Zoo Reviews little Rock Zoo little Rock Ar

There is a magical intimacy to the Little Rock Zoo that attracts children of all ages. Situated on over 33 acres near downtown Little Rock, this facility offers guests a leisurely stroll down kid-friendly walkways that lead to exhibits showcasing more than 725 animals.

The Little Rock Zoo began in 1926 with two animals… a circus-trained bear and an abandoned timber wolf. Today, visitors can enjoy alligators, crocodiles, great apes, grizzly bears, river otters, birds of all kinds, big cats, giraffes, elephants, rhinos and hippos, zebras, warthogs, giant anteaters and much more. The Little Rock Zoo is home to one of few ape exhibits in the world that feature all three species of great apes: orangutans, chimpanzees, and gorillas.

The grounds are beautifully landscaped, and they are dotted with buildings made of native Arkansas stone as part of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) program of 1930s and 1940s. The Little Rock Zoo is ADA accessible for wheelchairs, stroller-friendly, and offers electric scooters and wagons for rental through the gift shop located at the Zoo’s front entrance. The Zoo is home to the Arkansas Carousel, one of only a few “Over-the-Jump” carousels in the entire world.

What makes a trip to the Little Rock Zoo so special? Here are a few “do not miss” attractions:

* Big Cat Habitat – built in the 1980s, this exhibit includes two female lions, tigers, and jaguars.

* Spider Monkey and Lemur Islands

* Giraffe exhibit – home to BJ and Mesi, the Zoo’s two male giraffes; two females named Patches and Noel, and others.

* Reptile House – if snakes are your thing, this exhibit is for you! Watch the video about a resident 20-foot reticulated python, one of the longest snakes in the world, at http://www.vimeo.com/847473.

* Children’s Farm – a chance to get up close to goats and other animals. This area is open during the spring and summer. Feed the goats for 25 cents per handful.

* Cafe Africa – once the home of the cathouse, this Arkansas stone building has been renovated into a unique restaurant that resembles an African-style lodge. Located in the center of the Little Rock Zoo, this eatery features hamburgers, hotdogs, fries, ice cream, soda and other foods. Box lunches may also be ordered ahead of time for large groups.

* Civitan Train – Zoo train rides are $2 per person, and the train operates daily except for Mondays or Tuesdays, November 1 – March 1.

* Civitan Amphitheater – when available, animal presentations are offered here.

* Fish Feeding – purchase a quarter’s worth of fish food and feed waterfowl and fish at the duck pond, Lemur Island, and the Siamang exhibit.

* Lorikeet Landing – here visitors can purchase a $2 cup of Lorikeet Nectar and feed the lorikeet birds. This exhibit is open during warmer months – closed in the winter and late fall when temperatures are too cold for these birds.

* Arkansas Carousel – this one-of-a-kind Over-the-Jumps antique carousel first appeared in 1924 at the Arkansas State Fair, held in what is now known as War Memorial Park. This is the only fully operational carousel of its kind in the world and has been fully restored and placed in the Zoo permanently by the Friends of the Carousel. Cost to ride the Over-the-Jumps is $2 per person. During winter months, the ride may be unavailable, due to repairs and maintenance.

* Safari Trader Gift Shop – a great place to get your ZOOvenirs!

The Little Rock Zoo is home to several special events throughout the year, including the Winged Wonders Bird Show, Breakfast with Great Apes, Breakfast with the Elephants, Breakfast with the Primates, Halloween ZooSNOOZE, and Boo at the Zoo. Held late each October, Boo at the Zoo features family-friendly fun in a safe, yet spooky environment. Carnival rides, a Fun House, and the BOO Express train are included, and guests are encouraged to come in costume.

The Little Rock Zoo is open year-round except for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s. Hours of operation are 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Admission April 1 – Labor Day is $10 for adults; $8 for children 12 and under; and $8 for seniors 65 and older. Children under age one are admitted free. Parking is assessed at $2 per vehicle upon entrance to the zoo. Adult Electric Scooters rent for $25 each per day; wagons and double strollers are $10 each, and single strollers are $7 each. A $5 deposit is required on all stroller and wagon rentals, and all vehicles are required to be returned by 4:30 p.m. to ensure a deposit refund.

The Little Rock Zoo offers memberships that include unlimited admission for a year, plus invitations to VIP-Members-Only events at the Zoo, the latest info on what’s new at the Zoo, 2 carousel ride tickets, 2 train ride tickets, 15% off at Cafe Africa, 15% off at the Safari Trader Gift Shop, and more. Visit www.littlerockzoo.com/membershipfor details and a complete list of benefits. Annual memberships range from $60 for one adult to $95 for a “Family Plus” (2 adults and their children or grandchildren).

The Little Rock Zoo is a great place to spend the day at one of Arkansas’ greatest and oldest treasures. The Zoo offers children of all ages a chance to get an up-close-and-personal look at animals from throughout the world… and to make some new friends in the bargain. For more information about the Little Rock Zoo, go to www.littlerockzoo.com