800 Cherokee Avenue SE,
Whether you’re looking for behind-the-scenes Wild Encounters, a leisurely stroll through The Ford African Rain Forest or a Goat Painting Experience, Zoo Atlanta offers something for everyone. So what are you waiting for? Bring yourself and your herd to Zoo Atlanta today.
There’s always something happening at Zoo Atlanta! It’s a top destination for Atlanta families and out-of-towners with more than 1,000 animals representing more than 200 species from around the world. The Zoo connects us to animals through education and by inspiring conservation.
Experience the African Savanna and learn about elephants, zebras, giraffes, ostriches and warthogs. Wander the Ford African Rain Forest, home to gorillas, monkeys and an array of reptiles and amphibians. See giant pandas, naked mole rats, clouded leopards and more in the Asian Forest.
For a memorable visit, check out the Summer Wild Encounters. Behind-the-scenes experiences let you get close to elephants, lemurs, warthogs and an Aldabra tortoise. Encounters are held on Mondays and Thursdays-Sundays; see full schedule and times online. Experiences with lemurs, warthogs and the tortoise are $45; elephants are $130.
Besides seeing awesome animals, the Zoo has tons of exciting events and places to play, including Treetop Trail and Treetop Tykes Trail, KIDZone, Splash Fountain, Petting Zoo, Carousel and the Zoo Train.
Events and Experiences:
This program designed for children ages 2-5 introduces kids to a new animal through a game, craft, story and singalong. At the end of the program, visit the animal and go on a themed scavenger hunt. $24; additional child, $5.
At this after-hours tour, learn about the ways accredited zoos help animals survive and thrive, and discover how you can become a conservation hero with engaging activities. $25; ages 3 and younger, free.
Rise and Dine with the Animals
Enjoy breakfast catered by Proof of the Pudding before joining in an educational component to learn more about the species, listening to an Animal Care Professional and wandering the zoo and meeting other animals after the program. June 10 focuses on gorillas; July 8 on elephants and Aug. 5 on reptiles and amphibians. $60; ages 2 and younger, free.
Little ones will get to explore the Zoo with a mini tour, songs, animal stories and dancing like an animal. $24; additional child, $5.
Wild Encounter: Goat Painting Experience
See how the talented “VanGoat” creates unforgettable paintings. Choose two colors for this unique work of art that you’ll get to take home as a keepsake. $75 per group of up to four people. Every Saturday at 3:15 p.m.
Come face-to-face with the tallest animals on the savanna and feed the giraffes at Twiga Terrace. $4. Daily, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. and 2-3:30 p.m.
Learning Adventures at the African Savanna
Today, about 415,000 elephants roam across Africa, according to the World Wildlife Fund. That number was as many as 10 million in 1930. Habitat loss and fragmentation and poaching are the key drivers behind the overwhelming decline. Avoiding extinction is going to take courage, commitment and time. That’s why Zoo Atlanta’s African Savanna is important: it gives kids a chance to be awed and inspired to learn about elephants – the largest land animal on the planet – and many other creatures who share their habitat, such as zebras, giraffes, ostriches and warthogs.
The African Savanna is home to female elephants Kelly and Tara, Zoo Atlanta residents since 1986, and new arrival Msholo, a male from San Diego Zoo Safari Park. When we visited, one of the children in our group gasped – she was only a few feet away from an elephant! She said, “I feel love when I look at her!” The boys agreed that the space – triple the size of the Zoo’s former elephant area – looks like what they imagine when they think of elephants in the wild. A wide walkway curves past a pond and two waterfalls; there are multiple spots to enjoy different views.
Misting fans and benches make for a comfortable stroll. There is also a new indoor Zambezi Elephant Center, where you can get a behind-the-scenes look at elephant care and learn from interactive signs. A large wire elephant sculpture outside the center has fun lift-up signs – a hit with our kiddos. Further along, we saw the giraffes hanging out in the sun and the warthogs busily rolling in mud.
The African Savanna exhibit holds many surprises. Discover it with your family soon, and use your visit as an opportunity to learn how you can help elephants – and all animals – survive and thrive.
Sherry V. Crawley