The LA Zoo is an iconic destination in Los Angeles, many locals carry memberships for year-round adventures. Kids love animals, and the Zoo is a great reason to get yourself an affordable rental car and spend the day with the family. Much like all the other fantastic tourist destinations in southern California, there are some great tips you can find from people who’ve been that will make your visit even better. These handy tips and tricks will help make your day at the zoo one to remember.
Before you go
After picking up the best affordable rental car you can find, there are a few steps to take before you even head to the zoo. Keep these in mind and your day will go smoother.
- You can save time by buying your tickets online and printing them at home.
- Remember to bring water, snacks, your camera, hand sanitizer and of course don’t forget your sunscreen.
- Bees are sometimes present at the zoo. Sweets like cotton candy and snow cones will attract them, so leave the sugary drinks at home.
- You can download an audio tour on your phone to bring with you.
- If you have children on the autism spectrum, they may be more comfortable visiting during the slower hours, like weekdays and afternoons.
- If you don’t want to carry your stroller, the zoo has strollers available for rent.
Where to Eat
There are great places to eat whether you’ve chosen to pack your affordable rental car with a picnic, or you want to buy food at the zoo. One of the best places for your picnic is on the shaded steps in front of the chimpanzee exhibit. Here, you can enjoy your meal while you watch a show from the chimpanzees. Depending on their mood you get to see the chimpanzees play or fight.
The Play Park has picnic tables and restrooms, making it a great area to eat, however this spot is busiest between noon and 1:00 PM. This spot offers a view of the garden where volunteers grow plants that are special treats for the animals. Even here you can learn things, like gorillas love to eat roses.
As a bonus tip, if you really love gardens, the cycad garden has some of the world’s most ancient plant species. These are plants are so valuable, GPS chips are used to keep them from getting stolen. Here you can see the same plants dinosaurs ate.
If you’re planning to eat the food available at the zoo there are spots throughout the entire park. You can find sandwiches, french fries, tacos, ice cream, churros, and much more. Wander down to the Mahale Café for a slice of pizza or a hot dog while you watch the giraffes enjoy their leaves. If you’re vegetarian, there are lots of choices at Reggie’s Bistro, which is in the front of the zoo.
When to Go
If you can make it work, the best time to get an affordable rental car and head to the zoo is during the week. Most families are at school or work so the park, and possibly more importantly, the parking lot, is almost empty. Once you’ve chosen the day to go, you really want to get to the zoo early. You’ll see more activity out of the animals in the morning. Another good time to go to the zoo is on days that are chilly or overcast. Most people don’t think of the zoo when it’s a little cold or overcast outside so you’ll have the place to yourself.
What You Should See, and When You Should See it
Once you get into the zoo, you’ll want to say hi to Reggie the alligator. After that, head straight for the LAIR, which stands for Living Amphibians, Invertebrates, and Reptiles. At the LAIR, you’ll see Scorpions, snakes, tarantulas, and all kinds of other creepers. If you get there in the morning, you might even see the herpetologists while they’re feeding the more venomous animals. If you think “gross”, your kids probably think “Awesome!”.
Once you’ve seen the LAIR, you’ll want to visit the Wasserman Family Thai Pavilion, which is at the Elephants of Asia habitat. Here you can see the pachyderms Tina and Jewel while they’re getting checkups. These huge, 7,000 pound elephants get checked from head to tail every day at 11:00 AM. You might even catch bath time.
You’ll also want to see Randa, an Indian Rhino. The Rhino Encounter takes you behind the scenes. For $10 per ticket during the weekend, anyone 4 and up can go on the noon encounter. You’ll want to book before you go though, because it’s limited to 25 people per day.
Lastly, you’ll want to stop and visit the gorillas. The gorilla is the most iconic animal at the LA zoo. This exhibit offers shady seats that make a great spot to relax or digest your lunch.
The zoo is great fun for people of all ages, so once you’ve got your affordable rental car it’s a great place to take the family for a fun filled day.