Louisville is home to many great attractions: the world’s largest baseball bat, Louisville City FC, and (of course) the Louisville Zoo. With multiple changes happening around Louisville over the years, there are so many new and exciting additions to talk about.
Thinking about visiting? This post is the ultimate travel guide to Louisville Zoo, describing how to get there, what you can expect to see, paid extras, and everything else you need to know about visiting the Louisville Zoo and how to make your trip a successful one.
About the Louisville Zoo
Opened in 1969, the Louisville Zoo is a place of wonder for many who have visited here. After all, not only is it the Kentucky state zoo, but it’s home to over 1,100 animals, including both rare and endangered species. Because of this, part of the Louisville Zoo’s mission is to teach visitors about the conservation of our planet’s animals.
In addition to conservation efforts, the Louisville Zoo is also focused on creating a fun attraction for visitors. Many exhibits have been added over the past years, with many others to come as the zoo undergoes a gradual renovation. In fact, you can take a look at some of their plans and the projected opening dates for new exhibits in their master plan.
But besides their history and future, the Louisville Zoo provides many great attractions for visitors. This post will cover how to get there, the cost of visiting the Louisville Zoo, the different habitats and animals at the zoo, and more.
The above information and more can be found here.
Cost of Visiting the Louisville Zoo
The cost of your visit varies based on what day of the week you visit the zoo; the zoo is open 362 days a year (closed Christmas, New Year’s Day, and Thanksgiving).
Currently, the ticket prices shown are based on visiting between March 23-October 31st, with different costs on the weekdays and weekends.
Ticket Prices & Parking
- Weekday Cost:
- Ages 3-11 and 60+: $12.75
- Ages 12-59: $17.75
- Weekend Cost:
- Ages 3-11 and 60+: $13.75
- Ages 12-59: $18.75
- Parking is a continuous $6 throughout the year.
- Note that parking is not charged when you enter the parking lot. Instead, as you enter the zoo, you will need to show that you purchased a parking ticket at the ticket window or online.
The above information and more can be found here.
There are several discounts available at the Louisville Zoo. Some of the most notable discounts are listed below:
- Online Ticket Discount
- When you purchase zoo tickets online, you will receive a discount of $1 per ticket.
- Military Discount
- Active Duty: Free
- Dependents: 10% Off
- Retired Military: 10% Off
- Veteran’s Day: Free admission for active and retired military, as well as their dependents
- For more information on the military discount and how to receive it, click here.
- Group Discount
- A group discount at the Louisville Zoo is defined as a group of 15+ people (ages 3 & up) visiting on the same day.
- Group discounts are divided into the following age and cost categories:
- Ages 3-11: $9.75
- This is $3 off a weekday ticket and $4 off a weekend ticket if bought at the gate.
- Ages 12-59: $13.75
- This is $4 off a weekday ticket and $5 off a weekend ticket if bought at the gate.
- Ages 60+: $11.75
- This is $1 off a weekday ticket and $2 off a weekend ticket if bought at the gate.
- Ages 3-11: $9.75
- Ticket Discounts via Louisville Zoo Partner Hotels
- The Louisville Zoo has partnered with over 50 local hotels. If you’re staying at one of these hotels, you can receive a discount on your zoo tickets when they’re purchased in advance.
- Click here to find out more about how to receive this discount.
- Library Cultural Pass
- For those who live in Louisville and the surrounding counties, you may be eligible to receive a Cultural Pass through your local library.
- The Cultural Pass provides free and/or discounted admission to local attractions during the summer.
- In 2019, the cultural pass included free one-time admission to the Louisville Zoo on Mondays.
If you’re local to the Louisville area and plan on visiting the zoo several times a year, a zoo membership may be the best option for you. Zoo membership provides unlimited visits for 1 year, free parking. early entry, and more.
There are several tiers of membership available, with different benefits of each.
The cheapest option is the Individual Pass ($64), which provides year-long admission for 1 person. The most expensive option is the Family Plus Experience Pass, which provides admission for 2 adults and 1 guest (or 1 adult and 2 guests), 10 dependent children, and tickets for additional zoo experiences.
