Atlanta Zoo – tickets, prices, discounts, kids activities, animals

Image: Zooatlanta.org

Atlanta Zoo is spread across 40 acres of Grant Park, a historic neighborhood just west of downtown Atlanta.

It houses 1,500 animals of 220 species in natural habitats similar to their environment in the wild. 

Atlanta Zoo’s highlights include Giant Pandas, including Ya Lun and Xi Lun, a set of twins born in the zoo, one of North America’s largest zoological populations of Gorillas, and a global center for the care and study of reptiles and amphibians called ‘Scaly Slimy Spectacular.’ 

This top Atlanta attraction gets more than 1.2 million visitors annually. 

In this article, we share everything you must know before buying your Atlanta Zoo tickets. 

How to reach Atlanta Zoo

Zoo Atlanta is in historic Grant Park, minutes from downtown Atlanta. Get Directions

Public Transport

The West End Station and the King Memorial Station are closest to the Atlanta Zoo. 

You can board the Red or Gold Line to get to West End Station and then ride Route 832 bus. West End Station is 4 km (2.6 miles) from the zoo.

Or ride the Green or Blue Line to King Memorial and then board Route 9 bus to the Atlanta Zoo. King Memorial station is 2.5 km (1.5 miles) from the zoo. 

Atlanta Zoo parking

Atlanta zoo parking is available at 800 Cherokee Avenue and in the new Grant Park Gateway parking facility on the Boulevard.

Both these paid parking lots are close to the zoo, and you can walk the distance in 2 to 4 minutes. 

The parking fee is $3 for an hour and capped at a maximum of $12 for the entire day. 


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Atlanta Zoo hours

Atlanta Zoo opens at 9 am and closes at 5 pm every day of the year. 

The last entry for the zoo is at 3.30 pm. 

It remains closed on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. 

Atlanta Zoo starts to bring their animals in for the day an hour before the zoo closes. Food stands also close an hour before the closing time. 


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Best time to visit Atlanta Zoo

It is a good idea to visit the Atlanta zoo as soon as it opens at 9 am. 

Early in the morning, the animals are most active, and crowds are just about getting in. 

Weekends are busier than the weekdays. 

If you can, pick a weekday to make the most of your visit. You also get a $3 weekday discount on the ticket.

We recommend weekdays for a peaceful visit because it gets crowded on weekends and school holidays.

Summer is a perfect time for a visit to the Atlanta Zoo but also busier compared to winters. 

Atlanta Zoo in winter

Atlanta Zoo has a lot to offer during winters as well- animals like Pandas, Tanuki, Elephants are active in cold weather. 

Another advantage of visiting in winter is that you may find parking readily. 

In winters, the zoo may suspend some activities. 

Also, species that are native to hotter climates may be challenging to spot. 


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How long does Atlanta Zoo take

If you are visiting with children, you may need three to four hours to explore Atlanta Zoo. 

Children tend to linger longer around their favorite animal enclosures, attend feeding sessions, keeper talks and try out numerous experiences. 

Families that break for lunch tend to take more time.

If you want, you can also turn it into a full-day outing because Atlanta Zoo entry tickets don’t have a time limit.


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Atlanta Zoo prices

To encourage visits on weekdays, Atlanta Zoo offers discounted tickets on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. 

From Monday to Thursday, the adult ticket for visitors 12 to 64 years costs $29.40, and from Friday to Sunday, the same ticket costs $32.70.

Similarly, seniors aged 65+ years pay the lower price of $27.20 on weekdays and $30.50 for zoo entry on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. 

This weekday discount of $3 per ticket is the best way to save money while visiting Atlanta Zoo. Buy Now!

Kids only get a $1 reduction for weekday visits – their ticket is priced at $22.80 for weekdays and $24 for weekends

Atlanta Zoo for free

All active-duty, reserves, veterans, and retired US Armed Forces members get free entry to Zoo Atlanta with their valid military ID.

Visitors can get these free Atlanta Zoo tickets at the ticket counters. 


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Atlanta Zoo tickets

Purchasing your tickets for Atlanta Zoo online is a better experience for two reasons:

  • You don’t wait in the ticket counter queue and waste your time and energy.
  • The daily capacity is limited, and tickets on-site are sold on a ‘first-come, first-served basis. Booking your tickets online (and in advance) ensures a guaranteed entry.

The tickets get emailed to you. On the day of the visit, you can Skip the line at the ticket counter and proceed directly to the check-in booth to scan your smartphone ticket.

These tickets get you access to all the exhibits in Atlanta Zoo.

