I spent many years as both a teenager and adult volunteering for The Greater Los Angeles Zoo. The zoo is one of my favorite places in Los Angeles and I was quite surprised to realize that I had not visited in over four years, and I had never visited with my husband. Totally crazy. To remedy this, we woke up early on February 15th and had a belated Valentine's date at the zoo.
In the past, I always had a zoo membership or volunteer badge, and as such, breezed past the ticket lines. Not this time. We arrived at nine-thirty for the zoo opening at ten and took our spot in the ticket line, which was already several rows deep. We do have a membership at the Big Bear Alpine Zoo , which gave us a 50% discount towards our Los Angeles Zoo admission, making our tickets ten dollars each. Score.
The first stop was the flamingos. I spent many years collecting observational data for the Behavioral Research Department. Flamingos and bears were the two longest studies that I participated in. I love bears, but flamingos...not so much. They may look pretty, but they are the meanest birds in nature. Bullies. And as Dan (and every zoo visitor) pointed out, they smell. You don't get used to that smell.
Even though it was February, the weather was more like a day in the middle of August. It was scorching! We lasted less than three hours and a majority of the animals were napping in the shade. A zoo pet peeve of mine is when zoo visitors complain - "The animals aren't doing anything." They're napping and we would have been sleeping-in too, if we hadn't decided to visit on the same day as Satan.
It really, really was hot.
We didn't let copious amounts of sweat prevent us from taking pictures and a few videos.
Check out the Tasmanian Devils- super cute and one of the few active animals.
We caught the Koala's in the middle of their breakfast.
And the Komodo Dragon was checking us out.
Here are some pictures from around the zoo.
The zoo currently has many baby animals, but none cuter than the Hippo. Adorable, right?
Except perhaps for the baby River Otter. We happened to arrive at the River Otter exhibit in time for their feeding. This video is the best thing we saw all day. Be prepared to smile.
I love that the otter held up his fish to show us. Look what I got!
As expected, we had a fun day at the zoo, despite the heat and crowds. Some of the new exhibits, like the Rainforest of the Americas, where the River Otters are located, is fantastic. A wonderful addition to the zoo. However, I was disappointed to see the shabby state of the children's zoo (where did the bats go???) and several of the round-house exhibits. I realize that funding is a constant problem, but it's sad to see a zoo in a big city like Los Angeles, so run-down. It needs help.