Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month at the LA Zoo!

You know how much we love the LA Zoo right? Well the LA Zoo has a family friendly event celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month on the weekend of September 26th and 27th.

In honor of Latino Heritage Month, the L.A. Zoo is hosting a weekend-long celebration sponsored by ScholarShare, California’s 529 College Savings Plan, and featuring the Grammy-winning Mariachi Divas, Grandeza Mexicana folk ballet, Latin American-inspired crafts, animal spotlights, and pop-up education stations. 

And don't forget the special guests, the character meet-and-greets with Dora the Explorer, and more.

Meet Nickelodeon’s “Dora the Explorer” characters in between story readings from such books as Papagayo: The Mischief Maker, Jabuti: A Trickster Tale from the Amazon, and The Great Tree: A Tale of the Amazon Rain Forest.

ScholarShare also presents crafts for kids (on Saturday). The little ones can try their hands at Papel picado—cutting out animal figures in colorful craft paper—as well as paper marigold flowers and some of Dora the Explorer’s favorite activities. Be sure to get your Day of the Dead calacas face painting, too!

Go here for more details!

Winter in SoCal #LAZooSnowDays

WEATHER ALERT: Snow expected on January 24 and 25 at the LA Zoo in Griffith Park.

It’s all part of Snow Days, our annual celebration of wintery fun! For this one weekend, the bear, tiger, takin and markhor exhibits will be transformed by blankets of snow. Don’t miss this rare opportunity to view inquisitive creatures exploring an icy wonderland.
Guests will have their own chances to frolic in the snow, with a sledding hill* and snow play area. Other delights include live ice carving demonstrations and photo ops in a giant snow globe. My girls loved the sledding, the wait was about 20 minutes, but of course, it's worth it. 

Bring your mittens and join in the fun!
The Sichuan Takin looked like he enjoyed the snow. We missed most of the animals playing in the snow, so I would suggest going early because the Black bear and the Tiger were napping when we were there. 
I just love the giraffes, they're tall and beautiful and were particularly photo friendly. If you have a free day, spend it with the family at the LA Zoo. You can buy your tickets online or at the Zoo and make sure to follow the LA Zoo on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  

A New Holiday Tradition #LAZooLights

Disclosure: My family was provided media passes to preview #LAZooLights. All opinions and photos are 100% mine.
We are proud members of the L.A. Zoo and it is one of our favorite places to visit all year round. During the holiday season you can visit the L.A. Zoo and take the kiddos to see real live reindeer and Santa Claus on select days during Reindeer Romp. And this year the L.A. Zoo has an all-new holiday light experience that combines spectacular sets and lighting design with the enchanting environment of the L.A. Zoo. Stroll through areas of the Zoo that are transformed into a fantastical wonderland populated by glowing light animals. View real reindeer, visit with Santa (on select dates), and enjoy holiday treats and goodies, all under the stars. It’s a truly unique holiday experience that the whole family will cherish. 

 Our first stop was, as it always is, Reggie the Alligator. The lighting everywhere in the zoo from the entrance on is just breathtaking. 
So much of the L.A. Zoo is transformed like you've never seen it before. The artistry in the lighting and decorations provide such a unique experience. For the best guest experience, ticket times are staggered. When purchasing tickets, you’ll select a date and time – 6:00, 7:00, 8:00 or 9:00pm.
Admission Rates
Adults (ages 13+): $13*
Children (ages 2-12): $11*
Under 2: Free
GLAZA Member Discount: $1 off with promo code**
Group Rate (15-49 guests): $11/person*

Online-Only Early Bird Special

$8 Per Person*
For attendance Nov 28 – Dec 11
(Children under 2 free)

*Price does not include online convenience fee

**GLAZA Members receive their promo code for online purchases Dec 12-Jan 4 via email. If you are a Member and haven’t received yours, call 323-644-4747.

