Prices: Adults $18, Seniors $14, Children (3-11) $13, Children under 3 Free
This delightful 40-acre zoo dates from 1889, when George W. Hall (aka "Popcorn George") brought his traveling circus to town. Employee claims for back wages forced Hall to relinquish his menagerie, and the animal entourage was purchased by a prominent Atlanta businessman who donated the collection to the city as the basis for a zoological garden in Grant Park. It grew considerably over the years and was a popular local attraction, but had fallen into disrepair by the mid-1980s. Director Terry Maple was brought in to rescue the zoo and oversee a still-ongoing multimillion-dollar renovation.
The turnaround has been dramatic. Today, Zoo Atlanta is one of the finest zoos in the country, with animals housed in large open enclosures that simulate their natural habitats. The zoo participates in breeding programs, many of them focusing on endangered species, and is home to endangered animals that include black rhinos, Sumatran orangutans, 19 western lowland gorillas, three African elephants, two Komodo monitors, and big-mouthed African dwarf crocodiles.
Currently, the exhibit creating the biggest stir is the Asian Forest, home to Lun Lun and Yang Yang, two giant pandas, and their two baby panda - Mei Lan, born in August 2006 and Zi Lan born August 2008.