The storks must have been working overtime, because at our very own Los Angeles Zoo there’s been a huge number of babies born this year, and we don’t mean the ones in strollers. And as every parent knows, there’s nothing quite as cute as the youngest members of any species, so grab your own wee ones and head on out to oooh and aaah over the new additions at the Zoo.
photo: Wendy Fontaine
Cutest, By A Neck: Leo
If a giraffe isn’t on every toddler’s “must-see-every-time” list, we don’t know what is. And what’s even better than a giraffe? Why, a baby giraffe of course. Standing 6 feet tall and weighing 170 lbs at birth, baby Leo was born last November, and is the proud offspring of mom Hasina and dad Artemus. This healthy baby boy can grow to be 18 feet tall and reach 3000 lbs by the time he is full grown. But for now he’s easy to spot as he’s the littlest guy in the herd, seconded by his big sister Sofie, who is in the midst of her terribly-tall twos.
photo: Jamie Pham
Most Likely To Monkey Around: All 5 Chimpanzees
Right now it’s easy to mistake the chimp habitat for a daycare center. It currently houses 5 (see if you can spot them all) babies between zero and 3 years old. Not to worry, though, these mamas have help. There are 4 generations of chimps in residence, led by 48 year old Great-Grandma Pandora, so there are plenty of aunties to lend a simian hand. Look for baby Johari, who will be a year in October, and baby Oliver, who refused to nurse and had to be bottle fed round the clock by a team of dedicated zookeepers. If you don’t see them by the steps, check out the Penthouse, where they’ll be frolicking amid ropes and swings.
photo: Jamie Pham
Triple the Fun: Endangered (Baby) Giant Otters
Who’s the famous set of three sleek, dark haired siblings? Nope, not the Kardashians, we’re talking about giant otters. These gorgeous triplets, two males and one female, were born in March at the new Rainforest of the Americas exhibit. They joined their playful family of a mom, dad, brother and sister, who were the first babies born in the habitat last September. The helpful older siblings can be seen assisting their parents in teaching the newcomers their swimming skills, so look for all of them joyfully slipping and sliding down the water slide.
photo: Emi Ruzzin
Biggest Surprise: Baby Rosie
Guess who was the “happy accident” who weighed nearly 100 lbs at birth? No secret, it’s baby Rosie the hippopotamus. Mom Mara was on birth control to comply with the Species Survival Program, which is designed to choose the best mating matches for conservation efforts, but zookeepers suspected she might have a bun in the oven when she started rapidly gaining weight. You can see baby Rosie who is about to celebrate her first birthday on Halloween, sticking close to her mom and following her around wherever she goes. Dad Adhama engages her in lots of play, but this little one is definitely a mama’s girl. Check out the feeding times to see this hungry, hungry hippo munching on whole heads of lettuce and other assorted veggies. She’ll teach your kids that eating healthy is the way to grow up to be big and strong!
Biggest Question Mark: Baby Howler Monkey
Boy or girl? Nobody knows yet the gender of the newest little monkey that was born on July 31. This black haired beauty can be seen cradled in his or her mom’s arms as she (he?) climbs all over the habitat in the Rainforest of the Americas exhibit. You can also spot big sis, born in January. Listen for them making their signature (loud) howl across the zoo.
photo: Emi Ruzzin
Most Cold Blooded: Baby Viper
No, not the one parked next to the Tesla. Zookeepers had to reproduce near freezing Armenian winter conditions to have these successful births, but lucky for us, they finally got the right temperature. There are eight of these little guys and gals, born to two moms in mid-July. Look for them behind the glass in little terrariums at the Care and Conservation Room in the LAIR. (Fun fact: unlike most snakes, these vipers give birth to live young.)
photo: Emi Ruzzin
Most Touchable: Baby Kids
Last but not least, let the kids touch and brush these kids. Of course, we mean the triplet Nigerian dwarf goats born to mom Lacey and the single kid born to mom Glory, right in the Winnick Family Children’s Zoo, commonly known as the Petting Zoo. These gentle kiddos can usually be seen resting against each other and their mamas as they receive attention from small but eager human hands. They don’t seem to mind the gentle petting and brushing, so grab the camera for some cute photo ops.
And Lots More…
There are more young ’uns to visit—baby kangaroos, koalas and all sorts of deer and monkey varieties, just to name a few. Learn what a Visayan warty pig is and why he’s warty; find out if the baby female bighorn sheep has horns; how many prongs are on the horn of the baby pronghorns…and what exactly is a pronghorn, anyway?
Answer these questions and the dozens more that your little ones will come up with, on your next visit to meet the babies at the zoo. Take along hats, sunblock and definitely lots of ice in your water bottle—many of the exhibits are in full sun.
Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Garden
5333 Zoo Dr.
Hours: Daily 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Closed Christmas Day
Price: $20/adult, $15/child, kids two and under are free
Who is the biggest baby? The longest baby? The tallest baby? Your favorite baby? Tell us about your visit to see the babies at the Zoo.