Admission for this all-ages evening program is separate from daytime general Zoo admission. No live animals other than reindeer will be on display during event times.
If you are looking for a fun night out for you and the family, L.A. Zoo Lights is the perfect time to get bundled up, walk around looking at the beautiful lighting, and have some warm holiday treats like hot chocolate and warm churros. 

Make sure to like the L.A. Zoo on Facebook and Follow on Twitter and Instagram to stay up to date on the happenings. 

Family Jam at the LA Zoo

I've said it many times before on this blog, living in Los Angeles, the LA Zoo is one of our favorite places to visit! There are celebrations year round at the LA Zoo, from Boo! at the Zoo, to Reindeer Romp, ZOOdiac Lunar New Year Celebrations, and the Spring Fling Bunny Hop, there is always some fun going on! 
We recently were invited to check out one of their fun Summer celebration, Family Jam at the L.A. Zoo sponsored by Rio 2 Blu-Ray/DVD. My girls were so excited when they found out that they were going to be at the Zoo at night!

You know you've got a fun night ahead of you when you are greeted at the gate by jugglers! How fun right?! 
 After receiving our scavenger hunt map and while entering the LA Zoo we were met with friendly animal encounters such as this beautiful parrot, a snake, and an armadillo. 
The scavenger hunt took place in the recently opened Rainforest of the Americas exhibit, since many of the animals in Rio 2 are from the Rainforest, the hunt was both fun and educational. Me and my girls visited the exhibit when it first opened, so they were really excited to show their daddy all of their favorite spots. 
At the very end of the scavenger hunt, there was more fun to be had with Radio Disney. My girls showed up just in time to play a round of hot potato and win some prizes. If you ask them, they'll tell you this was their favorite part of the evening. We now are in love with Radio Disney!
 Did I mention the food trucks yet? Mmm, the trucks were located all around to satisfy everyone's tastes! I saw a pupusa truck that I really wanted to try but ended up eating our first Tornado Potato! Yum!
Unfortunately, this was the best shot of the night. I wish I could capture all of the fun it was to see the animals in their habitat during the evening. The Koala's and Kangaroos were really active, you can hear their different night sounds from the animals and of course, my favorite was the gorillas. Their habitat was just so amazing as the sun set and all of the Gorillas were out and active and watching everyone watch them. 

Connect with the LA Zoo for the latest news, contests and events coming up like Roaring Nights and Brew at the Zoo! 

Rainforest of Americas Now Open at the LA Zoo!

My family loves the LA Zoo! We live about 10 minutes away from the LA Zoo and visit as often as possible. There is always so much fun stuff going on at any given time, and I was lucky enough to be invited to the media preview to get a peek at the new Rainforest of Americas exhibit. Keep reading for some my favorite parts and a video!
The Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti was on hand to help with the opening and cutting the official ribbon. 
The layout of the entire exhibit is so breathtaking! This bridge leads into a tree house where you can see the Harpy Eagle and a view from above of the Giant River Otter's habitat. 
I was very excited to see the Harpy Eagle. I remember him from a much watched episode of Go, Diego, Go! from when my daughters were younger. 
I loved this! The LA Zoo did an amazing job at bringing the Rainforest to Los Angeles. These trees look pretty magical to me and are really fun to walk through. There are exhibits throughout this hall of trees, including the Goliath Bird-Eating Spider!!! You heard me! This tarantula is one of the largest with a leg span of about ten inches and have venomous one-inch-long fangs. 
The Giant River Otter's habitat is so cool! These Otter's are so playful and really use each inch of their new home. They even have a water slide!
Oh and these guys! The Howler Monkeys are so fun to watch. Their incredibly loud howls can be heard up to 3 miles away! I love them! In fact, they are one of my favorites in the entire zoo! I love to listen for them and then follow their howls until I find them. 
You may have seen this guy around, he is the Cotton-Top Tamarin and he is very friendly and cute. There are tons of educational resources all around the area about conservation, landscape, animals and plant life throughout the Rainforests. So are you ready to take it all in? The next time you are looking for something fun to do in Southern California, head out to the LA Zoo to see the awesome new Rainforest of Americas exhibit. 
Check out this preview below, me and my girls are in the video. 

