What to See at the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans

This post will help you plan your visit to the Audubon Zoo. Aside from exotic animals, you will also glimpse into the unique habitat of the delta area. Among other attractions, this zoo has award-winning Louisiana Swamp and Jaguar Jungle exhibits. You can also enjoy their tours, feedings, petting zoos and animal presentations. And check out our family-friendly guide to New Orleans for more ideas for things to do with kids.

 


PLAN YOUR VISIT

As you can probably imagine, Audubon Zoo is a very popular attraction in New Orleans. Due to its popularity, you will want to consider not only when you visit, but also how you get there. Although the zoo is fairly easy to access, it’s still a good idea to plan out your trip ahead of time. With so much to see and experience, we recommend giving yourself plenty of time to explore the grounds at great length.

  • Ticket Prices: $22.95 for Adults | $19.95 for Seniors | $17.95 for Children
  • Availability: Tue-Fri from 10 am – 4 pm | Sat-Sun from 10am – 5 pm
  • Duration: As long as you wish
  • Aquarium, Insectarium and more available at an additional cost
  • Click here for more information

TIP: Entrance to the Audubon Zoo and Aquarium are both included for free with the purchase of the New Orleans Passes, a tourist discount card.


Directions

The entrance to the Audubon Zoo is at 6500 Magazine Street (map). No matter which direction you’re coming from, it should be fairly easy to reach this location.

 

How to get to Audubon Zoo in New Orleans

 

PARKING

This zoo offers a free parking lot for the public. Some visitors have had issues with parking, but a majority of guests have no trouble using this lot.

 

STREETCAR + FREE SHUTTLE

If you are staying in the French Quarter or Central Business District, another option is to take the St. Charles Streetcar from Canal Street and get off near Tulane reservation. Audubon Zoo offers a free shuttle from St. Charles Avenue to their facility. During the busy season, this shuttle is provided once every 15 minutes. This is an excellent way to cut down on walking time and travel costs.  This method will take between 45 min and 1 hour total and is the most scenic.  St. Charles Ave. has some remarkable homes to see.

Be sure to read our post on streetcars in New Orleans.

BUS

Take the #11 Bus on Magazine Street. You can get off at the Audubon Park and walk to the zoo, or you can ride the bus past the park to Carrollton Ave.  Other than driving, taking the #11 bus is approximately 40 min.

 


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COOL ZOO SPLASH PARK

In addition to all of the exhibits on display at Audubon Zoo, they also have a water park for families who want to keep cool during warmer months. This is one of the most popular water parks in New Orleans, and it is a great place to take your kids either before or after visiting the zoo. In addition to water slides and an attraction known as the Gator Run, you’ll also find snakes that spit water and spider monkey soakers among other fun activities. There’s plenty to see and do at Cool Zoo, but they also provide shaded seating for adults who just want to take a break.

  • Ticket Prices: $12 for non-members | $10 for members
  • Pay-One-Price Tickets: $14 for non-members | $12 for members
  • Zoo/Cool Zoo Combo: $29.95 for Adults | $24.95 for Children | $26.95 for Seniors
  • Pay-One-Price tickets provide unlimited access to Cool Zoo and Train/Carousel
  • Guests under 12 must be accompanied by an adult
  • Rainchecks are available when Cool Zoo must close for 2 hours or more
  • Entrance is located next to the Carousel

Most of the guests who visit the Cool Zoo are very happy with their experience at the water park. While some reviewers note that this attraction can get very crowded, others are impressed with all of the activities available. Visitors indicate that this is an excellent place to take a break either during lunch or after a few hours of walking around the Audubon Zoo. As you can probably imagine, the Cool Zoo is especially popular among family audiences.

 


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EXHIBITS AT AUDUBON ZOO

There are over a dozen different exhibits at Audubon Zoo, each of which includes several different animals. Even though it would be easy to spend an entire day wandering around and seeing everything they have to offer, you might want to consider going to the zoo with a game plan in mind. Taking that into consideration, this section will attempt to provide important details about each major exhibit.

 

 

African Savanna

This exhibit features a variety of animals that you might expect to see on the African Savanna. While at this attraction, you will find animals such as zebras, giraffes, and African painted dogs.

Audubon Aviary

The aviary includes over 30 species of birds from around the world. Some of the birds on display here are endangered species, and Audubon Zoo has given them an opportunity to thrive once more.

Asia

It’s the largest continent on earth, so visitors shouldn’t be surprised to find that there are some big animals housed at this exhibit. You can expect to find elephants, orangutan, tigers, sun bears and more at the Asia display.

Bambu Village

If you’re hoping to have an actual encounter with some of the animals at Audubon Zoo, a visit to the Bambu Village is an absolute must. This location features animals that are touch-friendly and provides a lot of information about them along the way.

Flamingo Exhibit

As the name implies, this is where you’ll find the flamingos. This zoo has two flocks of flamingos, one in the plaza and another near the aviary. They recommend visiting in the spring and summer to see these incredible birds laying eggs and raising their young.

