The hundred acre Louisville Zoo may be a small zoo in northern Kentucky but shady, winding paths punctuated by the colorful free-ranging peacocks and gardens of well-labeled native trees, yellow-grove and nuda bamboo and colorful flowers in the botanical gardens make the experience especially pleasant for families with young children or those in search of an inexpensive, relaxing day.
With over 1300 animals, visitors can watch tigers nap on large solar-heated rocks or delight in the close-up views of tiny poisonous frogs and delicately patterned snakes in the darkened HerpAquarium. Others can gaze at the rare white alligator which would find survival difficult in an unprotected environment.
The Islands Highlights Delicate Ecology
In the Islands exhibit, visitors are greeted by the atmospheric Indonesian island feel. Each of the animals bears the endangered species designation and zoo visitors can see Asian and African animals such as Sumatran tigers, orangutans, and babirusa warthogs.
The Gorilla Forest Contains Gorillas and Pygmy Hippos
The Gorilla Forest houses twelve gorillas in a unique structure which allows visitors to see the endangered species very close. In fact, some of the gorillas will stand right next to the glass and do not shy away from the humans only inches away.
Displays feature the faces and names of each gorilla and visitors can learn more about each both at the zoo and on the zoo’s website. Between March 1 and October 31, there is a special Gorilla Program at 2:30 each day except for times of inclement weather.
In a nod to the gorillas’ mental health requirements, the zoo rotates the gorillas on display and will also keep them in private habitats if illness, motherhood or other constraints require reduced stress.
Calistoga Splash Park at Glacier Run
Opening May 1 of each year, the Calistoga Splash Park at Glacier Run adds greatly to the attraction, especially for families with kids who start to wilt on hot summer days.
Set in the Glacier Run section, kids will be near the polar bear exhibits so they can cool off while the arctic animals relax and play in their new habitats. The splash park is also near a group of food vendors which sell pizza, ice cream, icees and other treats.
The water park, free with zoo admission, has a separate section for toddlers and preschoolers and a group of shooting jets, large interactive playsets, and other water features in an enclosed area which also has nearby restrooms, picnic tables and water fountains.
Designed to meet twenty-first century safety standards, there is no standing water in the park and the play area is cushioned with bright blue textured padding.
Louisville Zoo Boasts Variety of Events
The Louisville Zoo has a daily program of animal-centric events detailing the species’ habits and conservation efforts from March 1 through October 31 in good weather. Some of these include Elephant Aerobics at 4 pm; Tiger Training at 10:45 am, 2 pm, and 3:30 pm, and Lorikeet Feeding whenever the temperature is at least 55 degrees.
For the homo sapiens, the zoo hosts a walking club, night safaris including an overnight campout in the zoo, and various Nickelodeon themed characters greet guests on dates throughout the year. Guests interested in history and genealogy should seek out the hidden family cemetery which offers both a quiet atmosphere and a glimpse into local history.
The Louisville Zoo is located at 1100 Trevilian Way in Louisville, Kentucky, and offers free parking except for some special events. Summer visitors should strongly consider taking swim wear.