Outdoor family fun comes in all forms, but an afternoon at the zoo is typically at the top of the list. There is something special about viewing the Earth’s most wild creatures in their unique habitats. The Santa Ana Zoo in Prentice Park takes that experience to a new level. With more than 350 animals coexisting on just 20 acres, this zoo is an exciting adventure waiting to happen.
The exhibits at the Santa Ana Zoo have character. Each area brings you deep into the world of the species on display. Surrounded by the cascading waterfall and lush vegetation of Amazon’s Edge, you can observe playful howler monkeys and boisterous crested screamers. At the Tierra de las Pampas, a representation of the endangered South American grasslands, you’ll get close-up viewing of rheas, guanacos and anteaters.
The Colors of the Amazon aviary is filled with brightly colored birds soaring freely in 9,000 square feet of space. There are other exotic species throughout the zoo as well, including the stunning margay cat, birdeater tarantula and bizarre blue-tongued skink. As you stroll from biome to biome, watch for the 50 monkeys that are on the premises at all times. You may get to see the smallest monkey in existence: the adorable pygmy marmoset.
Part of this zoo’s appeal is the interactive aspect. At the Rainforest Adventure Maze, kids can travel the winding pathways playing challenging games that either lead to dead ends or through more passages. The Conservation Education Theater allows you to meet cute critters during special presentations, and you can get up close with even more animals at the Crean Family Farm.
Not only are there many opportunities to play and learn at the zoo, there are unique events throughout the year for animal lovers to enjoy. The Sunset at the Zoo summer concerts, Boo at the Zoo and Winter Zoobilation are fun-filled themed events for the entire family. These special happenings give visitors a chance to experience the zoo and its residents in completely different ways.
No matter how fired up you may be at the beginning of your journey, it’s likely you’ll need a break eventually. This zoo provides plenty of places to recharge, including the colorful Conservation Carousel, which is a classic ride featuring more than 30 endangered animals. After your ride, stop by the Knowlwood Café for a yummy snack, or have a picnic lunch at one of the beautiful tree-lined party areas.
The Santa Ana Zoo costs just $10 for adults and $7 for children and seniors, so the value cannot be beat. It’s the ideal location for spending an afternoon in the gorgeous California sunshine. You can easily walk the entire zoo in one day, but you may want to hop on the Zoofari Express just for the fun of it. Once you explore this beautifully designed animal world with your loved ones, you’ll want to return year after year.
Directions from our hotel