Sunday, January 14, 2018

Griffith Park Zoo

Griffith Park Zoo, circa 1940s
I am not a fan of zoos, but I am a big fan of Los Angeles history. So we jumped at the chance to tour the Griffith Park Zoo, which predates the current L.A. Zoo, just two miles from its former location. Amazingly, neither of us had ever been to the old L.A. Zoo.

Opened in 1912, the original zoo was built alongside one of Griffith Park's many hillsides, within walking distance of the area's historic merry-go-round. Many of the animals were donated by the movie studios and local moguls, who either died or grew tired of their private zoos. As was typical in those days, the animals were kept in cages. More realistic "pit" habitats were eventually created in the 1930s as a Works Progress Administration (WPA) project. 

Despite the apparent popularity of the Griffith Park Zoo, the animals were not well treated and so a modern, more humane zoo was opened in 1966. The old zoo now serves as a free picnic and hiking spot and is mostly covered in colorful graffiti.

The first thing one sees: 1930s habitats, built by WPA workers

Larger animals would have been housed here

Picnic tables now occupy one of the "pits"

Another pit

Stairs the zookeepers would descend to feed the animals

Cages for smaller animals

Horrible . . .

Inside a graffiti-covered cage

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