Remember when you were a kid and your parents took you to the zoo, before you had any concept of animals being imported from places you had never even heard of? It was a much simpler time in life, when you could eat an ice cream cone while watching hippopotami swimming and giraffes grazing.

Then one day, we all grew up and traded in ice cream, giraffes and hippopotami for college, taxes and car insurance. What a bummer, huh?

Well, it’s never too late to recapture those memorable childhood experiences with a trip to the L.A. Zoo. Located in the northeast corner of Griffith Park, the 113-acre zoo houses over 1,200 animals and sees more than 1.4 million visitors pass through its gates every year.

Founded in 1966, the L.A. Zoo was the fourth zoo to open in the L.A. area since 1885. When it was decided that the Griffith Park Zoo, opened in 1912 not far from the current L.A. Zoo premises, had become too small to accommodate the ever-growing Los Angeles population, a $6.6 million bond measure was approved to build the L.A. Zoo to replace it.

Just last winter, the Zoo acquired four endangered Visayan warty pigs (don’t they sound charming by name?), which are currently only found naturally on two of the Philippine islands. Also, in February of this year, the Zoo gained another new charge with the birth of a baby orangutan, a species also endangered because of continued habitat loss, hunting and the pet trade in their native Indonesia. And really, is there anything cuter than baby animals, even if they are baby monkeys and pigs? The collective girls reading this will agree that there’s not.

In addition to the regular animals you’d expect to find in a zoo, in 2003 the L.A. Zoo took measures to renovate and expand the native garden, which represents the natural habitat of the Griffith Park area. The botanical gardens are continually growing and expanding, and there’s likely something in there that mothers will think is awesome as well.

So make it a whole family trip, buy some ice cream, re-familiarize yourself with the scent of animal excrement and remember what it was like to be 5 years old again for a day.

Hours: Open daily from 10 a.m.-5 p.m., and until 6 p.m. every day from July 1-Labor Day. Price: Admission is $10 for adults, $7 for seniors age 62 and over, $5 for children ages 2-12 and free for children under 2. For more information, visit