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Los Angeles Zoo & Botanical Gardens

The Los Angeles Zoo & Botanical Gardens is located in Los Angeles, California.

The zoo is operated by the The City of Los Angeles.

Approximately 1.8 million visitors attend the zoo each year.


World of Birds Show

Housed in the Angela Collier World of Birds Theatre this show demonstrates the flying feats of many birds including macaws, condors, cranes, owls, eagles, hawks, hornbills or vultures. The show is synced to music and sound.

Tom Mankiewicz Conservation Carousel

The carousel features 64 carved wooden figures which were hand carved.

Muriel’s Ranch

At this ranch people can get up close and personal with goats and sheep. People are even able to groom the goats and sheep with the brushes which are provided.

Neil Papiano Play Park

This area has animal-themed climbing structures, a toddler area, misters and a picnic area. It is designed so any child can access it.

Safari Shuttle

The park has a tram which helps you to get around the zoo. Guests can hop on and off at six different stops.

*Check the zoo’s website for prices, terms and conditions and current operating conditions.*


Los Angeles,



Year Opened

1966 (At current site)

Land Size

53.8ha (133acres)

Number of Animals


Number of Species



The first city owned zoo for Los Angeles opened in 1885. At the time it was known as the Eastlake Zoo. In 1912 this became the Griffith Park Zoo home to 15 animals. The Selig Zoo, a combination movie studio zoo was opened by ‘Colonel’ William Selig in 1915. By 1956 the citizens of Los Angeles outgrew Griffith Park and the citizens approved $6.6million to help with building a new one.

During the August of 1966 the Griffith Park Zoo was closed. The animals began to move to the new Los Angeles Zoo. This opened on November 28, 1966. One animal at the zoo that day was the American alligator, Methuselah who lived until 2010.

In 1967 a pair of three month old polar bear cubs came to the zoo. One of them Bruno passed away in 1996 but Sweetheart set the longevity record for captive polar bears. Also in this year one of the zoo’s most successful breeding program began with the arrival of a pair of Arabian oryx.

In 1970 an African-born black rhino known as Twinkletoes gave birth to California’s first baby rhinoceros.

The zoo was accredited by the American Zoo and Aquarium Association (AZA) in 1972.

A gorilla was delivered by Caesarian section in 1977. This was the first time this had ever been recorded worldwide. The young gorilla named Caesar was a healthy 5 pounds, 2 ounces.

Los Angeles Zoo became a partner of the California Condor Recovery Program to help bring them back from the brink of extinction in 1981.

The next year the Ahmanson Koala House opened as a home for six koalas brought over from Melbourne Zoo. This project was given a significant achievement award by the AZA.

Another popular animal arrived in 1984 with 2 pandas taking up residence for the summer Olympics. The pandas Yun Yun and Ying Xin lived in the China Pavilion which was specially built for them.

Inspiration for the lion king actually came from the meerkat exhibit which opened in 1988. This was funded by Alice C. Tyler’s donation.

Throughout the 1990s the zoo created one of the largest volunteer enrichment programs in America. It was also in 1990 that The World of Birds Show debuted.

During the 1990s and 2000s a range of animals escaped their enclosures. One of the greatest escape artists was Evelyn a gorilla who escaped 5 times. In one of her most popular escapes she used overgrown vines to pull herself out of the enclosure. She then wandered the zoo for an hour while helicopters filmed the event from overhead.

1993 saw a refurbishment of the tiger exhibit including a new waterfall.

Chimpanzees of the Mahale Mountains opened in 1998.

A state of the art orangutan exhibit known as the Red Ape Rain Forest opened in 2000.

In 2001 the Winnick Family Children’s Zoo opened. It has a petting zoo, amphitheatre and an interactive learning centre.

2002 saw a name change to the Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens after the zoo was accredited by the American Association of Museums.

Debuting in 2005 was a new Entry Plaza, Children’s Discovery Centre and the Sea Lion Cliffs habitat.

During 2006 the zoo chose to rename the Animal Health and Conservation Centre to the Gottileb Animal Health and Conservation Centre in honour of zoo donors Suzanne and her ,late husband, Robert Gottileb.

The Campo Gorilla Reserve opened in 2007.

The 2.4ha (6 acre) Elephants of Asia complex was opened in 2010. This was the zoo’s largest ever habitat.

During 2012 the Lair (Living, Amphibians, Invertebrates and Reptiles) opened. This space is home to 60 species from the rainforests, mountains and deserts of the world. It also provides the base for the zoos reptile and amphibian conservation projects.

2014 saw the opening of the Rainforest of the Americas. This project was the last portion of the zoos master plan. In 2015 it was expanded with a jaguar habitat being added.

Main Exhibit

Rainforest of the Americas

The rainforest of the Americas is home to a range of species from America’s tropical rainforests. It immerses visitors in the theme that “everything has a home.” It is home to harpy eagles, piranhas, tamarins, toucans, giant otters, tapirs, jaguars, tarantulas and crocodiles.

Elephants of Asia

This space provides a 2.4ha (6 acre) home for Asian elephants. This space aims to introduce visitors to the challenges which elephants face in the wild.


The LAIR is a habitat for 60 species of amphibian, invertebrate and reptile. They live in themed habitats for the different areas they come from. This is also where the zoo conducts their reptile and amphibian conservation initiatives from.

Campo Gorilla Reserve

This reserve features two habitats. One houses a family group of lowland gorillas while the other houses a bachelor group.

Red Ape Rainforest

This enclosure recreates a Southeast Asian Jungle home to Bornean orangutans. This space is shaped like a donut with a opening for the guests to get through.

Sea Life Cliffs

This exhibit features 2 saltwater pools which provide a home for a group of harbor seals and Californian sea lions.


The Australia exhibit features a group of koalas, one of the few places in the US where these marsupials can be seen. They share their space with wallabies, kangaroos and echidnas.


Los Angeles Zoo Website –

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