New Orleans Zoo: The Audubon Zoo
For well over a century and a half, the work of naturalist and painter John James Audubon has had a surprising influence on people around the world. From Charles Darwin to the National Audubon Society, Audubon's legacy lives on, including at the Audubon Zoo. New Orleans plays host to the zoo, which features endangered whooping cranes and Amur leopards among its numbers.
The Audubon Zoo in New Orleans originated from what used to be known as Upper City Park. In 1886, the park's name was changed to Audubon Park, and it was later updated with flight and mammal cages. Eventually Depression-era funding helped turn part of the park into a full-fledged zoo. The zoo floundered until both private and public interest sparked a major revitalization of the zoo in the early '70s. The Audubon Zoo then took on new life and interest with a wide variety of educational missions, still highly visible today. In 2005, the zoo fared surprisingly well during the massive wake of flooding from Hurricane Katrina, only losing three animals and suffering minor damage.
The Audubon Zoo now is one of the most-visited tourist attractions in New Orleans, drawing in the young and old alike with fascinating exhibits, conservation programs, and a research campus. The 2008 addition of an insectarium opens even more discovery opportunities for visitors to the New Orleans zoo. New Orleans continues to rebound after Hurricane Katrina, and the Audubon Zoo is a recognizable part of that process.
If you're considering visiting the New Orleans zoo and other tourist attractions in the Big Easy, I recommend that you take advantage of a discount plan. The Audubon Experience Package is one option for those who want to experience the zoo, aquarium, insectarium, and IMAX. Another option is the New Orleans Power Pass, a discount card that could potentially allow avid sightseers the opportunity to see much of New Orleans for less.
If you're in the area around Valentine's weekend, check out the zoo's Animal Amoré. Spend the evening with your companion at the zoo where a naturalist will give all participants interesting chats on the mating rituals of some of your favorite animals. And for those who will be in New Orleans for Mardi Gras, know that the zoo will be closed on Tuesday, March 7. It will be open, however, the day before for Lundi Gras.
While you're here, learn more about other things to do in New Orleans. We can also help you find cheap flights to New Orleans, leaving you more money to spend while you're there.
Photo by MeRyan from Flickr