There is also a dual membership pass for the Louisville Zoo and the Science Center. Depending on the number of people you want to include in your dual membership, this pass will cost either $206 or $263 per year.
Food & Drink
There are several areas around the Louisville Zoo to get food and drinks. An entire list of these locations, what they serve, and where they’re located can be found here.
In addition to food & drink locations, there are also water fountains and soda vending machines located throughout the zoo. Soda from these vending machines will cost $3.50 each.
Large groups (15+ people) can purchase concession vouchers for their group before their visit.
How to Get to the Louisville Zoo
The Louisville Zoo is located at 1100 Trevilian Way, Louisville, KY 40213.
The easiest way to get to the Louisville Zoo is by car; parking costs $6 per car and can be paid at the ticket windows or a pre-paid pass can be purchased online; both passes are checked when you present your admission ticket to the Louisville Zoo.
If you don’t have a car, you can use a taxi or rideshare service; this option would also eliminate the parking pass cost.
Louisville also has its own bus system, called TARC, that can be used for transportation around Louisville during your visit. Using the TARC Planner, you can input your starting address and destination and TARC will give you instructions on which bus lines you will need to catch, directions on how to get to those bus lines, and the times of each bus stop. Information about the cost of TARC can be found here.
For more information about how to get to the Louisville Zoo, click here.
Getting Around the Louisville Zoo
The Louisville Zoo is essentially designed around a giant loop, as detailed on this map of the Louisville Zoo. This means that no matter which path you start with (as there is a path to the left and the right after entering the zoo), you will eventually cover both areas.
It’s important to note that one (or more) of the paths on this map are tram-only routes; however, these paths are not noted on the map itself.
Wheelchair, Scooter, Wagon, and Stroller Rental
The cost of renting a wheelchair, scooter, wagon, and stroller are as follows (current as of August 2019):
- Wheelchair: $10
- Electronic Scooter: $30
- Electronic scooters can also be reserved online in advance for an additional $5.
- Wagon: $10
- Single Stroller: $8
- Double Stroller: $10
These items can be rented after you enter the zoo, on your immediate left.
For more information on the cost of renting these items and the cancellation policy for reserving an electronic scooter, click here.
The Zoo Tram Shuttle
For those who want to visit the zoo, but not have to walk through all of the habitats, the Zoo Tram Shuttle is a great service.
With 6 pickup and drop-off locations scattered throughout the park, zoo visitors can easily and quickly get to the exhibits of their choice, as well as the zoo exit.
The Zoo Tram Shuttle requires no additional tickets to use this service; instead, they have a donation box located within the shuttle, with the donations going towards the Louisville Zoo Fund.
For more information about the Zoo Tram Shuttle, click here.
The Habitats and Exhibits of the Louisville Zoo
The Louisville Zoo is divided into different habitat areas that correlate with the continent that the animals are from. However, as someone who has visited the Louisville Zoo multiple times in my life, the actual division of these habitats within the zoo and on the map is not always the clearest.
According to the website, these habitats include:
- The Africa section is perhaps the largest area of the zoo and is located between Glacier Run and the entrance/exit of the zoo.
- In this area, there are over a dozen different animal habitats (including rhinos, giraffes, and elephants), a petting zoo, 3 separate paid experiences (described in the Interactive Experiences section below), 2 food/beverage locations, and a gift shop.
- For more information about the Africa section of the zoo, click here.
- The Australia section of the zoo is one of the smaller areas and is located next to Glacier Run.
- In this area, there are 2 animal habitats (Lorikeet Landing and Wallaroo Walkabout), 1 playground, and 1 dining area.
- At Lorikeet Landing, you have the opportunity to enter a giant aviary to admire Lorikeets. For an additional $2, you can get a cup of nectar to feed them.
- Located next door to Lorikeet Landing is Wallaroo Walkabout. This small trail allows you to walk just steps away from kangaroos. It’s important to note that although nothing is dividing you from the kangaroos, this is not a petting/feeding experience.
- For more information about the Australia section of the zoo, click here.