A Frog fountain at Audubon Zoo. Image Source: Wikimedia user Brian Norwood on March 6th, 2010.Frogs! Beyond Green

Once again, the name basically tells you exactly what you can expect from this exhibit. As you can probably imagine, they have several different species of frogs at this location. This is a great place to learn about our amphibian friends.

Jaguar Jungle

This exhibit features jaguars in an encampment designed to replicate the environment of a Mayan rainforest. In addition to the beautiful animals in the area, the Jaguar Jungle also includes a lot of information about animals in South America.

Louisiana Swamp

Have you ever been to a zoo with alligators, water snakes and blue crabs? Audubon Zoo is proud to offer this award winning exhibit which provides visitors with a unique and educational experience of the Louisiana Swamps.

Monkey Hill

Once known as the highest point in New Orleans, Monkey Hill now includes a five-level treehouse which gives visitors a chance to take a break. This area includes a new slide and wading pools for young guests to play and cool off after a long day at the zoo.

Outdoor Theater

The stage at Audubon Zoo is often used for special presentations about wildlife. These live shows allow children to learn more about a variety of animals and even interact with a few of them!

Pelican’s Nest

Sponsored by the New Orleans Pelicans NBA team, this exhibit includes not only information about pelicans, but also the wetlands of North America in general. In addition to learning more about native animals, you’ll also have an opportunity to interact with some of them as well.

Reptile Encounter

At Audubon Zoo, you can both see and have an actual encounter with a variety of different reptiles. This exhibit includes animals such as the komodo dragon, panther chameleons and even cobras!

Sea Lions

Depending on when you visit, you might be able to see the Sea Lions performing a variety of tricks for their trainers. This exhibit includes an underwater viewing area so visitors can see them swimming around.

Orangutan at Audubon Zoo. Image Source: Wikimedia user Brian Norwood on March 6th, 2010.Watoto Walk

Located in the African Savanna exhibit, the Watoto Walk is designed to resemble a Masai village from the plains of Kenya. While walking through this area, you’ll have the opportunity to interact with free roaming goats and sheep.

World of Primates

Monkeys, Gorillas and Lemurs – oh my! As you can probably tell, this exhibit includes a variety of different primates from around the world. This is also where you will find Okpara, their new silverback gorilla!

Whooping Cranes

This exhibit is a wonderful opportunity to see a rare and beautiful bird which has unfortunately become an endangered species. Learn about the conservation efforts that are being made to help Whooping Cranes survive.

For more information about feeding schedules and other activities, make sure to take a look at the Audubon Zoo Scoop.

 


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AUDUBON ZOO REVIEWS

Audubon Zoo has received an overall rating of 4 ½ out of 5 stars on TripAdvisor. Although this score tells us that most people enjoyed their experience, a number can’t explain why there were so many positive ratings. In an attempt to provide a more accurate representation of these reviews, we will do our best to reveal the most common compliments and complaints.

 

Audubon Zoo sign. Image Source: Wikimedia user The Erica Chang on February 8th, 2012.

 


Free Shuttle

Several positive reviews make mention of the free shuttle from St. Charles Avenue which is offered every 15 minutes. Guests appreciate the ease of taking the streetcar to Audubon Park and then hopping on this shuttle to the zoo. Considering that you would otherwise have to walk through the park, this is a fantastic opportunity to avoid too much walking before reaching the zoo.

Great for Kids

It probably won’t surprise anyone to find out that kids love to visit the zoo. That being said, the Audubon Zoo offers a lot of opportunities for kids to play and even encounter a few animals. Visitors indicate that their children absolutely adored their experience with all of the exhibits on display. Whether fun or educational, it would appear that young guests really enjoy all of the activities offered here.

Monkey Hill

Speaking of kids having fun, Monkey Hill was pretty much made for them. Several guests appreciate the wading pool at this exhibit which gives children an opportunity to cool off on hot days. Reviewers noted that the climbing area and five-level treehouse was also very popular with younger visitors, allowing them to play around while parents take a break.

Louisiana Swamp

This award winning exhibit has received a lot of love from both the community and reviewers on TripAdvisor. Some guests feel that this is the display which sets Audubon Zoo apart from other wildlife parks in the United States. After all, it’s not every day that you get to see alligators at the zoo! Visitors appreciate that these animals are living in their natural habitat.

Train Ride

Whether you just want a break from all the walking or your kids want to experience a fun ride through the zoo, their train ride is a very popular option. Although this attraction costs extra, guests indicate that the trip is worth the price. Several reviewers were very happy with the opportunity to get a behind the scenes look at the zoo.

Carousel Ride

Most visitors who enjoyed the train ride also report that the carousel is fantastic. Considering that this ride is far less expensive, some parents may want to consider it as an alternative to the train. This carousel is routinely described as either “gorgeous” or “beautiful,” and reviewers recommend taking your kids on for at least one ride before leaving the zoo.

Audubon Park

Even though there’s a lot of walking to do in Audubon Zoo, guests love the fact that it is located in the middle of a wonderful park. Visitors frequently comment on the scenery, describing the area as lovely and beautiful. Even reviewers who took the free shuttle have left compliments about the park area and its many historic oak trees. While some choose to walk through the park either before or after their trip, others may find that activity a bit too taxing.

