My family and I were invited out to The Los Angeles Zoo for a rare opportunity to see live reindeer at its Reindeer Romp Holiday Celebration, which debuted November 27, 2015.
We made the most of the holiday season with a full day of fun and adventure highlighted by a visit with Noel, Belle, Velvet and Jingle in their wintry Reindeer Village home. The kids were excited to know that this was the only place to view live reindeer in Los Angeles.
There are a flurry of other activities on weekends including holiday crafts for kids, ice carving demonstrations (Saturdays), Swazzle Holiday Extravaganza puppet shows (Sunday mornings), entertainment by the Satin Dollz, Los Angeles' popular retro musical troupe (Sunday afternoons), docent talks, and a rotating schedule of animals unwrapping gifts all their own.
You can even visit with Santa Claus in an all-new whimsical Santa Village and have a photo op (for a nominal fee) every weekend through December 20 plus December 21, 22 and 23 from 11 am to 3 pm.
The Zoo is a great place to take kids. My kids found their favorite animal. Flamingos were Ava's favorite. She enjoyed learning that they are filter feeders. Flamingos eat small things like shrimp, worms, small mollusks and insect larvae. They were fascinated by the coloration of the flamingo from the carotenoid pigments found in their food. In the zoo, flamingos eat a special flamingo food containing canthaxanthin to maintain their color. They kept asking me if they ate too many shrimp would they turn pink too. Perhaps, I replied!
"The Zoo is a wonderful place to spend quality time with kids and extended family during the holiday season," says Kait Hilliard, Vice President – Marketing and Communications for the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association. "Visitors can enjoy the seasonal weather along with an enriching experience of magical holiday fun as well as the chance to see our animals and meet our newest baby giraffe, snow leopards and giant river otter pups."
Luke loved the giraffes and laughed when their huge tongues came out of their mouths to eat.
The landmark Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens, drawing 1.6 million visitors each year, is home to a diverse collection of 1,100 animals representing 250 different species, many of which are rare or endangered. Its lush grounds on 113 acres feature the LAIR (Living Amphibians, Invertebrates, and Reptiles).
The LAIR was my nephew, Derek's favorite spot. He could not wait to see all the amphibians and reptiles many of which did a great job hiding from our cameras as they camouflaged into their surroundings. We spent a great deal of time here.
All in all it was an amazing day full of awe and laughter. The kids got to see reindeer and and much more while I got to see the smiles on their little faces as they experienced the LA Zoo and all it's wonders.
The LA Zoo Reindeer Romp runs through January 3, 2016 (except Christmas Day),10 am to 4 pm.
All activities, except Santa photos, are free with paid Zoo admission, which is $20 for general admission (ages 13 to 61); $17 for seniors (ages 62+), and $15 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 www.lazoo.org/reindeerromp.