The Audubon Zoo has been getting better and better with age. It's open on Tuesdays through Sundays from 10am to 5pm, and closed on Mondays. There's plenty of parking spaces, and the parking is free. New additions to the Zoo are: the Swamp Train that brings passengers around the Zoo for a fee, and gives educational facts about the animals along the way; the Simulator Ride is a ride that takes you through the Bermuda Triangle, under the sea, or through a haunted (it wasn't scary) mine for a fee; and the Dinosaur Adventure that shows different types of dinosaurs and lets you dig for fossils for a fee. Even if you didn't go in the Dinosaur Adventure, check out its gift shop. It can become a blessing on a hot summer day because it's always cold in there, and you might find something unique that you wouldn't in the other gift shops.
The Zoo is divided into different sections. The Asian Domain has the white tiger, elephants, a tiger, and camels. Near the Asian Domain is Discovery Walk, which is great for the little kids. There's different stations to see animals up and close, and a petting zoo in the back. If you walk around the Elephant Fountain, you can go look at the different types of money in the Primate park. Be sure to check out Menari, she's the newest addition of Sumatran orangutans since June of 2009. If you head left, pass the Roman Candy cart and a sign with a Komodo Dragon on it, you'll head toward the Reptiles. You'll see crocodiles, a variety of snakes and other reptiles, the komodo dragon, and a blue iguana. Inside the Reptile House you can see a turtle swimming inside one of the tanks. It's also cold in there as well -- if you're willing to enjoy looking at slimy company. The Dinosaur Adventure is near here. Next, the sea lions have their own tank before you get to the African Savanna, and be sure to go down the stone steps to see the bottom of the tank. Sometimes the sea lions like to pass by the window. The African Savanna has pelicans, rhinos, zebras, large turtles, and other animals. The best part about the Savanna is Monkey Hill. Not only can children play in the waterfall, but there's a small pool at the bottom where parents can dip their feet in the water. Still continuing along the path, you'll find the Louisiana Swamp area where you can see black bears and alligators. One of the best eating places, the Cypress Knee Cafe is here, and is a bit pricey. The white alligator and its gift shop is past here.
The last two parts of the Zoo are Jaguar Jungle and South American Pampas. Jaguar Jungle is a unique place because of the Mayan architecture. You can also dig for Mayan artifacts in the shade near the jaguars, and see a temple that says not to climb it. The South American Pampas is where you'll find ostriches, odd birds, and other creatures found in this region. Beyond here is the large bird house and a section devoted to frogs and amphibians. Following down the trail will find the Zoo's amusement park area with a carousel and the Simulator, then you'll be by the food court and near the Elephant Fountain.
If you visit the Zoo very often, I would recommend a season pass. It might be a bit pricey now, but it pays for itself after a few visits, 10 percent off of all purchases, and special invites to all-year events. Also, I found that the main gift shop didn't have as much as I thought. If you get the chance, visit all the gift shops around the Zoo. Even if you didn't pay to board the Swamp Train, the Swamp Train stations have fans that blow nice cool mist. Recently, the poet-in-residence took different quotes from poetry and made signs around the Zoo. Be sure to see how many you can find, and recognize.
Also, on select Saturdays called Endangered Species Day, you can learn more about endangered species. Children collect a bookmark and visit different tables around the Zoo, and they get a stamp. After so many stamps, the table at the front gives a temporary tatoo of a black bear, or a button pin that says "Audubon Zoo Endangered Species Day".