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Sunset Safari at the LA Zoo Review - Seeing Animals Upclose and Personal

By Maria Densley

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The night at the LA Zoo, for their Sunset Safari adventure, began with guest lining up to get their name tags.  While we waited David "Vito" Gregoli was there to provide entertainment.  Also there was a snack table, and drinks to help keep guest patient as we waited for the next tram.   Once we boarded the tram we were taken into the zoo through the back entrance.  The tram let us off at the Tiger Plaza in the zoo, where we began our after-hours journey.

Glen and Cindy Stahmer with their son and daughter Erich and Emma enjoying snacks served as guests arrived GLAZA 2013 Sunset Safari Photo Credit: George Stoneman

The Los Angeles Zoo's black bear surveys guests at the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association's Sunset Safari GLAZA 2013 Sunset Safari Photo Credit: George Stoneman



We watched as the hippo was fed her dinner.  The Los Angeles de Tango Ensemble was in the Tiger Plaza.  Their music worked perfectly as the young hippo swam through the water trying to reach the apple tossed in.  The Tiger's enjoyed their meal of meat as the sun began to set.  Even the monkeys were enjoying their meal as we watched them behind the glass window.

Guests at the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association's Sunset Safari view a feeding of the Zoo's hippo GLAZA 2013 Sunset Safari Photo Credit: Michaelyn Straub

Placidly gazing at guests enjoying the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association's Sunset Safari is one of the Zoo's two tigers GLAZA 2013 Sunset Safari Photo Credit: George Stoneman



The colorful Macaw was on display with his handler.  As his handler fed him sunflowers, she answered guests questions.  As we walked to the next area of the zoo a tiny African Hedgehog was on display.  We learned their white bellies were the only place safe to touch a hedgehog.  Their needled back would be like stinging nettle if you were to try to touch it.  Seeing the hedgehog reminded me of a children's book, "How do you hug a Hedgehog," and it made me smile.

Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association's President Connie Morgan (center) with her husband Matt Golombeck, Oscar (blue and gold macaw), and keeper Elaine GLAZA 2013 Sunset Safari Photo Credit: George Stoneman

Hedgehog, Owl and Condor on display at GLAZA 2013 Sunset Safari Photo Credit: Maria Densley

Before we reached the Elephants we also saw the cutest Hawaiian Owl on display with her handler.  She stowed away on a vessel from Hawaii.  Also, almost four times the size was the California Condor, Dolly.  She was a bit shy but spread her wings for us every now and then.

Guests at the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association's Sunset Safari enjoyed musical entertainment from three groups, including Los Angeles del Tango Ensemble GLAZA 2013 Sunset Safari Photo Credit: George Stoneman

Elephant, Crane and Turtles on display at GLAZA 2013 Sunset Safari Photo Credit: Maria Densley



As we made our way to the carousel where a buffet dinner was waiting us, we also saw turtles eating their dinner. We heard rather than saw, because night was mostly upon us, the noisy giant otters splashing and playing in their water holes. A few times their keepers said, "Come and get your food before its too dark for you to see it." It was like she was scolding naughty children.  The Orange South American wolves were just settling down before we reached the Carousel, as we heard the music of the Roger Espinoza Duo.

Los Angeles Zoo Director John Lewis (right), his wife, Debbie, and guest Vito Palazzolo GLAZA 2013 Sunset Safari Photo Credit: George Stoneman

Los Angeles Zoo keepers, like the one at right, shared their vast animal knowledge with guests at the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association's Sunset Safari GLAZA 2013 Sunset Safari Photo Credit: George Stoneman



At the carousel a delightful array of food was before us.  We dinned on gourmet hamburgers, hotdogs, veggieburgers, and grilled chicken, with all the toppings you could want.  There was mashed potatoes, pasta salad and green salad ready to be enjoyed. For desert there was chocolate or vanilla ice cream with whip cream, strawberries, pineapple, chocolate syrup, sprinkles and nuts to choose from.

Keeper Sam shares an Angolian python with guests (l-r) Mike Rosenfeld, Melinda Peters, Elizabeth Sheets and Tom Peters GLAZA 2013 Sunset Safari Photo Credit: Michaelyn Straub

Youngster at the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association's Sunset Safari gets a special face painting by a Paint on Your Face artist GLAZA 2013 Sunset Safari Photo Credit: Michaelyn Straub



If the amazing display of animals, delicious food, and carousel rides weren't enough for the youngsters, Paint on your Face was there to add pictures to their faces. Over all, the night was a peaceful enjoyable time. We learned that the 99 cent store has become a sponsor at the LA Zoo, and donors have donated over $700,000 so far this year.  My self along with the many guest enjoyed the after-hours wildlife fest at the L.A. Zoo. Become part of the Safari Club today and start enjoying the benefits it has to offer! 

To learn more visit the LA Zoo and Botanical Gardens online.

LA Zoo after an eventful evening at GLAZA 2013 Sunset Safari Photo Credit: Maria Densley

Published on Oct 04, 2013

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