Kids under three years get in free and don’t need a ticket. 

Monday to Thursday – Ticket price

Adult ticket (12 to 64 years): $29.40
Seniors ticket (65+ years): $27.20
Child ticket (3 to 11 years): $22.80

Friday to Sunday – Ticket price

Adult ticket (12 to 64 years): $32.70
Seniors ticket (65+ years): $30.50
Child ticket (3 to 11 years): $24


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Zoo Atlanta + Georgia Aquarium

Georgia Aquarium is the largest aquarium in the world. 

It has over 100000 sea animals and the only aquarium outside Asia that has whale sharks. 

It is at 225 Baker St NW, Atlanta, Georgia, only a 10-minute drive from the Atlanta Zoo. 

If you keep a good pace, you can cover both these attractions on the same day. 

Atlanta Zoo and Georgia Aquarium is a popular sightseeing combination amongst tourists with children. 

There is a 10% discount on the combo tickets for Atlanta Zoo and Aquarium when you book online.


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Atlanta Zoo with Atlanta City Pass

If you have a prolonged stay in Atlanta, the Atlanta City Pass is a smart choice for sightseeing. 

It saves you 45% on tickets to Atlanta’s top 5 tourist attractions, including Atlanta Zoo. 

The Atlanta City Pass for adults (13 to 99 years) costs $83.77, and for kids (3 to 12years), it costs $68.54.

 With your Atlanta CityPass, you get:

  • General Admission to Atlanta Zoo
  • Anytime pass to Georgia Aquarium
  • General Admission to World of Coco-Cola

Admission to any two of the following attractions:

  • College Football Hall of Fame
  • Fernbank Museum of Natural History
  • National Center for Civil and Human Rights

The pass is valid for nine consecutive days after the first use. 


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Kid Activities at Atlanta Zoo

Atlanta Zoo has lots to offer to its young visitors. 

There are several exciting activities throughout the day that can make your zoo outing more fun. 

Some of these activities have age restrictions, are time-bound, plus come at an additional fee. 

Here is all you need to know about them so you can plan your visit accordingly.

Giraffe Feeding

Atlanta Zoo’s Giraffe feeding is an activity popular with all age groups. 

When you purchase giraffe feeding tickets at the tent on Twiga Terrace, you will receive a numbered ticket to indicate your position in the line.

You need to buy food for giraffes separately. It costs $3 for two pieces of romaine lettuce to feed the giraffe.

When: 10 am to 1 pm and 2 pm to 3.30 pm every day, weather permitting.

Where: Giraffe enclosure

Age Specifications: This activity is for All Ages. For Children 3 years old and under, a parent or guardian must accompany during the feeding experience. 

Cost: $3 for two pieces of romaine lettuce

Atlanta Zoo Train

The Atlanta Zoo Train is a handcrafted replica of an original 1863 locomotive and one of the zoo’s most popular attractions. 

Visitors take a train ride through the Critter Crossing and see for themselves the daily life of its animals. See the train’s route.

The train’s covered passenger coaches are equipped with wide, comfortable seats.

When: 10.30 am to 4.30 pm every day, subject to weather conditions. The Ticket Booth closes at 4.15 pm.

Where: KIDZone

Specifications: One parent rides free with any child under 3.5 feet (42 inches) tall

Cost: $3 + tax

Treetop Trail

The Treetop Trail is an excellent opportunity to see things from the perspective of tree-dwelling animals. 

The experience has two levels of rope ladders, swaying rope bridges, nets, foot lines, etc., through which visitors must navigate and get to the other side. 

The adventure meets the highest safety levels, and participants always remain secured and tethered to an overhead tracking system.

All guests can participate. However, an adult must accompany kids below four feet (48 inches).

When: 10.30 am to 4.30 pm, Friday to Sunday, depending on the weather. 

The last ticket is available at 4 pm.

Where: KIDZone

Age Specification: All age groups can participate. However, kids below 4 feet (48 inches) need an adult to be with them on Treetop Trail’s Sky Trail Navigator. Participants must be at least four feet (48 inches) tall to access the Treetop Trail’s SkyRail.

Cost: $14.95

The Endangered Species Carousel, housed under a colorful pavilion, has hand-carved wooden animal figures that zoo guests can ride. 

It also features murals depicting endangered mother and baby animals in their natural habitat.

When: 10.30 am to 4.30 pm, every day, all year round

Where: Carousel

Age Specification: Visitors of all ages are allowed on the carousel. One parent can ride free with a child who is under 3.5 feet (42 inches) tall.

