Santa Ana Zoo, California

Jocelyn Murray December 2, 2013 No Comments


The Santa Ana Zoo is a small park perfect for families with young children

For a delightful feel of Central and South America’s flora and fauna, the Santa Ana Zoo is the place to go. This charming zoo highlights some of the wonderful plants and animals from Central and South America, and is perfect for families with young children because of its smaller size, accessibility, exhibits and activities. More than 80 animal species including some of the cutest little monkeys on the planet live here.   


The zoo grounds are lush and shady

With a message of conservation, the Santa Ana Zoo’s exhibits inspire visitors to respect and preserve the diverse wildlife of our world. There are many species of monkeys, birds, dromedary camels (seasonal), long snouted giant anteaters, porcupines and more, while guanacos (similar to llamas), and rheas and emus (large flightless birds similar to ostriches) roam about the lush, fertile pampas that are indigenous to the lowlands of South America. Shaded paths lead through the dappled light of large trees, tall grasses and lush landscaping that recreates the native habitats of the animals here. One gets the feeling of actually being part of the space whose open feel brings people and the surrounding exhibits together into a lushly immersive experience.



Pygmy marmosets are the world’s smallest monkeys

Monkeys steal the show here. There are black howler monkeys, spider monkeys, lemurs, capuchins, gibbons, owl monkeys with large round golden eyes, and an amazing variety of tamarins. These delightful creatures are native to Central and South America, some of which are small enough to fit in the palm of your hand like the tiny pygmy marmosets that are the world’s smallest monkeys.

Tamarins are small squirrel-sized monkeys that are just adorable to observe. There is the emperor tamarin appearing very dignified with its long white mustache; the golden lion tamarin (also known as a golden marmoset) with its flaming fluffy fur resembling the mane of a lion; and the cotton-top tamarin bounding about the branches of a tree with its soft white cap of fur.



The Scarlet Ibis is the national bird of Trinidad

Our two-legged feathered friends are right at home in this lovely zoo. There are colorful varieties of parrots, swans, herons, ducks, a bald eagle, emerald toucanets, blue-crowned mot-mots, the scarlet ibis with its stunning reddish-orange plumage, and more. The Colors of the Amazon Aviary is a walk-through exhibit that has many of these birds roaming freely through a 9,000 square-foot aviary that is alive with the vibrant sights and sounds of this sanctuary.


The lake view in the Amazon’s Edge area is serene

Another splendid sight is the Amazon’s Edge exhibit that invites guests to meander by a lake, waterfall, towering bamboos and verdant vegetation that invigorates the senses as only nature can do, while observing the birds, monkeys and other animals that live there.


Interactive Exhibits

The bright colors of poison dart frogs warn potential predators of their toxicity

Children learn best hands-on, and the Santa Ana Zoo has plenty of interactive exhibits that lets kids get up close to observe many of its animal inhabitants, as well as providing plenty of games and activities that are engaging and fun.

The Bauer Jaguar Exploration Outpost has all kinds of displays including poison dart frogs, a boa constrictor, a centipede, beautiful butterflies, a bird-eating tarantula and more, all safely ensconced in their enclosures. There are all sorts of fun learning opportunities about weather patterns, conservation, and the animals of the Amazon Basin.

Crean Family Farm

The Crean Family Farm has goats and other animals

A zoo would not be complete without a petting farm. Here guests can visit soft wooly sheep, goats, cute rabbits, chickens, ducks, a turkey, pigs, Exmoor ponies, a great horned owl, barn owl and more. Little ones and their parents will enjoy touring the zoo grounds on the Miniature Train Ride, as well as going for a spin on the endangered species Carrousel. A gift shop, café, and spacious playground area with picnic tables, slides and climbing apparatus is a great place to let children play.


Location & Hours

The miniature train ride tours the park’s grounds

The Santa Ana Zoo is a wonderful escape from hectic city life, and located in Southern California about 30 minutes from Los Angeles at 1801 East Chestnut Avenue, Santa Ana, CA 92701. It is open daily from 10am-4pm except Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day & New Year’s Day.

avatarAbout the Author:

Jocelyn Murray is a travel writer and historical fiction novelist. She holds two university master's degrees in both English and Education, along with a bachelor's degree in Economics and European Studies. She also has a teaching credential and taught at the elementary school level.

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