Every time I go to a new city, I always try to check out the zoo. LA's Zoo is located in Griffith Park, on the peak of the mountains that surround the city. Griffith Park is itself one of the largest parks in the US and has miles of hiking trails, but alas I spent almost the whole day in the Zoo and I didn't get the chance to do any hiking. (Well not in the park anyway--the Zoo itself is very hilly and walking around for the day will give you quite a good workout.)
To be honest, I was a bit disappointed with some of the LA Zoo. It has a nice collection of animals and several species that I had not seen before, but it seems to be behind the times in its enclosures--while many of its animals were in spacious open-air enclosures, many were still in chainlink-fence prison cells. The Jaguar and Leopard were both "pacing", a behavior that is the usual result of inadequate space and stimulation, and the Siamangs looked listless--they didn't have the sort of large open enclosure that the Chimps had.
So here are some photos from my day at LA Zoo:
The Zoo has great landscaping and is a nice place to just walk around for an afternoon.
"Prehistoric Garden", cycads.
A fossil whale skull that was found on the Zoo grounds
"Reggie", the American Alligator. Reggie was smuggled into California as an illegal pet, then was dumped into a local pond when he got too big. He was rescued and now lives at the Zoo.
California Brown Pelican
Axolotl, an aquatic salamander
California Tarantula, an Aphonopelma species
Bark of a Brazilian Floss Silk Tree
Plastic viewports that allow you to pop up inside the Prairie Dog colony and have a look around
Goats in the Petting Zoo
Markhor, from Tadjikistan
A pair of Takin, from the Himalayas
A Siamang, looking forlorn
Bark and foliage of Coastal Redwood
Superb Starling (it really is superb)
Cassowary. What a dinosaurian-looking bird
An impossibly-cute Koala doing what Koalas do best--sleeping
The Reptile House
Southwest Speckled Rattlesnake
Catalina Island Rattlesnake. This species, living on an island where large animals are scarce, has evolved to lose its rattle.
False Gharial, from India
Bushmaster, from South America
Mangshan Viper, from China
Green Mamba, from southern Africa
Mexican Palm Viper