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Your Guide to Zoo Atlanta
August 20, 2020 By CityPASS
From native wildlife to critically endangered species that serve as animal ambassadors to their counterparts in the wild, more than 1000 animals call Zoo Atlanta home. The zoo, an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, is one of only four zoos in the U.S. to house rare giant pandas; the pandas, Ya Lun and Xi Lun, also happen to be the only twin giant pandas in the U.S. It has one of North America's largest zoological populations of great apes and is a global center of excellence for the care and study of reptiles and amphibians.
Zoo Atlanta is involved in field conservation programs for wildlife and wild places around the globe, including work in Africa, Asia, Central and South America, and in their home state of Georgia. The zoo contributes to funding of other established conservation organizations who share their mission. They focus on projects where Zoo staff is engaged in field work, community outreach programs, research and education programs on continents around the globe.
What to See
The Giant Pandas
Zoo Atlanta is one of four zoos in the U.S. to house giant pandas, on loan from China. The Zoo pays an annual loan fee for the pandas, and this money is used for giant panda conservation. Guests may be able to see the pandas year-round at virtually any time of day. Because they are native to high-elevation cool mountain forests, in the warmer months they will generally be in their climate-controlled dayroom habitats.
The African Savanna exhibit opened in August of 2019, transforming the zoo's elephant environment with the well-being of the animals in mind. Water features, feeder enrichment activities and handcrafted rockwork were designed to replicate an African river basin. Also on view are zebras, giraffes, meerkats and warthogs.
Zoo Atlanta has a diverse population of primates and is home to a number of highly endangered primate species, including Western Lowland gorillas, Sumatran and Bornean orangutans, golden lion tamarins, drill monkeys and lemurs. The Zoo is home to the largest ape population in North America, with family groups in five natural habitats.
Scaly Slimy Spectacular
The Amphibian and Reptile Experience features more than 70 species in a 111,000 square-foot complex and is the world's first LEED Gold-certified reptile and amphibian exhibit. See snakes, lizards, turtles, alligators and other creatures that slither and snap.
Take a spin on the carousel, hop on the Zoo Train, and climb to new heights on the rock wall with an All-Day Rides Wristband.
Experience the Zoo from the perspective of animal tree-dwellers! Zig, zag, climb, walk, and balance in the Treetop Trail presented by Kaiser Permanente. The aerial playground lets guests navigate a series of rope ladders, bridges, nets and tightrope-style foot lines on a two-level challenge.
(Note: Rides, playgrounds and Treetop Trail may be temporarily closed to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.)
Get a behind-the-scenes experience with some of the zoo's wildest residents. Wild Encounters include the elephants, Aldabra tortoise, lions and giant pandas. Each encounter offers a guided tour of the habitat, opportunities to meet the animal care teams and the chance to hand-feed the animals. (Separate purchase required.)
Hours and Parking
For current hours of operation, please refer to the attraction's website. Free parking is available in the visitor parking lot on Cherokee Avenue. Spaces are available on a first-come, first-served basis and are extremely limited. The City of Atlanta's Grant Park Gateway parking solution on Boulevard is open on weekends and holidays for an additional fee. Explore public transit options through MARTA or City of Atlanta's Relay Bike Share Program.
To get the most out of your stay in Atlanta, we recommend finding lodging near Atlanta's top attractions like Zoo Atlanta. Use this map to find the right lodging for you:
General admission prices vary, and you can see them all here. Zoo Atlanta is also part of Atlanta CityPASS. It includes admission to the Zoo along with admission to some of Atlanta's other top attractions including World of Coca-Cola, the Georgia Aquarium, National Center for Civil and Human Rights, and more. The bundled ticket package saves you close to half off gate admission prices.
Header Image Courtesy of Zoo Atlanta