ZOOdiac- Lunar New Year celebrations at the LA Zoo!

I had a super fun girls day out on Saturday. My daughters, myself and my Mother all spent our Saturday morning at the LA Zoo. This is definitely one of our favorite places to visit and hang out. This weekend though was special because we were there for ZOOdiac. If you follow me on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter, then you know how much fun we had. ZOOdiac was the Los Angeles Zoo's celebration of the upcoming Lunar New Year, The Year of the Horse.  
My girls and I waiting for our lunch at Reggie's Bistro.
My kids LIVE for arts and crafts and thanks to the Pacific Asian Museum in Pasadena, CA we were greeted with a fun craft as soon as we arrived. My girls colored, cut and added hair to a horse, in honor of the Year of the Horse. They also had a story time, courtesy of the Los Angeles Public Library, and the Upside down "Fu" craft. 

The best part of ZOOdiac for us was definitely the scavenger hunt. It was fun for the girls to follow the map, find all of the animals that were being highlighted and get a stamp.  
We finished the scavenger hunt and returned to get our prize, a reusable bag from Miffy. We could always use those! As you can see in this picture, we had a great time, and went home with little souvenirs and keepsakes. My mom always insists on buying the pictures that the Zoo takes when you are first walking in. 

Check out the video I posted to Instagram of the Chinese Dragon dance. 

It was such a beautiful day in Los Angeles, and really almost any day of the year is perfect for the LA Zoo. In Southern California, we are pretty spoiled with fantastic weather. 
Every time we visit the zoo, I like to take pictures with something new or a different animal. This time, we got a picture of the Monitors, the Warty Pigs, and the Zebras. I wonder which animals we will learn about the next time we visit? Stay tuned!

Upcoming Lunar New Year Celebrations

I try to expose my children to as much culture that Southern California has to offer, and thankfully Los Angeles really is just a big ol' melting pot of cultures. There is always something interesting going on and with the Lunar New Year approaching I wanted to share some fun events happening around Los Angeles.

Zoodiac- Celebration for the Lunar New Year
First of all, one of our favorite places to visit, the L.A. Zoo has a super fun event "Zoodiac" the L.A. Zoo's celebration for Lunar New Year, happening on Saturday, Jan. 25 and Sunday Jan. 26 from 10 AM to 4PM. To celebrate the traditional Lunar New Year, the Los Angeles Zoo invites visitors to experience “ZOOdiac,” the zoo’s annual festival of the animals of the Chinese Zodiac, with food, music, dancing, and special animal enrichment activities.

Festivities will include a ZOOdiac scavenger hunt, food, music, dragon and lion dances, acrobats, Kung Fu
demonstrations, and crafts. Interesting facts about the animals featured in the ZOOdiac celebration will be shared at the animals’ exhibits. In honor of 2014 being the Year of the Horse, there will be keeper talks and enrichments will be presented for animals related to the horse, including the Zebra, Rhino, and Tapir. 

The twelve zoo animals being featured in the celebration include:
· Rat: Panay Cloud Rat
· Dragon: Komodo Dragon
· Tiger: Sumatran Tiger
· Rabbit: Domestic Rabbit
· Ox: Lowland Anoa
· Snake: Mangshan Pit Viper
· Horse: Zebra
· Goat: Chinese Goral
· Monkey: Francois' Langur
· Rooster: Common Peafowl
· Dog: African Wild Dog
· Pig: Visayan Warty Pig

