Photo Credit:  Jamie Pham

Guests enjoy L.A. Zoo's Hippo Encounter

Have you ever wondered how their skin feels?  Or what they eat for lunch?  Why they spend so much time in the water?  How fast they run?  Are they endangered?

Find out at the Los Angeles Zoo’s new HIPPO ENCOUNTER, an extraordinary, hands-on opportunity every weekend and holiday, 12 noon, at the L.A. Zoo and Botanical Gardens.

Small groups of up to 15 people, including children ages four and up accompanied by an adult, go behind the scenes for approximately 20 minutes to stand VERY close to the Zoo’s near-legendary, 15-month old baby, Rosie, and her mom, Mara, while learning all about them.  L.A. Zoo keepers introduce guests to both hippos, the third-largest land mammal, and share specifics about their daily routines, care, training and lives.  Participants watch up close as staff feeds lunch to the hippos, followed by a chance to reach out and feel their cool, smooth skin, then concluding with an unforgettable photo op likely to generate multiple #adorbs type hashtags.  Due to the great popularity of this unique experience, purchase of Hippo Encounter tickets is suggested in advance via the L.A. Zoo’s website.

The landmark Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens, drawing 1.75 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);

Elephants of Asia; Campo Gorilla Reserve; Rainforest of the Americas, an extraordinary collection of endangered and exotic mammals, reptiles, fish and amphibians living in spaces that exemplify their natural habitat in the rainforest biosphere; Tom Mankiewicz Conservation Carousel;

Chimpanzees of Mahale Mountains, home to one of the largest troops of chimpanzees in the United States; Red Ape Rain Forest, where visitors can walk among orangutans; the Winnick Family Children’s Zoo; one of the largest flocks of flamingos in any zoo in the world; a botanical collection comprising over 800 different plant species with approximately 7,000 individual plants; and much more.

Accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), whose members meet rigorous professional standards for animal welfare, the Zoo has achieved renown as an international leader in the preservation of endangered species and a conservation center for the care and study of wildlife.

The Zoo’s location in Griffith Park at the junction of the Ventura (134) and Golden State (5) freeways ideally positions it as a convenient destination enjoyed by locals and vacationers of all ages who can visit every day of the year except Christmas Day.  5333 Zoo Drive, Los Angeles, CA  90027. (323) 644-4200.  www.lazoo.org