The Louisville Zoological Gardens is Kentucky’s state zoo and dedicated to educating the community about the conservation of fauna and flora, as well as providing outstanding care for animals. The zoo aims to do this by being a leader in the field of conservation education and standing by their mission of “bettering the bond between people and the planet.”

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Established in 1969, the Louisville Zoo is currently home to 1,500 animals living in natural zoogeographical areas on 134 acres of well-maintained land. These areas represent all spheres of nature from oceans to the African plains and include exhibits such as the Australian Outback, Islands, Gorilla Forest, Glacier Run, New World Exhibits (North, Central, and South America), Africa, Islands, and the HerpAquarium. The Islands, Gorilla Forest, and Glacier Run exhibits have won awards for their excellence and innovation.

Every habitat at the Louisville Zoo aims to enhance the well-being of the animals and enrich the quality of their lives by providing stimulating environments for all the animals. Visitors can engage and meet the with the animals on a daily basis, learn more about the animal ambassadors, and find out how to support conservation programs at regular training sessions.

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2.Signature Zones

Signature Zones
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The Louisville Zoo has four distinctive zones within the zoo, namely Australia, Africa, Islands, and Glacier Run. Other special exhibits include the Gorilla Forest, New World Exhibits (North, Central and South America), and the HerpAquarium.

Glacier Run is a 4.3-acre outdoor display built to reflect an old gold-mining town bordered by a glacier. This exhibit is home to grizzly bears, seals, polar bears, and sea lions, as well as a family-friendly splash park for the young ones. Glacier Run also features a 200-seat outdoor auditorium where visitors can watch animal training demonstrations and elevated viewing areas.

The Islands exhibit is a unique display that rotates a variety of animals in one exhibition, allowing the animals, which are all endangered or threatened species, to explore different habitats throughout the day, as they would in the wild. Islands features three outdoor exhibit areas and one indoor Pavilion area, and the animals include siamang, orangutan, the Malayan tapir, babirusa, and the Sumatran tiger. The indoor Pavilion houses an array of rare birds, including the Madagascar fody, the Mariana fruit dove, and the rockhopper penguin. Other unusual species in the building include Cuban crocodiles, Komodo dragons, and the Rodrigues fruit bat.

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3.More Things to See

More Things to See
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The Australian Outback features the Wallaroo Walkabout, an immersive exhibit where visitors can get up close to the red-necked wallaby and wallaroo, and several well-known birds, such as the emu, kookaburra, tawny frogmouth, and blue-faced honeyeater. The exhibit is also home to the Lorikeet Landing which is filled with brightly colored lorikeets, which visitors can hand feed.

The Gorilla Forest is an award-winning exhibit that houses 11 western lowland gorillas, two pygmy hippopotami, and five patas monkeys with several outdoor vantage points from which to watch the gorillas relaxing and playing in their natural habitat.

The Herpaquarium is home more than 100 species of reptiles, amphibians, and amazing fish from around the world, including a rare six-foot long albino American alligator named King Louie and a family of critically endangered Panamanian golden frogs.

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The Louisville Zoo works in conjunction with several conservation projects and programs, as well as offer a range of educational programs and workshops for learners. The Zoo is particularly committed to working with endangered species with programs like the AZA’s Species Survival Plan (SSP) programs and is just one of a handful of institutions worldwide to house a captive breeding population of North America’s most endangered mammal, the black-footed ferret.

The Zoo has a hands-on education department staffed by professional educators who present interactive experiences for all ages. The Louisville Zoo serves as a living classroom, aiming to inspire students and young learners to gain a sense of responsibility toward all animal and plant life on the planet.

Educational programs include field trips, public programs such as classes, summer camps, night safaris and scout programs. The Zoo also offers Toyota’s ‘Backyard Action Hero Guide’ which awards children who take action to protect the animals and plants in his/her own backyard.

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5.Visitor Information

Visitor Information
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The Louisville Zoo is located at 1100 Trevilian Way in Louisville and is open daily, year-round. There are a variety of activities at the Zoo to enhance the experience, such as animal demonstrations, daily training sessions, zoo keeper talks, and other educational activities. The Zoo also features multiple playgrounds, a variety of rides and attractions, including the Conservation Carousel and ZooTram Shuttle, trains to shuttle visitors around the Zoo, bird shows, camel rides, adventure ropes courses, the BOMA African Petting Zoo, and several gift shops.

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1100 Trevilian Way, Louisville, KY 40213, Phone: 502-459-2181

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Things to Do in Kentucky: Louisville Zoological Gardens

  • History, Photo: Courtesy of guitou60 -
  • Signature Zones, Photo: Courtesy of Silvia Pascual -
  • More Things to See, Photo: Courtesy of Miroslav -
  • Programs, Photo: Courtesy of white_bcgrd -
  • Visitor Information, Photo: Courtesy of chrisberic -
  • Cover Photo: Courtesy of Alfred -