Originally known as The Atlanta Zoo, today's Zoo Atlanta first opened in 1889 and is the South's oldest Zoo. However, due to a disappointing report by the Humane Society in 1984, the city hired new management and began a multi-million dollar reconstruction. The animals were moved from their bar and concrete cages to more natural habitats and the zoo's name was changed to Zoo Atlanta.
If you are interested in an African adventure, then head to the Ford African Rainforest where you can see the gorillas enjoying their 1 1/2 acre clearing in the Cameroon Rain Forest. The banana trees and bamboos give the area a tropical feeling, as you watch the apes forage for food, wrestle and play, as well as take care of their young. At the Monkeys of Mokokow, you can see black faced baboons and Mona monkeys. Other African animals include giraffes, zebras, impalas, lions, gazelles, ostriches, black rhinos, and red elephants.
Just beyond the gorilla habitat, is a simulated Indonesian rain forest known as Ketambe. Here is a large group of Sumatran orangutans playing with assorted objects, and climbing rocks, ropes and tree. Like the gorilla population, the orangutans have many offspring, so there are also a number of young orangutans to be seen playing in this area.
The World of Reptiles building is home to a variety of cobras, rattlesnakes, vipers and other exotic snakes, as well as deadly snakes like the bush masters, adders and urutus. The Reptile House is also home to giant salamanders, Mexican beaded lizards, geckos, and poison dart frogs.
Other zoo fun includes the Flamingo Plaza, a sea lion pool, and grottoes for the bears. Children will enjoy the Zoo Atlanta rain, the Egleston Ark Smart Playground and the OK-to-Touch Corral petting zoo.
Zoo Atlanta, located in Grant Park, is open 361 days a year (closed New Years Day, Martin Luther King Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas) and is sure to provide you and your family with wonderful memories. Learn more at ZooAtlanta.comPhoto Credits: Zoo Atlanta Panda Picture by TimothyJ; Lion in Atlanta Zoo by Mike Johnston