The Audubon Zoo: What You Need to Know & Why We Love It

toddler in the petting zoo at Audubon Zoo New Orleans

The Audubon Zoo is a staple in New Orleans and hands down one of our favorite attractions. There are plenty of things to do for every age as well as many animals to keep you entertained. It is one of 10 facilities in the non-profit Audubon Nature Institute family, and is dedicated to our community as a leader in education, economic development and preservation.

The Zoo takes pride in helping create a bright future for generations to come.  As one of the Nation’s Top Rated Zoos, there is never a shortage of family fun to be had. Here are some things you need to know when visiting, as well as our favorite spots to check out at the Audubon Zoo.

toddler in the petting zoo at Audubon Zoo New Orleans

What are the Audubon Zoo’s Location, Operating Times & Parking? 

The Audubon Zoo is located in Uptown New Orleans at 6500 Magazine St., New Orleans, La 70118. During the summer they  are open Monday through Friday from 10 am – 5pm and Saturday and Sunday from 10 am – 6pm.

*The Zoo closes early to the public for special events, announcements are made in advance*

  • There is parking large parking lot stretching along the front entrance of the Zoo. Even on the most crowded days, parking usually isn’t an issue.
  • Strollers, wagons and wheelchairs are allowed inside the zoo and are also available for rental once inside the park. You may also bring one backpack or cooler per family( no larger than 28 qt).

What is the Audubon Zoo Cost of Admission?

The cost of admission to the Audubon Zoo is $22.95+tax for adults, $17.95+tax for children ages 2-12 and $19.95+tax for seniors over the age of 65. Children under 2 are FREE. You can also purchased combined tickets that allow you entrance into not only the zoo but also the Aquarium of the Americas and Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium. Another great way to say money on zoo admission is to purchase a Audubon Nature Institute Membership.

What do I Need to Know About Visiting Audubon Zoo? 

When you first enter the Audubon Zoo you will get a picture taken to commemorate your trip. To your right are restrooms, lockers for rent and concessions. To the left is the Audubon Marketplace.

Here is a great place to make your pit stop, as well as put on your sunscreen (pick some up in the Audubon Marketplace if you forgot it because you will need it) and check out the map.

Straight ahead you will be greeted by the Flamingos and the Information booth. There is also a Guest Comfort Station available for private family moments and nursing mothers.

At the Information Booth You will find maps, show time schedules, lost and found and other information. This is also where you rentals which you secure with a photo ID or $5 cash deposit. Prices for rentals are: 

  • locker-$5
  • wheelchair-$8
  • stroller-$11
  • double stroller-$13
  • scooter-$25

Since you’ve already prepped and have what you need from the information booth, you’re ready for your adventure.  Straight ahead, and sort of a centerpiece for the Zoo, as well as one of our favorite stops, is the newly renovated elephant fountain. My family also uses this beautiful nostalgic fountain as a meeting spot if anyone gets lost.

The Audubon Zoo is divided into 8 major sections. Some choose to plan their path around showtimes and animal feeding times, others like to start from the back and work their way up. My kids usually can’t wait to start, so we just head into Asia and circle back out through the Wildlife Theatre to catch the first show. Whatever path you trek, there’s no wrong way to experience all the Wonders of Nature the Zoo has to offer.


Located here you will find 2 of my son’s favorites, the elephants and the orangutans. Enjoy these playful creatures in their newly expanded as well as engaging homes. Catch other majestic animals such a the Amur leopards, tigers, sun bears and babirusas.

The Bambu Village Asian Discovery is full of fun to touch animals as well as education stops.

Jaguar Jungle:

As you may have figured, this is home to the stealthy and  jaguars. Located deep in an ancient Mayan civilization, these along with the Alpaca and some fish in addition to many more call this home.

You can also go batty in the newest expansion, the Nocturnal House, home to hundreds of bats!

World of Primates:

In March 2018, the Audubon Zoo welcomed a new highly endangered Western lowland gorilla troop. In addition to the troop, come monkey around lemurs, siamang, mandrills and the ever adorable golden lion tamarins.

African Savanna:

Hike the highest hill in New Orleans, the beloved Monkey Hill. Although it’s changed over the years(It was literally just a hill when I was a kid.), it is still one of my favorite spots. Don’t forget to see the animals while you’re here. Get up close and personal with a giraffe, find the animal that will make you see stripes and the Southern White Rhino.

While you’re in the African Savanna, the petting zoo at Watoto Walk is a must. Pet a goat, brush a sheep, but watch for poop. This has always been my daughter’s favorite stop.

The new Lion Exhibit will open in 2019, and we can’t wait until the roar returns!

