I have lived in Metro Atlanta for about 3.5 years and I have yet to make a trip to the infamous Zoo Atlanta. I am not quite sure why our family procrastinated for so long and had I knows what a fascinating place it was, we would have been there much sooner! We hope you enjoy taking a look into our first trip to Atlanta’s first zoo!
What first drew me to Zoo Atlanta was the history and its origin. It was during March 1889 that a traveling show on its way to Marietta, Ga., stalled just south of its destination. Cash flow problems ultimately forced the owner into bankruptcy, which left behind the animals whom began to draw crowds of curious onlookers. Just two weeks later, businessman George Valentine Gress purchased the animals at public auction and donated them to the city of Atlanta. They were then relocated to picturesque Grant Park, a favorite local picnic and promenade destination. The original animals included a jaguar, hyena, black bear, raccoon, elk, gazelle, Mexican hog, lionesses, pumas, camels and snakes. Then during April of that year, Atlanta’s first zoological venue opened to the public.
Zoo Atlanta has one simple vision; they envision a world in which humankind values, protects and preserves the diversity of species on Earth. They strive to inspire the citizens of Atlanta and Georgia and all visitors to the Zoo to value wildlife on Earth and to help safeguard existing species through conservation.
Zoo Atlanta houses hundreds of amphibians, birds, reptiles and mammals with over 200 hundred species. Let’s take a look at just a few of the many beautiful birds represented throughout the zoo.
We also had the incredible opportunity of attending a live wildlife presentation. We happened to be walking past the World of Wild Theater just as they were settling everyone into their seats for the show.
I could not get over how breathtakingly beautiful this owl was and greatly enjoyed watching the vulture run around… so adorable!
We sat front and center at this interactive wildlife presentation which featured soaring free flights and the amazing natural behaviors of raptors, owls, parrots and more.
My children were extremely fascinated by the bamboo growing far above them throughout the zoo, truly allowed you to submerge yourself into the Zoo atmosphere.
A popular area where we spent a significant amount of time was in the Outback Station where there was an ope barnyard and a fenced in area to pet the animals.
Children have the opportunity to see these calm and delicate animals face to face and observe them as they move throughout the barnyard.
The petting zoo was incredibly clean, there were people there literally scooping up pet droppings within seconds! They had heaping amounts of fresh hay to enjoy and even a private area where animals can have some alone time.
I think my children could have stays at the petting zoo all day long!
One of the first areas we visited upon our visit was this magnificent elephant. He was hidden in an area where we couldn’t fully view him, but decided to wait a few minutes and before we knew it… we were looking right at this amazing creature!
Then there were these two stunning zebras, but I couldn’t help but giggle at their black and orange stripes… you will get this if you live in Georgia, haha.
One of the giraffes walked right past the viewing area where we were standing, what a stunning creature to observe!
We viewed so many marvelous animals during our visit, far more than I could mention in this post. Take a look at the collage down below for a view of the monkeys, gorillas, orangutan, warthogs, meercat, bear, sloths, turtle, naked mole rat, turtle and komodo dragon.
Now I have been watching the panda activity on Zoo Atlanta’s facebook page and was over the moon when we finally arrived in the Panda section of the zoo! We were greeted by the sweetest pair of baby pandas napping on branch… Ya Lun And Xi Lun are like fuzzy little stuffed animals, the cuteness was too much!
These giant pandas are truly fun to watch and you can actually take peak at them on the Panda Cam to view them for yourself!
In addition to having rides and playgrounds, they also had something called the treetop trail. My oldest two stopped in their tracks when they saw this and couldn’t wait to give it a try! This allows children to experience the zoo from the perspective of some of te animal tree-dwellers! Children can zig, zag, climb, walk, and balance as they navigate a series of rope ladders, bridges, nets and tightrope-style foot lines on a two-level challenge.
They even have a zip line that sends children across one platform to the other. Wondering how I got this great shot of my daughter on the treetop trail? Well there was an amazing fenced in area called the kid zone where my two year old played.
This bright, colorful and fun kid zone area sits directly underneath treetop trail, so my youngest and I could hang out down below and watch the kids making through the treetop trail up above us!
If you are in the Atlanta area and wondering of Zoo Atlanta is worth the visit… the answer is yes! There is a very large parking lot directly adjacent the zoo (no cost), several places to eat and grab a snack, clean restrooms, many many exhibits yet not too large and overwhelming for a family with young kids to navigate. Grab your tickets here!