Zoos and Aquariums in Los Angeles

An Animal Lovers Guide to Los Angeles

Los Angeles is home to an impressive array of zoos and aquariums, many of which offer several unique exhibits to explore. From pandas to penguins and stingrays to sharks, this coastal city offers all the animal attractions you could ever want. Be sure to visit the largest permanent indoor chimpanzee exhibit in the world at the 4,000 square-foot California Science Center, or some of the other award winning nature and wildlife exhibits at these fantastic places listed here. So, let's get to it, here are the best zoos and aquariums around L.A. for your next trip.

Aquariums in Los Angeles

California Science Center
This is one of the largest science museums on the west coast, and it has an impressively large list of exhibits, many of which feature fun, hands-on experiences which are great for kids and adults alike. Visitors can also see an aquarium, various ecosystems featuring a variety of animals, plenty of air and space vehicles (some are outside), and even more rotating exhibits about biology, chemistry, physics, and more. On site is also an IMAX theater.
700 Exposition Park Drive, Adams Normandie Historic District, LA, California, 90037
Santa Monica Pier Aquarium
Santa Monica Pier Aquarium, located at the Santa Monica Pier, is run by the nonprofit Heal the Bay. Kids under 12 are free. Visitors can see touch tanks and a variety of aquarium exhibits featuring the marine environments from the local ecosystems. Jellyfish, sharks, reef fish, and numerous other sea creatures are on display. It's a great place to visit for the whole family.
1600 Ocean Front Walk, Santa Monica, California, 90401
If you're looking for more information about Los Angeles, read Where to Take your Dog in Los Angeles and The Best Things to do in Los Angeles.
Cabrillo Marine Aquarium
With a focus on both oceanography and marine life, this terrific aquarium has been around for awhile. It's family-friendly and very popular with the local communities, as school trips come here frequently. Visitors can see large aquarium tanks featuring a variety of marine environments with sharks, fish, and a variety of other undersea creatures. Touch tanks are always a favorite with children and adults, too, and you'll find them here as well. The aquatic nursery is another fun spot, as visitors can see actual ongoing research about the local marine habitats right off shore.
3720 Stephen M. White Drive, San Pedro, California, 90731
Aquarium of the Pacific
Located in Long Beach, this fairly large aquarium has plenty of terrific exhibits that will entertain and educate adults and kids alike. From coral reefs to sharks, to sea otters to various marine ecosystems from around the world, the Aquarium of the Pacific offers a wide range of undersea creatures to learn about and observe. The sea turtles, jellyfish, and the penguins are just some of the favorites of visitors. The aquarium also hosts a number of events, too.
100 Aquarium Way, Long Beach, California, 90802

Zoos in Los Angeles

Santa Monica Pier
Santa Monica Pier
This large and vibrant pier is an iconic destination in Los Angeles. It's located at the foot of Colorado Avenue along a beautiful golden sand beach in Santa Monica. The pier is more than just a pier - there's a small amusement park, concession stands, and plenty of places to take in the views or enjoy some fishing. Perhaps the most notable attraction at the pier is the iconic Ferris wheel.
200 Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica, California, 90401
Los Angeles Zoo & Botanical Gardens
Located in Griffith Park and featuring a wide variety of animal and plant exhibits, the L.A. Zoo is huge (and also entirely owned by the city). With a focus on preserving wildlife and educating the public about nature, animals, and the environment, the zoo is fun and interesting for everyone from kids to adults. See elephants, tigers, fish, exotic birds, primates, reptiles, snakes, and more. In the botanical gardens, visitors can also plants both native to southern California and more exotic areas of the world. Some exhibits also highlight endangered plants.
Zoo Drive North, LA, California, 91201

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If you're looking for more information about Los Angeles, read Free Things to Do in Los Angeles and The Best History Museums in Los Angeles and Educational Places and Activities in Los Angeles.
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