Too Much Walking

Although there weren’t many negative reviews to speak of, those that have been left frequently take issue with the amount of walking that is required. This is a rather large zoo, and there is a lot of ground to cover. Even if you’re in great shape, chances are that you’ll be tuckered out after a few hours at the Audubon Zoo. This may be an issue for some visitors, but most reviewers don’t seem to mind.

Not Enough Animals

This was another common thread throughout most of the negative reviews. It would appear that some guests didn’t get the chance to see some of their favorite animals, and others felt that there simply weren’t enough animals on display at this zoo. Considering the fact that they have dozens of different exhibits, most with more than one animal on display, this may be one of the most confusing complaints of the bunch.

 


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SPECIAL EVENTS AT AUDUBON ZOO

In addition to all of the exhibits and activities they offer at Audubon Zoo, there are also several special events throughout the year. Most festivals and concerts are entirely free with the purchase of general admission tickets. Please visit the events calendar for additional information about any of these special occasions.

Winter

Get Yah Praise On: On February 24th, Audubon Zoo celebrates Black History Month by hosting a special concert with live gospel music performed by local artists. All guests are welcome to come and enjoy the show at no additional cost.

Soul Fest: With over 20,000 annual visitors, this is one of the biggest celebrations held at the Audubon Zoo. This concert includes performances from musicians in the local Jazz, R&B and Soul community. Guests are welcome to participate in this event for free on March 3rd and 4th.

Pelican’s Day: On one day in March, stars from the New Orleans Pelicans spend a day at the zoo and meet with their fans. In addition to potentially meeting your favorite athlete, you can also enjoy live drum line performances and other activities.

Earth Fest: As you can probably imagine, this free event is all about learning how to save the environment. On March 24th, a variety of businesses and non-profit organizations will bring fun games, prizes, craft activities and food to the zoo.

Spring

APA Society Festival: On April 7th, the Asian Pacific American Society will hold a very special festival at the zoo. This free activity will include live entertainment, authentic Asian dishes and hand-made crafts from several different Asian countries.

Zoo-To-Do For Kids: Held approximately one week before the activity aimed at adults, this Zoo-To-Do will offer a plethora of live entertainment, snacks and fun games for young visitors. Tickets for this event are a bit more costly at $25 for non-members and $20 for members.

Zoo-To-Do: The adult version of Zoo-To-Do will be held on May 4th. In addition to live entertainment, you can also expect local bars and restaurants to provide refreshments. A silent auction and raffle will be held during this special occasion, giving visitors the opportunity to win a car and other interesting items. Tickets are much more expensive than usual, ranging from $85-$175 per person.

Mother’s Day Celebration: On May 13th, Audubon Zoo welcomes visitors to celebrate Mother’s Day with special activities, craft tents and delicious treats. All mothers will receive complimentary admission to the park, making it easier to save money on your trip to the zoo.

Summer

Oceanfest: In honor of World Oceans Day, the zoo will hold a special festival known as Oceanfest. In addition to providing a lot of information about the importance of our oceans, this event will also include a raffle, crafts, a presentation on sea lions and even a sustainable food taste test.

Go 4th on the River: As the name implies, this is a special activity for July 4th. Visitors are welcome to bring a chair or blanket and grab a seat in Woldenberg Riverfront Park to see the fireworks show at 9pm. In celebration of this event, the Aquarium, Butterfly Garden and Insectarium will offer $4 off your ticket.

Dinner and a ZOOvie: On various nights throughout both June and July, the Audubon Zoo offers visitors the opportunity to enjoy a movie at their facility. Tickets are only $6 per person and food trucks will be available on site to provide snacks and refreshments. You can also get a ticket to Cool Zoo/Gator Run for an additional $6. Admission for this event begins at 6pm, but the movie doesn’t start until 8pm.

Fall

Celebración Latina: Experience some of the most wonderful Latin American culture with live musical performances, authentic Latin cuisine and even some activities for children. Young visitors are welcome to come and enjoy encounters with animals, while older guests will have the opportunity to learn Salsa dancing. This event is free with regular admission.

Boo at the Zoo: In celebration of Halloween, the zoo will be transformed with a lot of fun and spooky activities. Kids can enjoy trick or treat houses, a ghost train, a haunted house, games and more. All of these activities are entirely free with admission to Audubon Zoo.

Special Needs Day: Audubon Zoo holds this special event in November to bring more attention to community members with special needs. Visitors with special needs and up to three of their guests will be given $3 admission to the zoo. Face painting, animal encounters and live music are just a few of the activities offered during this event.

Jungle Bells: When the holiday season rolls around, Audubon Zoo celebrates with several family friendly attractions. In addition to visits with Santa, children will also enjoy unlimited rides on the carousel and train. During this December event, the zoo also holds an Ugly Sweater contest and hosts a live performance of the Nutcracker.

Zoo Year’s Eve: In celebration of New Year’s Eve, families and kids of all ages are welcome to come and enjoy live music, games and prizes. Guests will be given a party hat and noise maker for the countdown which takes place at noon instead of midnight. This activity is free with zoo admission.

 


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