There are so many hidden gems in SoCal that sometimes I can’t figure out why people don’t know about these places! I just found out about this zoo thanks to my local moms Facebook group but had I not been from the area, I would have never known to visit. The America’s Teaching Zoo is seriously worth the drive if you are coming from the other side of LA County or even Santa Barbara area. Not too far from the coast (off the 118 and 23 in Moorpark) is a small zoo that is filled with so much amazing opportunities. Moorpark College has a teaching zoo for their students studying animals who eventually want to be zookeepers, veterinarians, and animal trainers. I just learned that there are only two colleges who offer a teaching zoo for their students, here and in Florida.
So what is so great about this zoo? It is run by students and they are so eager to engage with animals and visitors. There energy is what makes this place so enjoyable! They offer to educate you on the animals, so I was learning so much! This is nice for all of my auditory learners. Sometimes I read the post on each animal, and I can’t really process it all. But when I am listening, I can take in so much more. Another exciting addition to this zoo is that they have so many close encounters. In the duration of 30 minutes, I saw four different animals come out with the students. Sometimes you can pet them, but most of the time you can take selfies with them! We saw a snake (he was actually really cute), sugar gliders (like squirrels but cuter), an owl, and a parrot. Animals are on rotation, so next time I go, I will see different animals. I love that they offer an animal show (twice a day at noon and 2pm). They bring out an animal from each location (aviary, reptile, carnivore etc.) and talk about each one while they do tricks or walk around so you can get a better glimpse of them. My kids were so engaged (because you know how toddlers can be). The last thing I love about this place is that you can actually see the animals. I feel like when I go to a larger zoo, the animals are further away. But here, you can actually see them up close and it still feels safe because there are two barriers between and the animals.
Fee and cash? $8 for adults, $6 for children, and 2 and under are free! And bring cash because there is a tiny stand that sell some fun zoo items!
Parking: free and there’s plenty!
Potty for a toddler? There are two sets of restrooms located in the middle of the zoo. It is very doable to be on either end and rush over with your toddler! There is a changing table for our littles.
Breastfeeding mamas? There are a couple of benches and places to breastfeed your littles.
My hangry toddler!! Bring your own food! They sell soft drinks and chips (cash only), so bring your own snacks and lunch. There are plenty of places to eat. I like that I don’t have the temptation to buy anything so I save some money.
Entrance to the zoo, and make sure to ask for a map! We usually use it for our play at home!
Our close encounters with four animals!