This post may contain an affiliate for LA Zoo discount tickets.
In February, my kids and I got to experience the Los Angeles Zoo’s new behind the scenes Hippo Encounter. Here we got some of our most pequilar questions about hippopotamuses answered by the hippo’s care takers and staff.
First, they gave us a little presentation about the life of a hippo. We learned:
- Hippopotamuses are normally found in Africa.
- They are considered the third largest land mammal after the White rhinoceros and elephant.
- The name hippopotamus means ‘river horse’ and is often shortened to hippo.
- They have short legs, a large mouth and a body shaped like a barrel.
- Hippos spend the majority of their time in water to help keep their temperature down.
At the LA Zoo, they specifically have a male hippopotamus called a ‘bull’, a female called a ‘cow’ and a baby hippo called a ‘calf’. The mom and dad hippos originally met at the LA Zoo and had a baby together shortly thereafter. But it was a surprise to the caretakers, because the mama hippo was supposed to be on birth control!
During our visit to the Hippo Encounter, Field Trip Girl and Field Trip Boy got to go behind the scenes for approximately 20 minutes to stand very close to the Zoo’s near-legendary, 15-month old baby, Rosie, and her mom, Mara. Field Trip Boy gently petted Mara and discovered what it was like to have rubbery cold skin.
We also got to observe how the care takers fed the hippos. Since hippos are mammals they eat a vegetarian diet. In the wild, they eat grass. At the zoo, they get a daily regime of mixed vegetables. It was amazing to watch that as the caretaker grabbed a handful of veggies, the mama hippo opened her mouth wide to receive the food.
In fact, many times Mara simply opened her mouth for the camera and posed for a picture. During the Hippo Encounter, guests also get a professional picture taken with the hippos.
Hippo Encounter Days & Times
The Los Angeles Zoo’s new Hippo Encounter is open every weekend and holiday, 12 noon, at the L.A. Zoo and Botanical Gardens. Small groups of up to 15 people, including children ages four and up accompanied by an adult, can go behind the scenes for approximately 20 minutes.
Hippo Encounter Tickets
Due to the great popularity of this unique experience, purchase of Hippo Encounter tickets ($15 per person in addition to regular Zoo admission) is suggested in advance via the L.A. Zoo’s website.
General Admission to the Los Angeles Zoo is $20 (ages 13 to 61); $17 for seniors (ages 62+), and $15 for children (ages 2 to 12). No ticket is required for children under 2. Sometimes you can find LA Zoo discount tickets on LivingSocial.com or Groupon too.
The Los Angeles Zoo is located in Griffith Park at the junction of the Ventura (134) and Golden State (5) freeways. 5333 Zoo Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90027. Free parking is available.
Happy Field Tripping!