- Glacier Run is one of the newer additions to the Louisville Zoo, designed to look like a rustic arctic town.
- In this area, there are 8 animal habitats, 1 splash park, and 2 food/beverage locations.
- The splash park is a popular area of the zoo for kids and is free with zoo admission. Perfectly located half-way through the zoo, it’s a great place for little ones to cool off. There are also covered picnic tables located within the splash park for adults to sit at as they keep an eye on their little ones.
- Some of the popular animal habitats at Glacier Run include grizzly bears, seals & sea lions, and (of course) a polar bear.
- For more information about Glacier Run, click here.
- HerpAquarium is an entirely indoor area of the Louisville Zoo (minus a small outdoor komodo dragon habitat), featuring everything from fish to spiders to snakes to alligators.
- Besides viewing animal habitats, there are no other experiences within HerpAquarium itself. However, the ropes courses (detailed in the “Additional Attraction Experiences” section) are next door, along with a picnic area and a restaurant where you can buy food.
- For more information about HerpAquarium, click here.
- Located to the immediate right of the zoo entrance, the Islands habitat is one of the smaller areas at the Louisville Zoo and features orangutans, penguins, and even a tiger.
- The Islands exhibit includes both indoor and outdoor habitats; however, several of the outdoor habitats are also covered, protecting from the sun.
- For more information about the Islands habitat, click here.
- The South America habitat borders the HerpAquarium and Glacier Run habitats. However, the South America exhibit is probably one of the least intricate exhibits, as it is mostly just a walking path with a few exhibits on each side as you pass by.
- The South America habitat includes bald eagles, jaguars, and snow leopards.
- For more information on the South America habitat, click here.
Interactive Experiences at the Louisville Zoo
Along with seeing animals, there are several more experiences at the Louisville Zoo, both free and at an additional cost.
Camel Rides and Feedings
Camel rides and feedings are available in the Africa section of the zoo, across from the elephant habitats.
A ride on a camel will cost $7 for non-members and $6 for zoo members. Additionally, opportunities to feed the camels are available for $3.
Camel feedings only happen between 1-1:30. This corresponds with the break time for the camels (i.e. no camel rides) from 1-2pm.
For additional information about camel rides and feedings, click here.
Pony rides are a paid activity located within the Boma Petting Zoo in the Africa section of the zoo. Rides cost $6 for non-members and $5 for zoo members.
For more information about the pony rides, click here.
Overseen by one of the animal keepers, zoo guests have the opportunity to feed the giraffes for just $3.
For more information about the giraffe feedings, click here.
At Lorikeet Landing you can enter an aviary and be surrounded by dozens of lorikeets. Want one to fly and/or land on you? Your chances are greatly increased by purchasing some nectar ($2 each) to feed them with.
For more information on feeding the lorikeets, click here.
Glacier Run Splash Park
The Glacier Run Splash Park is FREE with zoo admission and gives kids a great chance to cool off during your visit. Located halfway through the zoo, the splash park features slides, buckets, and more.
For more information about the splash park, click here.
Boma Petting Zoo
Located in the Africa section of the zoo, the Boma Petting Zoo gives zoo guests the chance to pet goats and more.
For more information about the Boma Petting Zoo, click here.
There are 4 different behind-the-scenes tours available for zoo guests (ranging from $250 to $500 per group) that feature the group’s choice of Glacier Run, the Islands, Tortoises, or the Giraffes, Pygmies, and Wallabies. In addition to the tour, zoo admission and parking are included. However, behind-the-scenes tours must be booked in advance.
For this information and more on behind-the-scenes tours, click here.
- There are 2 ropes courses at the Louisville Zoo, the Sky Trails® Rope Course and the Sky Tykes™ course.
- Sky Trails® Rope Course
- This rope course is 2 stories tall and includes over 18 challenges, making it available for all ages.
- Zoo Members: $9.50
- Non-Members: $10.50
- 15+ Group: $8
- Sky Tykes™ Rope Course
- This kiddie course is for those 48″ and under and is set up so that a parent can easily help.
