The Los Angeles Zoo’s annual WILD FOR THE PLANET celebration kicks off on Earth Day, Saturday, April 22, 10 am to 4 pm, and runs through Endangered Species Day on Friday, May 19, 2017, and features activities, fun and information that spotlight the importance of protecting the environment and its creatures. This year’s event promises to be more festive than ever, as the Zoo marks its 50th Anniversary with “ZooLAbrate!,” an all-new, spectacular acrobatic show presented on weekends.
At Wild for the Planet, adults and youngsters can enjoy a day at the Zoo, home to a diverse collection of 1,100 animals representing 250 different species, many of which are rare or endangered, with special opportunities, entertainment, information and tips about everyday ways to sustain and preserve. All activities — including weekend entertainment and presentations on April 22 and 23, April 29 and 30, May 6 and 7 and May 13 and 14 — are free with paid Zoo admission. The full Wild for the Planet schedule is available at www.lazoo.org/wildfortheplanet
Wild for the Planet’s opening weekend launches with a variety of activities, among them an Earth Day education station as well as fun and games from Disneynature’s “BORN IN CHINA” to connect visitors with animals in the Zoo’s care that are native to China such as snow leopards, which are featured prominently in the film. A Disneynature team will be on hand to share information and giveaways related to the film.
Every weekend during Wild for the Planet features “ZooLAbrate!” performances (11 am, 1:30 pm and 3 pm), special animal feedings and keeper talks at 1 and 2 pm and Conservation Stations throughout the grounds spotlighting efforts to protect and restore species in the Zoo’s care. Children and families can also learn how to make a positive impact on the environment during an interactive puppet show presented by Swazzle (10:30 am, 12 pm and 2:30 pm) starring a brave — and clever — environmental superhero Ricky Raccoon. Ricky’s quest to save a California condor with the help of the Green Rangers – a.k.a the audience — is inspired by the L.A. Zoo’s own efforts to bring condors back from near extinction. Also offered is a Planting for Pollinators Station highlighting the importance of pollinators and providing the opportunity to plant California poppies and yarrow, plants native to California, to attract pollinators. At the Planet Promise Station, visitors can learn what actions Zoo staff take to minimize their environmental footprint and declare a promise of their own. The “Rascal the Raccoon” character makes special appearances each weekend.
An Earth Expo, with vendors on the weekends of April 22 and 23 and May 13 and 14, and mobile stations April 29 and 30 and May 6 and 7, emphasizes local conservation efforts for the planet and animals with booths from organizations such as Bee Catchers Inc., Bolsa Chica Conservancy, LA Stormwater Public Education Program, Earthwatch, Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific, Channel Islands National Park Service, Heal the Bay, Theodore Payne Foundation, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Farm Fresh to You, Los Angeles County Fire Department-Forestry Department, River Rover, and Ranger Troca.
Every day of the week, visitors receive a #SavingSpecies Guide with details on the Zoo’s efforts to protect endangered and threatened species here at home and all over the world. Also daily, guests can participate in the L.A. Zoo’s electronic device recycling program by donating an unwanted cell phone, smartphone, iPod, iPad, tablet or MP3 player at the green ECO-CELL bin the Zoo’s Entry Plaza. Each contribution directly benefits animal conservation programs and reduces the demand for mineral mining that threatens the natural habitats of endangered animals such as the western lowland gorilla.
Programming is subject to change.
The Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens marks its 50th anniversary with a yearlong “ZooLAbration” of its November 28, 1966, opening that spotlights not only its key role as a world-class destination and an important community asset but also its critical successes in conservation, quality of life and premier care for animals. Having recently completed a $172 million master plan which significantly improved the Zoo facility, the 50th anniversary coincides with the early planning stages of a new Master Plan for the future. The landmark Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens, drawing nearly 1.8 million visitors each year, is home to a diverse collection of 1,100 animals representing 250 different species, many of which are rare or endangered, as well as a botanical collection comprising over 800 different plant species with approximately 7,000 individual plants. Accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), whose members meet rigorous professional standards for animal welfare, the Zoo has achieved renown as an international leader in the preservation of endangered species and a conservation center for the care and study of wildlife. Its responsibility toward wildlife conservation not only encompasses safeguarding the animals in its care but also actively participating in the preservation of some of the world’s most critically endangered species and their habitats. Its many conservation successes include having led the charge in saving California condors from extinction and restoring populations of these critically endangered animals to their native habitats. The Zoo’s lush grounds on 113 acres feature Rainforest of the Americas, an extraordinary collection of endangered and exotic mammals, reptiles, fish and amphibians living in spaces that exemplify their natural habitat in the rainforest biosphere; Chimpanzees of Mahale Mountains, home to one of the largest troops of chimpanzees in the United States; Red Ape Rain Forest, where visitors can walk among orangutans; the LAIR (Living Amphibians, Invertebrates, and Reptiles); Elephants of Asia; Campo Gorilla Reserve; and one of the largest flocks of flamingos in any zoo in the world. Among other highlights are an extraordinary, hands-on Hippo Encounter and face-to-face Giraffe Feedings; the Winnick Family Children’s Zoo and Muriel’s Ranch animal contact area; the Tom Mankiewicz Conservation Carousel; a variety of daily opportunities to learn more about animals, including close-up visits, special feedings and intriguing talks; and much more. The private, non-profit Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association (GLAZA), which has supported the Zoo in partnership with the City of Los Angeles for more than five decades and provides funding for and operates seven essential Zoo departments, has 60,000 member households representing more than 240,000 adults and children. As evidence of the Zoo’s popularity, GLAZA attracts one of the largest membership bases of any cultural organization in Los Angeles.
The Los Angeles Zoo is located in Griffith Park at the junction of the Ventura (134) and Golden State (5) freeways. 5333 Zoo Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90027. Free parking is available. For additional information, contact (323) 644-4200 or visit www.lazoo.org/wildfortheplanet
Credit: The Los Angeles Zoo. Photo Credit: Jamie Pham.