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How to Get More Out of the L.A. Zoo: Question for Parents

A mom who has a membership to the zoo is tired of wandering around aimlessly.

To All You Parents Out There:

We live so close to a great resource—the Los Angeles Zoo—and so our family, which includes three kids under 12, got a membership two months ago. We all love roaming around, and so we've been going every two weeks or so. It's enough to get our money's worth and support the zoo.

But I can't help wondering if there's a way to have a more meaningful experience there. We wander past the animals in their environments and my kids enjoy hitting the playground. So my question to other moms and dads is what can we do to get our kids to engage with the animals and their stories a little more?

I know I can hire a zoo tour guide, but that would cost us a whole lot—and that’s not why we bought a membership to begin with. What do you other parents do to get your kids more interested in the zoo so that they can learn more about animals and connect with them.

Thanks! An ER MOM

Philipp Sander May 21, 2012 at 04:27 PM
My suggestion: Head down to the ER library and work your way through the guide book and nature shelves! How about reading up on perennial kids' favorites (e.g., lions, elephants and crocodile) and pick up some tid-bits of information to share with your kids next time the king of the pride is staring down your 12-year old? Also, many kids love to draw, so how about finding some animal coloring books for them to work through on a rainy day? Then, on your next zoo visit, they can show their favorite critter the drawing they made!
Allison May 21, 2012 at 08:19 PM
Great idea, Phillip. We miss you at Eagle Rock Patch. Another thought is to devote each trip to a particular region of animals. For example, designate the next weekend's trip as the visit to see the Asian elephants. Spend a few afternoons before your trip learning about the area, what makes them different from African elephants, how they care for their offspring, and what physical characteristics to look for. They could also try drawing them, as Phillip suggests. You know, that sounds like so much fun I might just get a zoo membership and plan these kinds of outings with my kid, too.
Jill Allison June 01, 2012 at 12:03 AM
Hi Alison and ER Mom, I'm the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association's (GLAZA) director of membership, and on behalf of GLAZA, I thank you for joining, which supports the Los Angeles Zoo. To address your question about opportunities to learn more, I wanted to make sure you know about all the members-only events to which your membership entitles you. For example members at all levels receive an invitation to our Member Appreciation Morning events, held multiple times a year, where the Zoo opens early to members before the general public have access to the Zoo. Also, there are members-only docent led tours, including bird walks and botany tours. All members receive an invitation to our annual holiday party in December, too. You can find out more several ways. If you provided your email address, you'll get notification of members events directly, so please contact our membership office to make sure we have that. Additionally, your membership entitles you to receive our ZooScape newsletter and award-winning ZooView Magazine, which come by mail. Also, the Zoo's website, LAZoo.org, contains lots of information on its calendar. And, members receive discounts on ZooCamp and classes, which is another great way to get children more involved in the Zoo. Please get in touch with me personally so I can give you any other information you need. Many thanks again for your support of the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association. Gillian http://www.lazoo.org/about/contact/index.html

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