And for your consideration, here is a schedule of events:
10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.– Crafts
11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. – ZOOdiac Scavenger Hunt and Food Stands
11:00 a.m.– Rhino Keeper Talk and enrichment
11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.– Traditional Chinese Music and Acrobat
12:30 – 12:45 p.m.– Dragon Dance
1:00 p.m.– Zebra Keeper Talk and enrichment
1:30 – 2:30 p.m.– Lion Dance and Traditional Chinese Dance
3:00 p.m.– Tapir Keeper Talk
3:00 – 3:30 p.m.– Kung Fu Demo

All activities are free to GLAZA members and included with paid Zoo admission, which is $18 for adults
(ages 13 and up); $15 for seniors (age 62 and up); $13 for children (ages 2 to 12); and free for children
under 2. Saturday, January 25 and Sunday, January 26, 10 am to 4 pm, Los Angeles Zoo.

Other Lunar New Year Celebrations and Festivals around Los Angeles
I love that the Lunar New Year is a month long celebration around Southern California. Here are some other local celebrations and festivals going on around town that we hope to check out. (Click the links for more info)

January 18- Lunar New Year Festival at the Pacific Asia Museum (Pasadena, CA)
February 1-2- Chinese New Year Celebration in China Town features the 115th Golden Dragon Parade (Saturday at 1 P.M Downtown.)
February 8- 23rd Annual Lunar New Year Celebration (Alhambra, CA)

You are Invited to BOO at the LA Zoo!

There are so many awesome things to do around SoCal during Halloween time.
One of our favorites is Boo at the Zoo! Boo at the Zoo returns for the 24th year and this year there will be TWO weekends to come out and celebrate! 
Saturday, Oct. 19 and Sunday Oct.20
Saturday, Oct. 26 and Sunday, Oct. 27

Visitors are invited to wear their wildest costumes and enjoy trick-or-treating throughout the Zoo. Additional activities include pumpkin carving demonstrations, arts and crafts, creepy-crawly animal encounters, chomp n’ stomp animal feedings, and interactive storytelling and music with Campfire Cathy.

WHAT: The Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens’ 24th Annual “Boo at the Zoo” ~ a family-friendly, spooktacular Halloween celebration. 
Here are some examples of some of the fun stuff you can look forward to.

Front Entrance Plaza:
Grab your free bags to fill at our treat stations for children age 12 and under; one bag per child.

Winnick Family Children's Zoo:
Meet Campfire Cathy and enjoy an interactive show of spooky tales.
Campfire Cathy's Show Times: 11:30am, 1:30pm and 3pm

Have a close encounter with the Creepy Creature Encounters.

Eucalyptus Grove:
Stop by and watch a pumpkin carving demonstration and meet a real live scarecrow! Don’t forget to bring your camera for a photo in the Pumpkin Patch.

Pumpkin Carving Show Times: 10:30 - 3pm

Treetops Terrace
Meet your favorite monsters, princess and story book characters at Treetops Terrace!

Chomp and Stomp
Watch your favorite Zoo animal stomp and chomp on pumpkin treats and learn spooky or sweet fun facts and information about our animals.

Trick-or-Treat stations at Selig Plaza, Winnick's Family Children's Zoo, Australia, Elephant Plaza, and Carousel Plaza.

Enjoy strolling entertainment and meet and greet some of your favorite monsters and even a princess or two.

WHEN: Saturday, Oct. 19 and Sunday, Oct. 20, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. AND
Saturday, Oct. 26 and Sunday, Oct. 27, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Members' preview: Saturday, Oct. 19 and Sunday, Oct. 27, 8:30 - 10 a.m.

WHERE: Los Angeles Zoo, 5333 Zoo Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90027
The Zoo is located in Griffith Park, near the junction of the Ventura (134) and Golden State (5) freeways.

COST: Zoo Admission is $18 for adults; $13 for children 2-12; $15 for seniors 62 and up. Admission is free for GLAZA members and children under two.

INFO: For more information, visit www.lazoo.org/Boo.

Boo at the L.A. Zoo is proudly sponsored by 99 Cents Only Stores.

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?