Los Angeles Zoo

Visitor's Guide to the Los Angeles Zoo

Los Angeles Zoo
Los Angeles Zoo. Jodi Marr/Flickr/CC BY-NC 2.0

The Los Angeles Zoo is home to more than 1,100 mammals, birds, amphibians, and reptiles representing more than 250 different species of which 29 are endangered.

What Is There to Do at the Los Angeles Zoo?

The zoo is organized into zones that include a state-of-the-art rainforest exhibit and the largest flock of flamingos in any zoo in the world. You can see Komodo dragons, wart pigs, and orangutans — or walk through a gorilla's forest.

Besides those obvious things to do, the zoo has quite a few nighttime and after-hours activities. The best-known one is the LA Zoo Lights, which have been rated among the best Zoo Lights in the U.S. Also for the holiday season, you can see real reindeer at the Reindeer Romp.

They also host a Halloween event and summer evening activities which include concerts and adults-only beer fests.

Reasons to Visit the Los Angeles Zoo

Admission fees are lower than many area animal attractions and zoos. The new areas are well done, and more are on the way.

But in fact, the zoo's special events may be a better reason to go than the usual exhibits. Check their calendar for details and more special events to attend.

We applaud the Los Angeles Zoo for their conservation activities, especially their work to save the California Condor and return it to the wild.

Reasons to Skip the Los Angeles Zoo

The Los Angeles Zoo has a higher percentage of old-fashioned enclosures than other more modern zoos and some may find that uncomfortable.

Online visitors give the zoo moderately good ratings, but their most frequent complaints are about feeling sad to see animals in captivity, or that they couldn't see the animals because they were "hiding." You can read more Yelp reviews here.

Tips for Visiting the Los Angeles Zoo

  • The Los Angeles Zoo sprawls over 113 acres of hills, making a random walk exhausting, especially if you want to see all the animals. Grab a zoo map and use it to prevent backtracking.
  • Check the schedule for shows and animal feeding times when you arrive to be sure you don't miss something.
  • If you're not up to all the walking, you can catch the zoo shuttle just a short distance from the entrance — for a small extra fee you can ride it all day.
  • Most of the Los Angeles Zoo is shady, but it can get hot in summer.
  • If you plan to go more than once in the same year, pay your admission fee the first time, then upgrade to a Los Angeles Zoo family membership inside and you'll save money.
  • If the kids need to work off some excess energy, head for the Play Park, where you'll find a nice playground area.
  • Look on the back of your Los Angeles Zoo map for information about the mobile phone audio tour. It's a great idea, but poor reception hampered my use of it. You can save minutes and frustration if you download it from the zoo website before you leave home.
  • If you're also visiting the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, check out the aquarium's combo ticketFind out more about the aquarium here.
  • If you plan to visit other LA area attractions, you may save money with the Go Los Angeles CardUse this handy guide to find out all you need to know about it.

What You Need to Know About the Los Angeles Zoo

The zoo charges an admission fee.

Allow a few hours minimum to see it. There's plenty of parking in the lot in front of the entrance. Weekdays are less crowded, especially during the school year but avoid mornings when school groups may be visiting.

Los Angeles Zoo
5333 Zoo Drive
Los Angeles, CA
Los Angeles Zoo website

The Los Angeles Zoo is located across from the Autry Museum of Western Heritage. Exits from nearby freeways and city streets are well marked.