My daughter and I were super giddy for this behind-the-scenes at the zoo opportunity. The animal keepers introduced us to hippos Mara and baby Rosie and gave us lots of information about hippos, what they like to eat, how they like to play and lots more fun facts.
One of the coolest parts was getting to pet the hippos. Their skin is bumpy, not wet and slimy as I expected –my best comparison would be the skin of an avocado. The staff was friendly and encouraged all our questions. Even though I’m sure they get asked the same questions over and over, they were friendly and enthusiastic with their responses. Mara, the mom, is 15 years old and her daughter, Rosie, is a year and a half. Rosie’s arrival was a bit of a surprise for everyone at the zoo since Mara was on birth control.
Hippos are massive, even more so close up, and I assumed they would be squishy when I petted them. But in reality the hippo felt dense to my touch. I wasn’t even sure if they could feel my hand on them, but the animal keeper says that they are actually sensitive animals.I learned that hippos are herbivores. We watched as the keepers put two huge heads of lettuce in Mara’s mouth. Watch out for those big teeth! These tours are really based on what the animals want to do. Mara seemed proud to show off her chewing skills. Mara was a bit of a ham and seemed to really adore all the attention our tour guide gave her during our visit.
This once-in-a-lifetime experience is available only at the Los Angeles Zoo on weekends and holidays at 12 noon. (Separate fee required.)
- General visitors may purchase tickets at any Admissions ticket window.
- Zoo Members may purchase tickets at Admissions Window #11
- The minimum age requirement is four years old. All children must be accompanied by an adult.
- All participants must sign the Waiver and Release of Claims, included on the e-ticket.