Frequently Asked Questions
- WHAT'S THE BEST TRAIL WHEN ENTERING THE ZOO?
It's better to begin with the path leading to the right nearest the train track, and
remember to always enter the Louisiana Habitat at the lighthouse entrance.
- WHERE CAN I FIND THE...
Public Restrooms: are located at the (1) Zoo Entrance, (2) in the building behind the performing pavilion, and (3) near the playground.
Train Depot: is near the entrance, on the South American deck.
Vending Machines: are at the (1) kitchen/restroom building behind the pavilion and at the (2) front entrance.
Education Pavilion: is between the Gift Shop/Zoo Office and the train depot.
Education Buildings A & B: are located on two sides of the Education Pavilion.
Palm Cafe: is in the commons area near the center Pavilion. (Seasonal) Concessions are contracted, operating during the spring, summer, and fall months, and also during special events or high visitor weekends. Scheduling is subject to change.
- LOST AND FOUND...
Lost children and articles are taken to zoo office and held until claimed. The Zoo does have an intercom system for locating or calling for individuals. Articles left for extended periods are disposed of.
- WHY CAN'T THE VISITORS FEED THE ANIMALS?
Only the fish and waterfowl can be fed food provided in the machines on the decks. All other animals require special diets provided by the zoo and should not be fed other items. Improper food items can cause illness or death. Other items (coins, plastic items, etc.) thrown into the animal enclosures can cause injury, illness or death if eaten by the animals.
- WILL THE ZOO ANIMALS BITE?
Yes, all animals are capable of biting. Even the deer. The animals in the collection are not tame. Some are manageable and some the keepers are able to go into the enclosure, but they are all wild animals and are capable of biting or worse. The snakes we handle in the education programs are also capable of biting, but because we handle them frequently and very carefully, they do not try to bite. If a snake or other animal used for education programs becomes aggressive or unpredictable, it will no longer be used for this purpose.
- WHY ARE THE ODORS SO STRONG IN SOME AREAS OF THE ZOO?
Many animals mark their territories by scenting. This is especially true of the cats
such as bobcats and ocelots. Even lions and tigers use urine to mark territory, and
their range is pretty far. These are natural smells one should expect when coming
this close to these animals. It does not indicate that the enclosures are unclean or
not cared for. Many animals will scent immediately after the keeper cleans to keep
its scent on the cage. The colobus monkey cage is a good example of this. Also
animals such as the otter, which are in the mustelidae family, just naturally have an
odor. The maned wolves have a skunk-like smell also. The areas housing animals
that eat fish, like the spoonbills, otters, and pelicans, are going to smell rather
strong. Remember too, that in our small zoo visitors are able to get much closer to
the animals than in a larger zoo.
- WHY DON'T WE HAVE BIG ANIMALS (MEGA-VERTEBRATES) LIKE ELEPHANTS AND GIRAFFES?
Elephants are social animals and should live in groups requiring a large amount of acreage. Elephants are very large and require large specialized enclosure that can be very costly. They are also very dangerous animals that require specialized care. The zoo may someday get elephants on a "guest animal" type of arrangement, but they would not be part of the permanent animal collection. Giraffes are planned for the African section of the new zoo (old baseball fields). There is no time frame for the development of this part of Africa at this time.
- ARE THE EAGLES WINGS CLIPPED?
The bald eagles housed in the Louisiana Habitat Exhibit (next to the dogtrot house) came to the Alexandria Zoo on loan from the U.S. Department of the Interior and the LA Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. They were shot or injured in the wild, and their wings have been partially amputated. They will always be flightless or grounded due to these injuries. This is also true of several red tailed hawks and other birds of prey you may see in the enclosure with them from time to time.
- WHERE DID ALL THE GIANT TORTOISES COME FROM? IS BIG AL STILL HERE?
Big Al (Aldabra tortoise) is still here and now has many companions in the African Experience. There is also an indoor enclosure for them, since they cannot
endure cold temperatures. Big Al's estimated age is over 70, but he could live to
be over 100 years old.
- ARE THERE ANY EXISTING CAGES OR BUILDINGS THAT WERE PART OF THE ORIGINAL ALEXANDRIA ZOO AND BRINGHURST PARK DURING THE 1920'S AND 1930'S?
The duck and turtle pool (originally a fish pool) made of small rocks located near the flamingo yard is the only remaining animal exhibit. The fountain is not original.
The Louisiana Habitat Exhibit is built in an area where City Park Blvd. and the infamous "Rock Garden" were. The Zoo salvaged rocks from the garden and have used them in different areas throughout the Zoo.
The "star pond" next to the snake exhibit in Louisiana Habitat were built during the WPA era in the 1930's.
- DO THE ZOOKEEPERS GO IN THE CAGES/EXHIBITS WITH THE ANIMALS?
The zoo animals are not tame although some may be manageable. The keepers do not go into the enclosures with any of the large cats, bears or most monkeys. However, it is necessary to enter some enclosures in order to properly care for the animals and disinfect areas. Caution is always used when entering any animal's territory. Dangerous animals are shifted to a separate part of the enclosure when keepers enter an area to clean or feed.
- IS THE ALEXANDRIA ZOO ACCREDITED AND WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?
The Zoo is accredited, first in 1986, then 1991, 1996, 2001, and again in 2008. Accreditation means that the facility, personnel, and administration meet or exceed the standards for a professional zoological institution as set by the American Zoo and Aquarium Association (AZA). The Alexandria Zoo is one of only approximately 200 zoos in North America accredited by the AZA.
- WHAT IS AZA?
The American Zoo and Aquarium Association is the world's largest professional organization representing zoological parks, aquariums, wildlife parks, and their staff members. It was founded in 1924 and its offices are located in Silver Spring, Maryland.