Los Angeles Zoo & Botanical Gardens

Los Feliz & Griffith Park

Home to 1100 finned, feathered and furry friends from more than 250 species, the LA Zoo rarely fails to enthrall the little ones. Adults who have been to zoos in Hawaii, San Diego or Singapore, however, may find the place a little average. To save time, purchase tickets online. To save money, bring your own food and drinks as the offerings at the zoo are predictably overpriced.

The zoo began life at a nearby site in Griffith Park in 1912, originally as a refuge for retired circus animals. Remains from the old enclosures survive and make for a curious side trip if you're in the area.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Los Feliz & Griffith Park attractions

1. Autry Museum of the American West

0.26 MILES

Established by singing cowboy Gene Autry, this expansive, underrated museum offers contemporary perspectives on the history and people of the American…

2. Los Angeles Live Steamers


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3. Old Los Angeles Zoo

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What look like Aztec ruins in a picnic-friendly park are actually the abandoned remnants of the city's original zoo. The site opened in 1912 with a modest…

4. Griffith Park Merry-Go-Round

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This richly festooned 1926 merry-go-round was brought to its current home in 1937, where Walt Disney would bring his young daughters and find inspiration…

5. Griffith Park

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A gift to the city in 1896 by mining mogul Griffith J Griffith, and five times the size of New York’s Central Park, Griffith Park is one of the country’s…

6. Travel Town

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This delightful rail yard displays dozens of vintage railcars and locomotives, the oldest from 1864. Kids are all smiles imagining themselves as engineers…

7. Museum of Neon Art

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Neon signage is a defining element of LA's cityscape, and the collection at this museum in the heart of Glendale's commercial district includes signage…

8. Griffith Observatory

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With eyes on both the galaxy above and palm-flanked boulevards below, the Griffith Observatory hovers above LA like a hulking spacecraft. This is one of…