- Zoo Members: $4.50
- Non-Members: $5.50
- 15+ Groups: $3
- Sky Trails® Rope Course
- Ropes Courses Discount
- The ropes courses at the Louisville Zoo are sponsored by Great Clips. If you present your GreatClips receipt while purchasing tickets for the course, you can receive a BOGO ticket for the rope course. (This discount is valid in 2019 and may change in future years.)
- For this information and more about the ropes courses at the Louisville Zoo, click here.
- This solar-powered carousel is located just around the corner from the Zoo entrance, on your left.
- Single ride: $3.50
- Unlimited Day Pass: $4.50
- The train provides fun rides around the perimeter of the zoo; it’s important to note that this is not a form of transportation around the zoo (i.e. no stops to disembark).
- Single ride: $5.50
The Safari Ride Bracelet
(9/26/2019 Note: Since publishing this post, the Safari Ride Bracelet option has been removed from their website. I’m currently unaware if this is because the train is closed or if the bracelet been removed early for the season. Please call or visit their website for more information on the availability of the Safari Ride Bracelet prior to your visit.)
- The Safari Ride Bracelet is a one-day pass for unlimited carousel and train rides. This pass is only available from March 15th to October 31st.
- Cost of the Safari Ride Bracelet
- Members: $7
- Non-Members: $8
- 15+ Groups: $6
- The great part about the Safari Ride Bracelet is that if you ride the carousel and train once each, the pass has already paid for itself and saved you a dollar.
- Before you purchase the Safari Ride Bracelet, I recommend checking that both the carousel and train are operating the day of your visit. If only the carousel is operating, it is cheaper to purchase an unlimited carousel pass.
Keeper Talks and Training Demonstrations
The Louisville Zoo holds several keeper talks and training demonstrations with the animals throughout the day.
The animals that have keeper talks include:
- Mammals and Birds at the Islands habitat
- Pygmy Hippo
- Colobus Monkey
- Animals within the HerpAquarium
The animals that have training demonstrations include:
- Seals and Sea Lions
- Amur Tiger
- Polar Bear and Grizzly Bear
- Snow Leopard
When you first enter the zoo and are given a map, it also includes a paper insert that lists the keeper talks and training demonstrations of the day and what time they will be at. This information can also be found on the Today at the Zoo page. When planning your trip to the Louisville Zoo, it’s important to note that a few keeper talks only happen on Tuesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays.
Events at the Louisville Zoo
The Louisville Zoo holds many events throughout the year. Some of these events include:
- Wild Workouts
- Wild Workouts is a great chance to enjoy the zoo after-hours while doing yoga, Zumba, and more.
- Family Movie Night
- There are several movie nights offered throughout the year and is a great chance to go to the zoo for discounted admission ($5 after 5 pm). Examples of movies shown in 2019 include Incredibles II and Black Panther.
- Brew at the Zoo and Wine Too
- Eager to taste food and drinks from local restaurants, wineries, and distilleries? Now’s your chance! This is an after-hours event at the zoo with different price packages available.
- The World’s Largest Halloween Party
- Ever dream of trick-or-treating at the zoo while meeting tons of characters and joining dance parties? This annual event is a favorite among locals. (And one that I have volunteered with myself!)
For information on these and the other events held at the Louisville Zoo, click here.
Tips & Tricks for Your Visit to the Louisville Zoo
- Use the Today at the Zoo Page
- This page is updated daily and you can use it throughout the day to reference scheduled times for trainer demonstrations, keeper talks, attractions schedules, zoo hours, and more.
- Grab a Map
- Maps are offered when they take your tickets at the entrance and it’s hard to find extra copies anywhere else throughout the zoo.
- Bring Your Own Food and Drinks
- You’re welcome to bring your own food and drinks to the zoo as long as it’s not in a glass container and doesn’t include alcohol. For more information on the rules of the zoo, click here.
The Louisville Zoo has been a core attraction in Louisville for 50 years, providing both conservation efforts and education to visitors. If you’re interested in learning more about the Louisville Zoo, be sure to check out their website.