Louisiana Swamp:

Probably one of the most captivating stops on the adventure, and certainly most popular, especially at feeding time. Walk the boardwalk over hundreds of alligators in the swamp below. Black bears bathe to your left, and you may even see a red fox. Head through a walk of creepy crawlies, creatures of the gulf, and stories of Cajun life in the Swamp. In their own exhibit, this is also home to the very rare and beautiful albino/white alligators. From here fly over to the Pelican’s Nest, an engaging, interactive exhibit that gets you hands on as well as knowledge on conservation of our wetlands.

Reptile Encounter:

Touch a snake in addition to viewing a lot of them, see a living dinosaur, the Komodo Dragon and change it up with the chameleons.

Sea Lions:

Hands down a favorite on our list, see the California Sea Lion show! These highly intelligent mammals will make you laugh and keep you entertained.   

South American Pampas:

This is home to many species of endangered bird species and land animals including the whooping crane. In addition, the Audubon Aviary is here. The aviary houses over 30 species of birds, and some have been part of the successful reproduction and raising of families in the aviary.


Visit the Diefenthal Earthlab and discover the over 3,500 species of frogs that live within.

Is there An All Inclusive Habitat at the Audubon Zoo? 

Partnered with KultureCity, the Zoo strives to make the park enjoyable and accessible to all members of our community. In addition, all pathways, rides, restrooms and the Cool Zoo are ADA accessible.

The Zoo is jam packed with Sensory Stations, and most exhibits are also easy to view from different vantage points.

What is Some Audubon Zoo Lagniappe (Extras) ? 

Now that you know just about all you need to know about visiting the Audubon Zoo, beeware! Bees are in season and love sweet stuff, so just be cautious when you grab that snowball, go near flowers or use the recycling and trash receptacles.

The Zoo also has oodles of frolicing animals on the loose! Yep, that’s right! Nothing that will harm you of course, but I have had food stolen many times by birds, squirrels and even one brave peacock. It’s super neat to picnic with a peacock, just don’t go all crazy and chase the animals down.(And, it’s probably not a good idea to intentionally feed them) This is their home, not yours!

I always enjoy a good picnic, but if you want to get out of the heat there are a couple restaurants in the Zoo. Be sure to grab some Roman Taffy for a sweet treat.

If you need more to do, take a spin on the enchanting Carousel($2 non-member/$1 member) or go for a scenic ride on the Swamp Train($5 non-member/$4 member).

What About Cool Zoo And Gator Run at Audubon Zoo? 

The Cool Zoo is Audubon Zoo’s super fun cool spot for great times on a hot day! The splash park itself includes three different areas, including one for toddlers and small children. There is no shortage of splash here with animal themed soakers, jumping spouts, a huge slide and much more.

The Gator Run on the other hand, has a more laid back vibe. This is where I chill out! With 750 ft of river, 2 sand beaches and a concession cart you can’t go wrong. Rafts are free for floaters, as well as life vests for the little lazies under 48 inches.

Since the Cool Zoo/Gator Run is separate from Zoo admission and the Zoo itself, so it provides its own cool accommodations. Inside you will find The Cool Shop for all of your shopping needs, the Snack N’ Shack concession stand in the splash park area as well as the concession cart in the Gator Run. Shady seating areas are available in addition to restrooms and stroller parking. Lockers & Cabanas are available for a fee.

Don’t forget your towels and sunscreen, but if you do you can pick some up in the Cool Shop.

The Cool Zoo does offer rain checks and they have a Cub Check policy as well. Every child under 13 has a marking that corresponds with that of their caregivers wristband.

Cool Zoo Cost of Admission 

  • $12 non-members / $10 members
  • $14non-members/$12 members ~ Includes unlimited all day use of Cool Zoo/Gator Run, Swamp Train Rides and Carousel Rides

Or you can purchase a Z00/Cool Zoo Combo Ticket for $29.95+tax for adults, $24.95+tax for children ages 2-12, and $26.95+tax for seniors age 65 and older.

Cool Zoo Operating Hours

  • April 7th- May 20th: Weekends Only
  • May 26th- August 12th: 7 days a week
  • August 18th- September 3rd:Weekends Only

*No wagons, chairs, swim toys, denim, long pants or belts allowed*

How Can I Adopt a ZOOpendous Creature? 

Wouldn’t you just love to have an exotic pet to call your own? You can choose to adopt animals ranging from lady bugs to snakes, lions and tigers and bears, oh my! Although your new family member must remain in their home at the Zoo, you will receive pictures, a certificate, and a thank you letter. Through your generous adoption, animals receive the highest quality care you helped provide.

Whether you’re just visiting New Orleans or you love to call it home, the Audubon Zoo is always a must-do! With hundreds of animals, more than enough educational experiences to go around and an all around family fun environment, you’ll always want to come back again. I know we do.

Not only is the Zoo fun and engaging, but it is also a beloved place for all New Orleanians. Finally, let me ask, what’s your favorite thing to do at the Audubon Zoo?


Arden Cahill Summer Camp

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