5 Perks of Visiting the Zoo in the Rain

By Phoebe Li

Snow Leopard in the rain (Photo by Tad Motoyama )

Snow Leopard in the rain (Photo by Tad Motoyama )

We’ve all been waiting for the downpour of El Niño to hit Los Angeles by storm. But after being in such a long drought, rain is as familiar to Los Angelenos as the desert is to a snow leopard. Instead of staying at home when the rain finally comes, as if there’s nothing to do but wait on the couch for it to subside, consider the better option of visiting the L.A. Zoo—in the rain!

Here are five perks of coming to the zoo in the rain:

  • Experience a “private” zoo



      Calling all brave souls who dare to venture out into the “mysterious” rainfall; your reward is a practically private zoo. There’s no need to worry about the huge crowds brought on by a normal, sunny day. Instead, feel like a VIP while basking in the beauty of nature at Griffith Park and indulging your inner adventurer.


LAIR Interior (Photo by Jamie Pham)

LAIR Interior (Photo by Jamie Pham)

  • Gain a new perspective—indoors


Find inspiration for your next script or artwork by taking shelter in our enclosed LAIR. A stunning collection of creatures, many of the living amphibians, invertebrates, and reptiles are species that can be seen at no other zoo in North America. Travel from the LAIR’s damp forest to the desert and get a “behind-the-scenes” peek at the real-life drama of animal care. With dazzling sights like the golden poison dart frogs, sunburst diving beetles, and green tree python, you’ll hardly miss the sun. This exceptional environment is sure to spark your creativity.

  • Discover a timeless gift or memento


The International Marketplace holds a number of choice items that are not only eco-friendly, but also exclusive to the L.A. Zoo. At Rainforest Traders, find elegant accessories made of recycled paper, exceptional figurines repurposed from Indian Saris, and humorous stationery crafted with animal poop. Wildlife Wonders has an entire section dedicated to the Rainforest of the Americas exhibit, featuring special imported clothing, jewelry, and backpacks from South America. If a particular store is not open, go ahead and ask a store employee to escort you over—they are more than happy to help! With gifts this special, people will think you went to great lengths to find them.

  • Enjoy the perfect date


“Dinner and a movie” is the most overplayed date idea in the book. Change it up and enjoy a day at the Zoo cuddled under an umbrella while watching a koala and her baby snuggle beneath a canopy of foliage. Channel your inner child and take a ride on the carousel. Reminisce fondly of family trips that first introduced you to the Zoo. Grab a cup of coffee from Reggie’s Bistro, to stay warm, and head to the roofed Thai Pavilion, which offers a great view of the elephants, who happen to love the rain and mud.

Koala in the Rain (Photo by Charlie Morey)

Koala in the rain (Photo by Charlie Morey)

  • See animals dressed in a “wetsuit”


Imagine seeing the thick fur of a koala ruffled by drizzle. It’s one adorable and unusual snapshot for your Instagram page. While the Zoo’s black bear has fur that seems to repel raindrops, it doesn’t stop him from being inquisitive—almost playful—when water falls from the sky. Other animals that seem interested, or at least curious, with rain are the big cats. The Sumatran tiger, snow leopard, and jaguar frequently take shelter on sweltering days, but when the rain comes so too does their playful nature.

So grab an umbrella and rain boots! These may just be our five perks, but we are confident you will find many more reasons why coming to the Zoo in the rain is worth while!

Hippo in the rain at the L.A. Zoo (Photo by Charlie Morey)

Hippo in the rain (Photo by Charlie Morey)