Gather your peeps to honor the planet at the Los Angeles Zoo’s annual WILD FOR THE PLANET celebration which will kick off on Earth Day weekend, Saturday, April 21, 10 am to 4 pm through Endangered Species Day on Friday, May 18, 2018.
On weekends, the event will feature animal feedings, keeper talks and demonstrations; a conservation-themed aerialist show, puppet shows and other activities, fun and information focusing on the importance of protecting the environment and its creatures.
And in honor of international Year of the Bird, this year’s Wild for the Planet spotlights native plants and other plant species that support local birds and highlights the Zoo’s bird conservation achievements with five bird gardens throughout the grounds.
Adults and youngsters can enjoy a day at the Zoo, home to a diverse collection of 1,100 animals representing 250 different species, many of which are rare or endangered, with special opportunities, entertainment, information and tips about everyday ways to sustain and preserve. All activities are free with paid Zoo admission. The full Wild for the Planet schedule is available at lazoo.org/wildfortheplanet.
Among Wild for the Planet’s weekend activities are special animal feedings/ keeper talks and enrichment demonstrations at 1 and 2 pm featuring okapis and elephants (April 21), snow leopards and trumpeter swans (April 22); red river hogs and rattlesnakes (April 28), gorillas and cassowary (April 29); gorillas and pronghorn (May 5), Chacoan peccaries and Komodo dragons (May 6); bear and zebras (May 12) and tigers and condor (May 13). New this year is a spectacular aerialist show about bird conservation (11 am, 1 and 3 pm). Children and families can also learn how to make a positive impact on the environment during an interactive puppet show, presented by Swazzle, inspired by the L.A. Zoo’s own conservation efforts (11:30 am, 12:30 and 2:30 pm). An animal character makes guest appearances between 10 am and 3 pm, and “Meet-and-Greets” with the Zoo’s contact yard animals take place at 12 noon. Nature Journaling stations, open 10 am to noon and 2 to 4 pm, show guests the ins and outs of nature journaling and how to make new discoveries by looking closely at the plants and animals all around us, with focus on zebras (4/21), pronghorn (4/22), gorillas (4/28), orangutans (4/29), elephants (5/5), birds in the Zoo’s aviary (5/6), giant river otters (5/12) and markhor (5/13). Other activities include a “condor wings” photo op, a succulent station to learn about drought-tolerant plants and how to grow them, a bird-strike prevention station and an urban wildlife activity. Guests can find details about participating in the City Nature Challenge, a project organized by the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and the California Academy of Sciences involving over 60 cities competing to see who can make the most observations of nature, find the most species, and engage the most people.
Bird L.A. Day
On Saturday, May 12, when the Audubon network in the greater Los Angeles area holds “Bird L.A. Day” celebrating the biodiversity of the city’s birds, Wild for the Planet presents an education station introducing guests to birding as an important and tried-and-true form of citizen science. This activity emphasizes the Zoo’s mission to encourage people to care about the natural world around them by connecting them with animals in a personal and direct way.
A Conservation Expo with vendors on the weekends of April 21 and 22, April 28 and 29, May 5 and 6 and May 12 and 13 emphasizes local conservation efforts for the planet and animals. Participant booths include organizations such as City of LA Stormwater Program, LA County Smart Gardening Program, Earthwatch, L.A. Conservation Corps, Catalina Island Conservancy, California Condor Recovery Program , Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, Los Angeles County Public Works, Farm Fresh To You, The Friends of Seal Beach National Wildlife Refuge, Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area – Ranger Troca, Heal the Bay, National Wildlife Federation, Ventana Wildlife Society, Aquarium of the Pacific, Friends of the L.A. River (River Rover) and Friends of Griffith Park.
Among daily activities during Wild for the Planet are the Zoo’s close-up “Animals & You” encounters as well as special feedings, intriguing talks and guided experiences. Visitors receive a Wild for the Planet “Activity Guide” that includes a map to the bird gardens, bird-themed activities, and other conservation information. Guests can also participate in the L.A. Zoo’s electronic device recycling program by donating an unwanted cell phone, smartphone, iPod, iPad, tablet or MP3 player at the green ECO-CELL bin in the Zoo’s Entry Plaza. Each contribution directly benefits animal conservation programs and reduces the demand for mineral mining that threatens the natural habitats of endangered animals such as the western lowland gorilla.
Zoo admission, which includes all Wild for the Planet activities, is $21 for general admission (ages 13 to 61); $18 for seniors (ages 62+), and $16 for children (ages 2 to 12). No ticket is required for children under age two. Admission for Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association members is free.
The Los Angeles Zoo is located in Griffith Park at the junction of the Ventura (134) and Golden State (5) freeways. 5333 Zoo Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90027. Free parking is available. For additional information, contact (323) 644-4200 or visit lazoo.org/wildfortheplanet.