Cost: $3 + tax. Please note that the ticket Booth closes at 4:15 pm)

Outback Station’s petting zoo

The Petting Zoo is a popular exhibit, especially for young children. 

Here, they get a chance to get up close and personal with a few of their furry friends. 

Children can meet some friendly farm animals like sheep, goats, and pigs at the Outback Station in the Orkin Children’s Zoo. 

Though the animals are used to human interaction, it is good to follow the rules and even better if adults accompany children to ensure a safe experience.

Access to the Petting Zoo is included in the regular Atlanta Zoo ticket.

Playgrounds for kids

Children are the happiest at playgrounds, and Zoo Atlanta knows that well. 

There are two playgrounds- the ‘KIDZone Playground’ and the ‘Naked Mole Rat Playground’ in the zoo.

Both are suitable for kids under 4.2 feet (50 inches) tall, and all visitors can enjoy them for free. 

These animal-themed playgrounds have plenty of room for its little patrons to slide, climb and explore. 

It is good to keep an eye on the children when they are playing as these areas do get crowded during peak hours. 

Access to the playgrounds is part of Atlanta Zoo’s entry tickets.

Splash Fountain

Atlanta can get quite hot in summers. 

If you visit the Atlanta Zoo in the warm weather season, you can get some cool reprieve and take a break at the Splash.

Splash Fountain is in the KIDZone section and is spread over 2500 square feet, featuring 18 water jets. 

Make sure you make the most of it because this doesn’t cost extra but is part of the regular admission ticket


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Atlanta Zoo animals

Atlanta Zoo has more than 1500 animals belonging to around 220 species, spread over different habitats. 

African Rainforest

Zoo Atlanta is currently home to one of the largest populations of gorillas in North America. All of these live in the African Rainforest.

Don’t forget to meet Ozzie, who is the oldest living male gorilla in the world. 

The Living Treehouse is an extension of the African Rain Forest and houses an aviary of African birds and different kinds of lemurs, monkeys, drills, and guenons. 

Complex Carnivores & Trader’s Alley

Image: ZooATL

Complex Carnivores is where you will see all the big cats such as Tiger and Lions. 

In this section, you also see smaller carnivores such as Bush Dogs, Binturong, Fossa, etc. 

Meanwhile, the Trader’s Alley focuses on animal species impacted by the international wildlife trade. 

Visitors get to see animals such as Malayan Sun Bears and Raccoon Dogs, who get sold quite a bit. 

African Savanna

The African Savanna is a dynamic living space featuring elements specifically designed for animal well-being and enrichment.

It houses wildlife native to the grasslands and desert of Africa.

The highlights of this section are the lions, elephants, giraffes, zebras, ostriches, warthogs, meerkats, etc.

Mumbles, the 9-year-old 4,300-pound southern white rhino, also lives in the African Savanna complex.

Scaly Slimy Spectacular

Scaly Slimy Spectacular is the award-winning new amphibian and reptile complex of Atlanta Zoo, which features more than 70 species.

Visitors can’t miss it because of its 14 meters (45 feet tall) iconic glass entry dome.

Some of the prominent species to spot here are Gaboon Viper, Prehensile-tailed skink, Green anaconda, Gila monster, Green tree python, Jamaican iguana, Diamondback terrapin, etc. 

Asian Forest

The highlight of the Asian Forest are giant otters, sun bears, Komodo dragons, Sumatran tigers, giant pandas, tanukis, and red pandas, as well as Bornean orangutans and Sumatran orangutans.

During your visit to Zoo Atlanta, don’t miss out on the Orangutan Learning Tree Project, where you get to see orangutans engage in computer puzzles, games, and problem-solving exercises.

Giant Pandas

Atlanta Zoo is one of three institutions in the US currently housing giant pandas. 

The Giant Pandas exhibit is part of the Asian Forest but deserves a special mention.

Lun Lun (female) and Yang Yang (male) came in 1999 on loan from China. Since then, their numbers have grown. 

The youngest Pandas in the enclosure are Ya Lun and Xi Lun, a set of twins born to Lun Lun on 3 September 2016. 

Outback Station

Zoo Atlanta’s Outback Station houses Australian wildlife, including Red Kangaroos, Major Mitchell’s Cockatoos, Kookaburra, and a Double-Watted Cassowary. 

Children’s petting Zoo is also part of the Outback Station and is home to goats, sheep, pigs, etc., for kids to get closer and pet the animals. 


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Wild Encounters

Atlanta Zoo offers four unique wild encounters that can uplift your tour. 

At an additional fee, you can interact at close quarters with the zoo’s wild inhabitants.

