adventures. Combine that with the Zoo’s continued efforts to improve and revitalize exhibits, and you can see how this place has become a great spot for nature-based learning.
We’re fortunate enough to have a membership to the Los Angeles Zoo, so we usually go for just a few hours at a stretch. Winter and spring are good seasons to visit; the summer heat can make the place pretty unbearable.
Five Fun Things for Families to Do at the Zoo
- Touch some critters at Muriel’s Ranch. Located within the Winnick Family Children’s Zoo, this animal contact area has goats, sheep and more for little ones to touch.
- Play “I Spy” at the LAIR (Living Amphibians, Invertebrates and Reptiles) exhibit. Numerous floor-to-ceiling glass displays make it perfect for little ones to try to spot critters within their displays.
- Visit the Elephants of Asia. Try to catch a daily training demonstration.
- Ride the carousel. It features 64 unique hand-carved wooden animal figures.
- Stop by the play park. The Neil Papiano Play Park incorporates animal-themed climbing sculptures, large play structures, a toddler area, water misters, grassy landscaping and a large picnic area.
- Hours: The Los Angeles Zoo is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily (closed December 25); ticket sales end an hour before closing
- Cost: Admission to the Los Angeles Zoo is $20 for adults ages 13+, $15 for children ages 2 through 12, children under 2 are FREE
- Shows & Activities: The Zoo offers several extra activities beyond animal viewing, some for free (like animal keeper talks and the children’s zoo), others for a small fee (like the carousel and special exhibits)
- Parking: Free (and plentiful!); On busy, peak attendance days (most holiday weekends and special events), the Zoo offers a Preferred Parking Program (for a fee) with limited free parking still available
- Suggested length of visit: It depends on how easily the kids tire from the walking! Toddlers and younger walkers may tire after a couple of hours, but older kids could easily spend an entire day here
- Restrooms: Several located throughout the park
- Food: Several options are available to purchase food or you can bring your own
- Stroller-friendliness: Zoo terrain consists of stroller-friendly concrete roads; can be trickier to navigate when it’s crowded
- Los Angeles Zoo & Botanical Gardens map
The Los Angeles Zoo & Botanical Gardens is located at:
5333 Zoo Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90027
For more about our visits to the Los Angeles Zoo, check out:
- One Wild, Magical Moment at the Los Angeles Zoo
- Reindeer Romp at the L.A. Zoo
- The LAIR Exhibit at the Los Angeles Zoo
- Visiting the Elephants of Asia at the Los Angeles Zoo
Last updated: May 2016