Audubon ZooAddress

6500 Magazine St

New Orleans, LA

(504) 861-2537

Number of animals

The Audubon zoo is home to 2,000 animals.

Attractions

Cool Zoo

Cool zoo is a splash park with jumping water spouts, an alligator water slide, water spitting snakes and much more. There is also a special splash park for younger children.

Audubon’s dinosaur adventure

This exhibit features anamitronic dinosaurs in settings that resemble their natural habitats from when they roamed the Earth.

Gottesman Family Endangered Species Carousel

The endangered species carousel has 60 animals on which kids can ride on.

Safari simulator ride

Visitors watch an adventure take place on a large screen and move around the same as the characters in the movie are. This experience is similar to the way NASA trains astronauts for space missions.

Swamp Train

This land train takes you for a ride behind the scenes of a range of exhibits with narration to help you better understand the different habitats.

Monkey Hill

Constructed in the 1930s legend says that monkey hill was designed to show Louisianas children what hills looked like. Now kids can play in a five story treehouse with rope bridges, wading pools and room to roll down the hill.

The Size of the zoo

Audubon Zoo sits on 58 acres (23 hectares) of land.

Website

http://www.auduboninstitute.org/zoo

History

During 1914 a commission was established to maintain Audubon Park the future location of Audubon Zoo. During 1916 this group added a flight cage to the park. As the community had this experience they began to call for a full-scale zoo.

The community leaders formed the New Orleans Zoological Society which began to take in private donations. These led to a monkey cage, mammal cage and deer paddock being assembled in the park. Louisiana schoolchildren went on to fund the purchase of an elephant in 1924. By 1929 hundred of animals called the park home including a new aquarium and sea lion pool.

Work on an official zoo almost ended in 1930s though due to the depression. Luckily though the Works Progress Administration helped construct buildings and in 1938 Valentine Merz contributed $50,000 allowing the Merx Memorial Zoo to finally open.

This zoo though was expensive to maintain but managed to hold up into the 1950s. The city began to pull funding after this though and public interest as well as donations waned. The zoo was billed as an ‘animal ghetto’ though there were a few glimmers of hope such as the 1956 birth of the first endangered whooping crane born in a zoo. That didn’t stop the U.S. Human Society from ordering that the zoo ‘clean up or close up’ in 1970.

It was through the dedication of community volunteers the zoo was able to continue. The Audubon commission spearheaded a referendum that lead to $2 million in bond funds being approved that would help restore the zoo. The volunteers went on to form the Friends of the Zoo with Ron Forman, the City Hall Liaison for Audubon Park joining the board in 1973 and creating the master plan. The Audubon Commission expanded the zoo to its current size and the African savannah, North American grasslands, South American Pampas, World of Primates and Children’s Zoo enclosures.

This restoration allowed the zoo gain accreditation from the American Zoo and Aquarium Association during 1981. The Louisiana Swamp debuted in 1984 impressing industry peers. This meteoric rise led the zoo to be ranked as one of the country’s best zoological parks.

In 1989 the Friends of the Zoo became the Audubon Nature Institute. They began to oversee new projects and the growth of the society to include an aquarium and IMAX theatre. The zoo was expanded with komodo dragons and the jaguar jungle habitat, they also added a new state-of-the-heart Animal Healthcare Centre along with a new entrance.

Main exhibits

African Savannah

Zebra’s, monkeys and giraffes looking for a feed can be seen at the African savannah habitat.

Asian Domain

Babirusa, sun bears and a white tiger can be found here. They live alongside some of the zoo’s most popular animals the elephants.

Audubon Aviary

30 species of bird will fly around your head as you enter their enclosure. There are rare birds such as the Blue-Crowned Laughinthrush’s and colourful ones such as the scarlet ibis and nicobar pigeon. This aviary also houses the incredibly active Taveta Golden Weaver who spends his time weaving a nest so they can find a mate.

Flamingo Exhibit

This is the first exhibit guests see when they enter. They can be seen raising their eggs or frolicking in the water.

Jaguar Jungle

A misty rainforest habitat is home to the jaguar. The space features recreated ruins, a dig site for finding hidden treasure and a glass window for up close viewing.

Louisiana Swamp

This enclosure shows of the relationships between Cajun people, food, industry and life. These people only take what they eat and use earth’s resources economically. Through animals such as blacks bears, red foxes, blue crabs and water snakes people can learn about conservation.

Reptile encounter

Many reptiles can be found in this enclosure including chameleons, rattle snakes, cobras and eyelash vipers.

Sea Lions

This enclosure dating back to 1928 is one of the zoos most popular features. This theatre is home to the daily sea lion training shows where they show off their smarts.

South American Pampas

The capybara, the world’s largest rodents, rheas, tapirs and gunacos inhabit this enclosure.

World of Primates

The zoo’s gorillas and orangutans can be seen swinging through the trees at this enclosure. Lemurs, tamarins and simangs are also visible.