We tell you all about these so you can pick and plan your Atlanta Zoo trip efficiently.

Encounter with Rhino

Mumbles, Atlanta Zoo’s first southern white rhino, is the star of this encounter. 

At the start, a zoo educator introduces the visitors to facts and efforts to conserve this remarkable species. 

Then a Rhino Care Team member guides you with getting up close, feed, and touch Mumbles.

Encounter with Elephant

In this face-to-trunk encounter, you get to meet Tara or Kelly- two of the elephants in Zoo Atlanta. 

The encounter lasts for an hour, starting with a zoo educator informing you about the elephant habitat and behavior. 

After that, you meet up with a member of the Elephant Care Team and get to feed one of the elephants.

Encounter with Aldabra Tortoise

This encounter is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see, feed, and touch the Aldabra Tortoise, the world’s largest living tortoise species. 

Encounter with Lemur

This activity is a chance to interact with the most iconic native species- Lemurs. 

You can see and feed some of these marvelous primates. 

Lemurs are natives of Madagascar and contribute to making the island one of the richest and dynamic natural ecosystems. 

You can also learn how we can help protect and sustain these endangered mammals.


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Atlanta Zoo’s Ivan

Ivan, pronounced as Eye-Van- the western lowland gorilla, was one of the Atlanta Zoo star attractions from 1994 until his passing in August 2012.

His journey before arriving at the zoo is as fascinating as the time after. 

Originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ivan was an infant when he came to Tacoma in Washington. 

He lived in an indoor enclosure, first as a family pet and then as the ‘shopping mall gorilla.’ 

His solitary and enclosed existence caused a national outrage in the animal welfare and zoological communities. 

He moved to Seattle’s Woodland Park zoo before moving to Atlanta Zoo as a part of its successful gorilla program. 

Atlanta Zoo gave Ivan his first outdoor stint in a surrounding like his natural habitat in Africa. 

He thrived as he lived out the rest of his life like gorillas are supposed to live – amongst their own and in an open, natural environment. 

Ivan’s legacy lives on in Katherine Applegate’s book ‘The One and Only Ivan’ and his iconic “Ivan hearts Atlanta’ picture and beyond. 

Zoo Atlanta has diligently continued and enriched its pioneer gorilla conservation and preservation programs aiding the survival of these endangered species. 


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Atlanta Zoo’s Willie B

Willie B, another famous gorilla inhabitant, was the Atlanta Zoo transformation icon and lived here from 1961 until his passing in 2000. 

Named after former Atlanta Mayor William B Hartsfield, he lived in an indoor enclosure for almost three decades. 

More than twenty-five thousand people witnessed his transition to the Ford African Rain Forest outdoor exhibit in Zoo Atlanta. 

His legacy at the Atlanta Zoo lives on through the internationally- renowned gorilla program and his children and grandchildren. 

The memorial to Willie B outside the Ford African Rain Forest is one of the most popular photo spots in Zoo Atlanta.


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Atlanta Zoo map

If you wish to cover Atlanta Zoo in good time, it is best to get the zoo map. 

A map can help you locate the enclosures and sections and the facilities such as Rest Rooms, Restaurants, Playgrounds, Medical Room, Stroller/Wheelchair rentals, Parking, and Souvenir shops. 

Maps can be convenient for families who may want to start viewing their favorite animals and creating their itinerary in advance. 

You can download the map (320 Kb) or bookmark this page for later.


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Restaurants in Atlanta Zoo

If you don’t plan to carry food, you need not worry. 

Nourish Café, the flagship restaurant at Atlanta Zoo, has a lavish spread- classic burger, hot dogs, made-to-order flatbreads, salads, sandwiches. 

Located in the Grand Patio of the zoo, it also offers vegetarian and vegan entrees. You can also get gluten-free buns and flatbreads upon request. 

If you want more treats, check out these food outlets spread across Zoo Atlanta:

Ooz Grilled Cheese Truck: Gourmet Grilled Cheese Sandwiches and Crispy Tater Tots
The Coop Food Truck: Hand-Breaded Chicken Tenders and Fries
Fro-Zen: Ice Creams, Pop Corns, Cotton Candy, and more
Willie B’s: Pizzas
Flamingo Joe’s: Hot Beverages and Cold Treats
Sweetwater Beer Garden: Chilled Beers 

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Hiral Sachde Thakkar: She works for Wordsmith Digital and loves beaches with golden sands and big waves. Islands to nature trails; cruises to urban landscapes she loves vacations with a right mix of fun, culture and adventure. Favourite Cities: Dubai, London and San Francisco.

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