Old Los Angeles Zoo

Twilight Tour of an Abandoned Zoo 

In the bustling metropolis of western culture that is Los Angeles, there still exists remnants of an abandoned zoo. The Old LA Zoo was a beautiful disaster back in its day when it opened in 1913. It was the victim of underfunding and poor design. Yet the old LA zoo still is visitable to this day and stands as a testament to the past where monkeys and big cats died in small cages. I was trying to get there during the day but the night was coming on fast. So twilight ushered in my tour. As it got darker and darker, it got increasingly more disturbing. The best place on earth in my opinion.

Welcome to the tour. Please, no flash photography if you want to see the ghosts.

The zoo was built for a paltry $2,000 dollars and that led to welded barracks instead of free standing cages. I can only guess what poor souls were housed in these but I'm pretty sure they didn't have long life expectancies.


This is Amazonia!  Where the big cats roam!  In the 1930s, the Works Progress Administration pumped some money into the park and this beauty was created.  It is quite detailed and looks like it could fit in at the modern LA Zoo.

This is where many a tiger lived and died. 


During WWI, the zoo was unable to serve meat to the animals due to shortages.  Many animals starved to death as a result.  Pacing back and forth in their cages, waiting for food that would never come.  Germany has so much to answer for.


Behind Amazonia.  There is a hill right behind it and you can walk up which leads further back into the zoo. 



This is creepy.  Three cages all welded together, doors open and nearly a hundred years old. 



What was kept in here?  Something very unfortunate.  The rust says it all. 


 An abandoned building.  At this point my flash is my only light as the dusk gives way to pitch black.  I was worried about feral animals that may have made these cages their new homes (rather ironically).  I looked away as my flash lit up the inside of the abandoned building.  Teenage art adorned the insides.  I checked the photo on my camera and was glad to see that no wild creature or homeless guy was awakened by my curiosity.


There is a row of about ten cages sitting side by rotting side, choked by ivy, dripping with water from an unknown source, rusted to the point of tetanus.  Of course, you have to go into the open one.

View from the inside.  There is a rather deep hole in the corner of the cage. It looks almost like the animal was burrowing to escape this death row for the four-legged.  Throughout the history of the zoo, many animals escaped and took cover in Griffith Park.  It's hard to blame them.

Going further along, I stumbled upon a deep trench.  It looks almost like a pool was here.  With the mood of the surroundings, Nessy looked like she would be the only animal capable of being housed in these shallow waters.

Gather 'round folks!  On a raised platform, some staid visitors in the first half of last century looked in awe/pity/disgust on some animal.  My eyes started to play tricks on me at this time.  My heart beat picked up the pace.  And I swear I heard a howl from the distance.  My flash disposed of my night vision each time it went off.  I was looking forward to finishing my tour.


Up a path, you can stand atop the booth in the middle of the zoo.  The tree looks as age battered as the buildings.


Behind the booth lies a graffiti strewn area that shoulders the remains of a building.   A chimney survived the crash of a roof, a roof that likely collapsed on the neck of a poor, squirming animal.   I  heard a scream.

The old Los Angeles Zoo was featured in Anchorman, Police Academy, Six Million Dollar Man, Wonder Woman and many other films of great import. It is the coolest and creepiest place on earth. Go at night and see the ghosts of tortured animals of the past!  I am very impressed that the city of LA would keep this open to the public and commend them for not throwing away their past.  Instead, they beckon us to look upon what once was and reevaluate it in our present society.  Viva City es Las Angels et brutus!