Planning a Visit to the LA Zoo? Consider a Membership!

Donate and Save

IMG_6424 2.JPG

Our 4-hour $120 Zoo Trip

After weeks of asking to visit the zoo, my son Benny finally convinced me to make the trip. I'm still not sure what sparked his eagerness but he sure insisted on going!

I decided to make the trip on a Saturday. The boys woke up and had breakfast at home. Then I packed some sandwiches, snacks, drinks and bottled water. I also made sure to bring sunscreen lotion and hats for the boys since it was going to be a very hot winter day....yes, we have those in Los Angeles.


While we really enjoyed our outing and I got my workout for the day (the zoo was built on a hill and there's plenty of leg work waiting for all stroller-pushing parents), I must say I probably won't return without a zoo membership.

I say this because even though we packed our lunches and went as prepared as possible, the zoo is an all-day outing and after exploring for a couple of hours, it's likely you'll want to buy some snacks, a few trinkets for the kids and let them ride the zoo carousel. The costs quickly start adding up but with a membership, you'd at least skip paying for admission.


Here's the breakdown of our day (in terms of cost):

Admission: $53 ($21 for adults, $16 for kids ages 2-12)

Preferred Parking: $10 (These days I'd rather pay a little extra for convenience. Regular parking is free).

Double Stroller Rental: $14 (Zoo strollers are very easy to maneuver. Benny outgrew his stroller phase and I couldn't have possibly expected him to walk the entire time).

Food: $22 Pizza slices for the boys and a cold beer for Mama (I needed it).

Churro: $5 The zoo churros are actually really good.

Gifts: $17 I told the boys they'd get to pick a gift on our way out if they behaved. 

Total trip cost: $121

Now, I know I could have saved money by avoiding the gift-buying option at the end of the day and skipping on the churro and pizza slices... but these boys get hungry very often and the sandwiches were gone after the first hour there. The pizza was definitely NOT great. As a matter of fact, the crust was burnt but my cold beer made up for the annoyance I felt over that. The boys had apple juice and to them, pizza is always good, so they didn't complain.


In terms of seeing the animals, we weren't too lucky that day. The Chimpanzees never came around. The Lions never got up from their afternoon nap. Toby was deathly afraid of the giraffes so we couldn't get near them. The same happened with the Silverback gorillas... Halfway through our visit, it was very clear a membership is necessary, especially if I want Toby to become a little more acquainted with the animals he loves to see in picture books!

At the end of our outing, upon returning the double stroller, I asked Benny and Toby if they had enjoyed their trip to the zoo. We hadn't even exited the zoo main gates when Benny asked: "When are we coming back, Mama?"

To which I responded: "Whenever Papa can join us" because honestly, it was soooo exhausting to go with the boys on my own! On top of that, I really don't think we'll return without first buying a zoo membership. For one, supporting the LA Zoo's animal conservation efforts is a good cause in my book. Also, we live close enough where a zoo outing on days we have no other plans is a good option.


So here's the deal on zoo memberships:

Family $146

  • FREE daytime admission for 2 adults named on card
  • Your own children or grandchildren (ages 2-17) *restrictions apply
  • 4 FREE Safari Shuttle Tickets
  • 2 membership cards


Family Deluxe $186

  • FREE daytime admission for 3 adults names on card
  • Your own children or grandchildren (ages 2-17) *restrictions apply
  • 2 one-time guest passes worth $42
  • 6 FREE Safari Shuttle tickets
  • EXCLUSIVE early access to Big Bunny’s Spring Fling and Boo at the Zoo
  • 3 membership cards

There are also individual zoo memberships available.

I'll keep you posted next time we visit.

Thanks for reading!


Anabel M.