The Audubon Zoo occupies the southern tip of the Audubon Park and has a wide variety of both endemic and rare animals and is one of the few zoological facilities where one can find a white alligator.
The Audubon Park covers an area of 138 hectares or 340 acres and was set in place in 1871 on a plantation property owned previously by Etienne de Bore. The Cotton Exposition was held here in 1884, an event built around an imposing and ginormous building measuring four times the size as compared to the Superdome.
When the Cotton Exposition ended, Upper City Park (the former name of Audubon Park) was refurbished and was renamed in honor of James Audubon who was a famous bird expert. The park boast of several fountains, ponds and ancient live oaks and Audubon Zoo was one of the premier attractions which drew visitors to the park.
The Audubon Zoo is expertly landscaped and has a number of public plazas where visitors can admire the sceneries as well as fenced fountains and natural rendition of different habitats where the animals can be viewed. Particularly interesting among these reconstructed natural habitats is called the Louisiana Swamp where a number of alligators bath under the sun. There are also two rare white alligators exhibited here that were captured in New Orleans.
Aside from the white alligators, there are also two rare white tigers who call Audubon Zoo their home. The two rare tigers came from Asia. Of course, there are the ubiquitous lions and grand elephants. These imposing animals entertain visitors by doing tricks as well as chores such as picking up logs. The latter skill became very useful during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina which brought down many trees. When the show is over, guests are permitted to pet one of the elephants.
Another popular animal house in the Audubon Zoo is the Komodo Dragon, one of the biggest reptiles in the world, which can be viewed in the zoo?s Reptile Encounter. This particular attraction also holds several snake species such as python, boa constrictor and king cobra. For those who want to experience an African Safari without going too far, the Audubon Zoo also features an attraction called the African Savanna wherein African Wild Dogs, giraffes and rhinos roam around. Within this recreated Savanna is Monkey Hill which is incorrectly recognized as the highest point in New Orleans since another man-made hill found in City Park is higher by two feet.
Some of the other zoo attractions include the Mayan-themed Jaguar Jungle featuring spider monkeys, ara and jaguars. There is also the Primate Area featuring orangutans and gorillas while the South American Pampas houses beautiful multi-hued flamingos and tapirs. A petting zoo can also be enjoyed as well as a carousel for kids.