Things to do and see in SoCal {The Los Angeles Zoo}

The Los Angeles Zoo is one of my all time favorite places to visit in Southern California. As expansive as it is, it doesn't feel like it's so big that you won't be able to visit every habitat in one visit. But it's also large enough where you can visit weekly and still have so much to experience. Part of the reason there is always something to see is because it is an interactive zoo. If you follow the LA Zoo's Facebook page, you will be up to date on all the fun stuff going on. With every season there are cool events, like The Big Bunny Spring Fling, Boo at the Zoo, and special character appearance days.   
Right now, the LA Zoo is celebrating the end of Summer with It's Cool at the Zoo, a "series of engaging and fun programs taking place every weekend in September." 

I recently visited the LA Zoo on a 100+ degree day! And I have to say, although my girls and I were hot, it was expected, and we went prepared. We brought our water bottles, sprayed ourselves with sunblock, put our hair up, and dressed as cool as possible. Considering you are walking around in the heat, there are a lot of areas to find relief from the sun, actually, almost every exhibit has shade to hang out in. 
There are so many amazing animals and exhibits, I really had to narrow my post down to some of my favorites! Keep reading to find out who made the cut. :) 
Reggie the Alligator. The girls love Reggie, and I love that he is one of the first animals to welcome us when we visit. 
If you frequent the LA Zoo as often as possible (which I totally recommend) you become very familiar with the animals that welcome you to what's sure to be a fun day. For us, after Reggie the Alligator, we visit the Meerkats which I think are adorable and the girls love. I think they are a favorite because they are always pretty active and right out in the open to see. 
The Flamingos are also a great start to your visit. They are such a colorful bunch! 
The Elephants of Asia opened in late December 2010 and is such a massive exhibit full of color and information. 
Here is some info about the Elephants of Asia exhibit from the LA Zoo website:
Elephants have long played an important role in the cultural, artistic, and religious heritage of many Asian cultures.  For centuries, they have been revered in Thailand, India, China, and Cambodia.  Elephants of Asia is designed to increase appreciation, amazement, and wonder for these great animals and to familiarize guests with the challenges Asian elephants face in the wild, including their shrinking natural habitat. 
Oh and when you visit keep in mind that every day at 11 a.m. the zoo keepers put on a training demonstration located at the Wasserman Family Thai Pavilion. My girls loved watching the interactions between the Elephants and the trainers so up close. 
Who doesn't love a carousel? This one is beautiful. The animals are so detailed and ornate. Definitely make sure you stop by the carousel. The $3 per ride admission helps fund all the fun programs that the zoo provides. 
The Giraffes! I don't know if it's accurate or not, but this looks like a Mommy, Daddy and baby giraffe to me. Could this be any cuter? I don't think so!
The Tortoise habitat is great because you can really feel like you are up close to them. 
The Maned Wolf did not seem playful but predatory, which was pretty awesome to witness. Also, their legs are really really long! I love discovering new animals during every visit to the zoo.  
These guys! The Gorillas are a family favorite in my home, probably because my husband taught my daughters to walk around pounding their chests like gorillas. The last two times we've visited the LA Zoo, these big guys have charged at us. I have never been so thankful for that glass enclosure that separates us from them. Their size and mannerisms are just so impressive though and we can watch them all day.  
The LAIR exhibit is really cool! First of all it is a relief from the heat on a 100+ degree day. Secondly, there are so many amazing creatures to see in there. From turtles to snakes, lizards and spiders, this exhibit is pretty extensive. It's also still new, so if you haven't been to the zoo in a few years, you probably have yet to see it. 
OOH! The Koala's are so cute and cuddly and I just want to climb that tree and hug them. I remember when I was a kid, the koala's were in a dark habitat because they are nocturnal, so even though they are mostly asleep when you visit them now, it's still fun to try and find them in the trees. 
The Zebras are just classic. You always know when the Zebra exhibit is near because you can smell them from a few hundred feet away. But, hey their animals! 
I love the Orangutan's! They've been my personal favorite since I was a young girl. From the time I did a report on them in 5th grade, I've loved them. This guy was just hanging out in the shade that day, but he kept looking over and making eye contact. 
The California Condor Rescue Zone is a definite must see. It is a kid friendly educational play area, where kids can learn about Condors and how to help keep them safe. I hate that the pictures got lost somewhere between my phone and my computer, but there is this really awesome area where my girls dressed up as veterinarians to help save a Condor who accidentally ate bottle caps. It was a lot of fun and my girls could not stop talking about it!  The CCRZ is open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m.- 4:30 p.m.

So here is the low down on the ticket prices. 

General Admission Prices

Rates and fees are subject to change at anytime.
Adults (ages 13 - up): $18
Seniors (age 62 and up): $15
Children (ages 2 to 12): $13
Children (under 2): FREE
Parking: FREE (On select days throughout the year, the L.A. Zoo offers Preferred Parking for a $5 charge, payable on-site.)

One of their attractions I have yet to try is the Indian Rhino Encounter.  For an additional fee you have the opportunity to get up close to an Indian Rhino. It is only available on Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays at 1 p.m. So it is recommended that you buy your tickets in advance, the tickets are $10 for adults and children. I can't wait to check this out. 
Thanks for following along on my visit to the LA Zoo, I hope I inspired you to go visit! I have been going to this Zoo my entire life and it just keeps getting better. Remember to check them out on their Facebook page for updates of their awesome events.  
So, tell me. What is your favorite animal to visit at the zoo?