Founded in the early 1900’s, the Audubon Zoo is part of the larger Audubon Park complex just southeast of Downtown New Orleans. Whether you’re looking for a great base for your next family adventure in the Big Easy, or a quiet place to rest your head after a busy day of work in the city, the hotels near the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans have plenty to offer.
The History of the Audubon Zoo
Traced back as far as the World Cotton Centennial Exhibition in 1884, the museum was officially founded and opened in 1916 with its flight cage showcasing local and exotic birds. In the following decades, a number of features were added, many of which are still open today. While a great number of businesses suffered during the Great Depression, the zoo enjoyed a period of rapid expansion, with a number of additions developed through the help of the Works Progress Authority.
The biggest expansion of the zoo occurred in 1975, more than tripling the size of the zoo from 14 acres to 50 acres. From elephants and other exotic animals to showcases of local species of plant and wildlife, the zoo is now home to a wide variety of residents, making it a popular destination with locals and tourists alike.
Popular Audubon Zoo Exhibits
With so much to see and experience, it might be hard to choose where to start. These exhibits are some of the most popular at the museum, and sure to delight both young and old.
1. The Swamp Exhibit: Get up close and personal with the wildlife of Southern Louisiana’s famous swamps and bayous in this outdoor exhibit. From giant black bears and playful otters to the poisonous copperhead rattlesnake and rare white alligators, there are animals here from across a wide range of families and species. Many exhibits are designed to let you observe them in a natural inspired habitat.
2. Reptile Encounter: If you’re feeling more adventurous, the Reptile Encounter provides brushes with some of the most exotic members of the reptile family. From the famous and deadly Komodo Dragon to the small and curious beaded lizard and gila monster, this exhibit showcases reptilian life from all corners of the globe.
3. Cool Zoo: While not an animal exhibit, the Cool Zoo is a great way to beat New Orleans heat and humidity just minutes from hotels near the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans. Themed after the tropical rainforests of South America, the area features a variety of splash zones, slides, and climbing features for kids of all ages. Special toddler zones offer padded, low-key enjoyment, while the bigger features supply thrills for even the most daring kids. The nearby snack bar, lounge seating, and private cabanas are perfect for parents looking to take a little break from the day’s adventures.
Experience animal life from around the world with the hotels near the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans. To avoid crowds, the zoo recommends visiting on weekday afternoons. From live events and shows to family water park fun, the zoo has something to offer any traveler looking for attractions near New Orleans.