I admit it. I’m not a big fan of zoos. I have nothing against animals; I just don’t enjoy walking around looking at them for hours at a time. So it came as a surprise to me that I actually enjoyed my afternoon at the Los Angeles Zoo. Maybe it was the fact that the zoo was well spread-out, or the variety of animals from around the world. More likely, though, it was the great photo opportunities afforded at this zoo. I spent about three and a half hours roaming around the zoo on a Saturday afternoon, and could easily have spent a couple more. Yes, I enjoyed it that much.
Compared to its more popular neighbor, the San Diego Zoo, the L.A. Zoo is a definitely underrated. Now, I’ve never been to San Diego, so I can’t really make a fair comparison. But I was definitely impressed by my visit. The zoo’s name is technically “The Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens”, which is appropriate considering the zoo is set on 133 acres filled with lush greenery and all manner of plants and flowers. The zoo is broken down into sections primarily by world region, and there is a great mix of large animals, small animals, birds, and reptiles.
By far, my two favorite animals at the L.A. Zoo were the koalas and the gorillas. Perhaps it was my visit to Australia many years ago which created such a fondness for the cute, cuddly koalas, but I could have spent hours just watching them sleep and move about their enclosure. And it was as though someone were bribing the gorillas to pose for their admirers! The chimpanzees were also active the afternoon I was there, chasing each other all over their enclosure to the delight of onlookers young and old.
The zoo is educational as well as entertaining. Displays giving the history and pedigree of all the animals are plentiful, and unlike many zoos, the animals are not all behind glass. Although the zoo was crowded the day I was there (a Saturday), there was still ample room to walk around and see the animals. The exhibits are so spread out and open that there is plenty of room to observe the animals without bobbing your head to see over and around other visitors. And if you’re hungry, stop for a churro (I opted for the Bavarian-cream filled variety!) at the Churro Factory. Even those non-zoo people like myself can easily spend a few hours enjoying an afternoon at the Los Angeles Zoo!