We’re animal lovers in our home. We have nearly two dozen chickens, two cats, two dogs, a goldfish and would have more if we had the room for them (more dogs, horse, pigmy goats, goats). It makes sense, then, that we love the zoo. The LA Zoo is only about a 10-15 minute drive from us so it’s a great spot to frequent when we want to get out of the house for some fresh air and a bit of exercise.
But, I’ve got to be honest. I do love to visit the animals but I’m not the biggest fan of the LA Zoo. The grounds are big and the main exhibits have a pretty big distance between them. You’ve got to be prepared for a lot of walking and some steep hills to make your way around. We don’t have a problem with a bit of exercise, but it can get a little problematic when you’re with a two year old who refuses to sit in a stroller. She has no problem with Mommy (more than Daddy) carrying her, though. She demands it, actually. Also, it’s disappointing to walk as much as you do there only to get to empty exhibits. It’s noticeable how so many of them are closed. And you’d think that with such a great size that is the LA Zoo, the animals would be chilling in giant enclosures. Not the case. If it were, I’d have no complaint at all. With the exception of the elephants, they’re pretty small (especially the lion’s). Lastly, I wish the zoo did more to attract and entertain the kids. I came to this conclusion after our recent trip to the Santa Barbara Zoo. They have the coolest playground, feeding zones for some of the animals, a pond with roaming ducks, a stage with some performers, little toy animals on wheels that they can ride around on and more visuals and pictures of animals so they can identify what they’re seeing and can navigate through the zoo better. The LA Zoo needs to step it up!
With all that being said, it sounds like I’m against the LA Zoo. Not at all. They have a good amount of animals to view and it’s the only zoo we’ve got so we go and make the best of it. This is where the season passes for the family comes in handy. For us, it was a good choice. Not all zoo visits are created equal. One day, you can have a fussy and uncooperative toddler which may cut your trip short. One day, your favorite animal exhibits may be temporarily closed for cleaning purposes. Another day, your favorite animals may be sleeping or hiding in an unseen spot. Other days, the zoo is packed and getting a decent peek through the crowds at the chimps who are chilling by the glass wall is nearly impossible. Some days, the weather is scorching hot (hello southern California) making the trip pretty miserable and shorter than usual to escape to an air conditioned car or building. If I were paying for each of these visits, I’ be disappointed big time and dishing out way too much money. Having our passes allows us to spend as much or as little time there. We have the luxury to visit just a few animals one day, a few more on another and the rest later on. We don’t feel rushed to get through the whole park so we get our money’s worth. And I love having the freedom to spontaneously plan numerous little getaways to visit all of Mia’s friends. We got a great deal on our passes (we were mailed a special price/discount) and parking is free. It was good money spent to see Mia’s face light up on each visit and to watch her learn more about the animals and gain new favorites (currently, they are the gorillas “go-wih-wahs”, snakes “nakes” and the rhino).
The following photos come from our most successful LA Zoo trip to date.
We went on a cool, cloudy and wet Sunday with a chance of rain later on. THE BEST kind of day to go. The place was practically empty which gave us the best views of every exhibit. Mia also had more freedom to roam around, parent free. We felt safe letting her hang back or take off in front of us since there wasn’t a crowd to bump into or to block our view of her. So relaxing. Also, Mia didn’t fuss once and she hardly wanted to be picked up and carried. She stayed with the group and showed so much interest in all of the animals. What also made this day so great is that we had an up-close and personal view of the chimps and the orangutang! I could watch those guys (and the gorillas) for hours, they’re so fascinating. It’s days like this that make having passes so worth it.