This past Saturday I had the amazing opportunity of visiting the Los Angeles Zoo for the first time. It was so cool seeing all the amazing animals and comparing them to the animals in the San Diego Zoo, a place I’ve been too many times since I was little. Although the San Diego zoo had almost triple the amount of animals and exhibits, the LA Zoo was much bigger, very pretty, and was surrounded by lots of history.
The LA Zoo has almost anything from lions, tigers and bears, to chimpanzees, elephants and jaguars. Owned by the city of los Angeles, it opened in 1966. Ever since, it’s been one of the bigger attractions in the Los Angeles area. Until the early 1990’s the Zoo began to show signs that it’s infrastructure was deteriorating. By 1995, after instances of broken water pipes leaving half the park without water, as well as other disgraceful conditions, the zoo lost its accreditation until a new director took charge and turned things around. With a wide array of new exhibits opening since 1998, with popular exhibits like the Gorilla reserves, the LAIR, and Red Ape Rainforest, the Zoo got back on its feet. I found it interesting that the Los Angeles Zoo is actually called the Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens because in 2002, it became a certified botanical garden hosting 15 different collections and 800 different plant species, having a total of over 7,400 individual plants.
This zoo opened the same year that the first zoo called the Griffith Park zoo closed and relocated to where the LA zoo is now. When the park opened in 1912, it originally had 15 animals, all of which were donated by a famous film producer that donated his own animals from the studios. Yet, as Los Angeles grew, the zoo was criticized as inadequate with a poorly designed layout and under-financed cages. Eventually the city passed a bond to build the new zoo, and eventually the old zoo closed in august of 1966. Today, just a few miles from where the current LA zoo stands, you can explore the old rusty caged and exhibits where the old zoo one stood. This is great example of seeing how Los Angeles has advanced so much, where you can see a comparison of the before and after.