The Old LA Zoo is one of Los Angeles’ most off the beaten path sites. This quick to explore patch of Griffith Park is home to strange old animal enclosures and a famous film scene.
Visiting Los Angeles and looking to get off the Walk of Fame or out of one of those weird sightseeing convertible vans? If you answered “yes,” then keep reading. If you answered “no,” then carry on taking photos with Spider-Man on Hollywood Boulevard, this one’s not for you.
Hidden within LA’s 4,310 acre Griffith Park, home to miles of hiking trails, the Griffith Observatory and the Hollywood Sign, is something strange.
Tucked away near the edge of the park’s eastern boarder you’ll find the site of the old LA Zoo. Used between 1912 and 1965 to house a collection of lions, bears, monkeys, birds, and reptiles, the zoo today is a collection of old metal cages and cave-like enclosures.
At the back of each of the larger enclosures is a steep, crumbling, concrete staircase behind a locked, jail cell-like door. Each set of stairs leads to a small concrete building just up the hill. Walking around and up the hill allows you to approach these buildings from behind and discover the cages inside. These structures appear to be where the animals were held when not in their enclosures.
Today, the old LA Zoo exists as a relict of time gone by, a reminder to be grateful that you weren’t a lion in 1920′s Los Angeles, and also a quiet picnic area. There are a few wooden tables set up in one of the old enclosures, making it a memorable place to eat a sandwich, and a few more tables in an adjacent field.
And like many locations around Los Angeles, the old LA Zoo has been a movie backdrop. Do you remember the final scenes of Anchorman when Will Ferrel as Ron Burgundy and Christina Applegate as Veronica Corningstone are trapped in the San Diego Zoo’s Kodiak Bear enclosure? Well those scenes were filmed right here at the old LA zoo.
The old LA Zoo is small and won’t take you long to explore; so don’t worry, you’ll still have time to visit Rodeo Drive, get a tan, and hopefully run into your favorite celebrity.
More Photos From The Old LA Zoo
Finding the zoo isn’t easy and its location on Google Maps isn’t quite right. So to help get you there faster, follow the map that I’ve created below.
Zoom in or out to explore the area.
The blue line shows you how to get to the old zoo. The Red line shows you were to explore.
View How To Find the Old LA Zoo in a larger map