The Audobon Zoo in New Orleans is one of America’s smaller urban zoos, but popular because of the city’s connection to the world famous naturalist John James Audobon. Home to animal exhibits typical of mid-sized zoos, Audubon is famous for one unique habitat ecosystem, the Swamp Exhibit. This is arguably the world’s greatest showcase for wildlife of the Missississippi River Delta and environs. The zoo is part of the Audubon Nature Institute which includes the Audubon Aquarium.
In the first half of the 19th century, New Orleans was home to John James Audubon, who was instrumental in the early days of wildlife preservation and conservation in America. His life and work inspired the creation of organizations whose purpose was to study and protect ecosystems. He inspired the founding of the Audubon Society in 1905 and the Audubon Zoo in 1914. In the 1970s, the zoo was completely overhauled as a modern facility, making it one of the best mid-sized zoos in the country.
The Audubon Zoo is home to about two thousand animals, including wildlife typical to this size facility. The biggest draw, and the most unique site at the park, is the Swamp Exhibit. This ecosystem boasts a wide variety of regional animals, many of which can’t be found at other zoos. Species include Black Bear, Otter, and varieties of snakes and alligators.
The Audubon Zoo is part of Audubon Park and is located approximately four miles west of the French Quarter. The zoo is open year round from 10:00am-4:00pm (later hours in summer; closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and Mardi Gras). The cost of admission is $17.50. Web: www.auduboninstitute.org (official website).