Have you ever met the Los Angeles Zoo’s Indian rhino up close and personal?  Do you wonder how it feels to touch an armadillo?  Or why flamingos aren’t born pink?  Or what a gorilla eats for breakfast?  Or exactly how zookeepers build bonds with animals?  Discover all that and more during a visit to the Los Angeles Zoo, which now offers a variety of daily opportunities to learn more about animals, including close-up encounters, special feedings and intriguing talks.  Also new this summer is FAMILY FUN FRIDAYS, a four pack (two adults and two children) for one low price of $54 ($12 savings), including a 10% discount on retail merchandise at any Zoo gift shop on the day of the visit; available only online and valid Fridays through September 25 (except July 3).

In addition to its popular Elephants Of Asia Training Demonstration and World of Birds Show, the Zoo now features a Marsupial Talk, Hawk Training Demonstration, and Education Specialists Talks at the Campo Gorilla Reserve, Winnick Family Children’s Zoo, Sea Life Cliffs, Chimpanzees Of The Mahale Mountains, Rainforest of the Americas and at the babirusa, peccary, giraffe and flamingo exhibits, all free with paid Zoo admission.  Guests can also experience a behind-the-scenes direct contact opportunity with Randa, the Zoo’s beloved Indian rhinoceros, on weekends and holidays, for a separate fee.

“We find that people really want to have a connection with the animals,” says Jess Kohring, Los Angeles Zoo’s informal programs coordinator, “and these activities are designed to enhance the visitor’s appreciation for the animals.  With the variety of experiences at the Zoo, there will almost always be something exceptional to see.”

GOOD MORNING FLAMINGOS, 10:30 am daily except Wednesdays, offers an opportunity to observe the Zoo’s flamingos, one of the largest flocks in any zoo in the world, greet the day while a Zoo staff expert shares fascinating facts about these boisterous birds.

Come on a Monday, Wednesday or Friday at 10:30 am, for GOOD MORNING GORILLAS at the Campo Gorilla Reserve where a Zoo staff expert helps guests get to know the gorillas, learn about their behavior and find out how gorillas, just like humans, go through a morning routine.

A special SEAL TALK at Sea Life Cliffs, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 11 am, provides a chance to say hello to the Zoo’s seals and learn firsthand about the care they receive from their devoted keepers.

For a wild time, come eye to eye with some of the Zoo’s smaller residents at ANIMALS & YOU in the Winnick Family Children’s Zoo and learn all about them from specially trained members of the Zoo’s intrepid volunteer corps.  These close-up creature encounters are offered weekdays at 10:45 am and 11:45 am and weekends at 10:45 am, 11:45 am, and 12:45 pm

An exceptional ELEPHANT TRAINING DEMONSTRATION at Elephants of Asia’s Wasserman Family Thai Pavilion offered daily except Thursdays at 11 am features a training session with the Zoos beloved Asian elephants and a chance to learn how zookeepers use positive reinforcement to build bonds with them to keep them healthy and safe.

The free-flight WORLD OF BIRDS SHOW at the recently remodeled Angela Collier World of Birds Theater, which has been delighting audiences for nearly 40 years, spotlights the natural behaviors and amazing abilities of its stars, and takes place Thursday, Saturdays and Sundays at 11:30 am.

Learn about the Zoo’s koalas and other pouched mammals from one of their keepers at a MARSUPIAL TALK next to the Koala Exhibit on Fridays and Sundays, 11:30 am.

With one of the largest chimpanzee troops in the nation, the Zoo’s CHIMP CHAT at Chimpanzees of the Mahale Mountains features a Zoo staff expert to chat about these great apes daily, 1:30 pm, as they go through their midday routine.

An awe-inspiring HAWK TRAINING DEMONSTRATION at Zoopendous Amphitheater on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, 2 pm, illustrates how the Zoo’s animal care staff works with these brilliant birds of prey, known for their excellent eyesight and fantastic flying skills.

Every day is a different adventure in the Zoo’s 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.  Meet up at the Stilt House with a keeper or Zoo staff expert daily, 2:30 pm, as they share insider knowledge about Rainforest residents ranging from harpy eagles and cotton-top tamarins to giant otters and piranhas.

L.A. Zoo keepers spotlight the animals in their care at KEEPER TALKS, held Sundays, 2 pm, at the Babirusa Exhibit, Mondays, 2 pm, at the Peccary Exhibit, and Fridays, 2 pm, at the Giraffe Exhibit.

Guests are invited to come meet Randa, the Zoo’s beloved Indian rhinoceros, up close and personal at the wildly popular INDIAN RHINO ENCOUNTER, which includes a behind-the-scenes direct contact opportunity for participants that may include touching Randa and feeding her.  Indian Rhino Encounter, on Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays, 12 noon, requires a separate fee and a minimum age of four years old to participate.  Advance online reservations are strongly suggested, as this unique opportunity is often sold out.

A complete schedule can be viewed at http://www.lazoo.org/timetable/

The landmark LOS ANGELES ZOO AND BOTANICAL GARDENS, drawing 1.6 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.  Its lush grounds on 113 acres feature the LAIR (Living Amphibians, Invertebrates, and Reptiles); Elephants of Asia; Campo Gorilla Reserve; 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; Tom Mankiewicz Conservation Carousel; an Indian Rhino Encounter direct-contact opportunity; 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 Winnick Family Children’s Zoo; one of the largest flocks of flamingos in any zoo in the world; a botanical collection comprising over 800 different plant species with approximately 7,000 individual plants; and much more.  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.  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 Zoo’s location in Griffith Park ideally positions it as a convenient destination enjoyed by locals and vacationers of all ages who can visit every day of the year except Christmas Day.

Programming subject to change.

Zoo admission is $19 for general admission (ages 13 to 61); $16 for seniors (ages 62+), and $14 for children (ages 2 to 12).  No ticket is required for children under 2.  Admission for Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association members is free.  FAMILY FUN FRIDAYS, a four pack (two adults and two children) for one low price of $54 ($12 savings), includes a 10% discount on retail merchandise at any Zoo gift shop on the day of the visit; available only online and valid Fridays through September 25 (except July 3).

The Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens 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

Credit: The Los Angeles Zoo. Photo Credit: Los Angeles Zoo gorillas:
PHOTO CREDIT: Tad Motoyama



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