Holiday Light Safari logo

Holiday Light Safari opens Thanksgiving weekend

See Alexandria Zoo in a different light at Holiday Light Safari. Create wonderful holiday memories with a casual stroll through the Zoo’s colorful environment sparkling with thousands of lights and whimsical lighted animal figures, hop aboard the train for a merry ride, and share your wish list with Santa.

Alexandria Zoo is lighting up the season on select nights in November and December, beginning Thanksgiving weekend. Holiday Light Safari will be open November 26-27 and December 3-5, 10-12, 17-19, 22-23, and 26-29 from 5:30 – 9 p.m. (last entry 8 p.m.). The extra nights of lights this year will allow guests even more opportunities to safely enjoy one of Cenla’s favorite holiday traditions.

Admission is $8 for ages 4 and up, $6 for for FOTAZ Members, and free for ages 3 and under.

Holiday Light Safari is a separately-ticketed event. The zoo closes at 4:30 pm (last admission 3:30 pm) and re-opens as Holiday Light Safari at 5:30 pm. FOTAZ Memberships and other Zoo Passes are not valid during Holiday Light Safari. In the event of inclement weather, the decision to cancel an evening of Holiday Light Safari will be announced via the Zoo’s facebook page.

child and lion

Open daily beginning Nov. 1

Alexandria Zoo will be open to the public seven days a week beginning Monday, November 1. The Zoo's hours will remain the same (Open 9 am. Last Entry 3:30 pm. Closed 4:30 pm.)

Andean bear with pumpkin

Lagniappe Series: Fall Fun

Enjoy “a little something extra” on October 23 and 24 with Fall themed fun at Alexandria Zoo. Activities include pumpkin enrichment for the animals, fall decorations and photo ops, and a take-home craft (while supplies last). There are no trick or treating opportunities available. Zoo Boo will not be held this year.

Malayan tiger

Raise a glass for Alexandria Zoo

It's a night of great brews, great music and amazing animals at Alexandria Zoo's Zoo Brew presented by Walker Kia on Friday, October 8 from 6 - 9 pm.

Guests 21-and-over can stroll the Zoo, sip on craft brews and wine, and rock out to live music by Avery Michaels. Tasty food truck fare from Debbie's Meat Pies, Cheat Day, and Bayou Dawgs plus additional beer and wine are available for purchase. General admission tickets include a souvenir glass, two drink tickets, and beer samples. Designated Driver tickets include complimentary water and soda.

Enjoy craft beers and wine on tap from Southwest Beverage Co. including Huckleberry Brewing Co., Bayou Teche Brewing, Tin Roof Brewing Co., Great Raft Brewing, Urban South Brewery, Gnarly Barley, Michelob Ultra, and Babe Wine.

Guests (including Designated Drivers) must be at least 21 years old and present a valid photo ID. Babies or children are not allowed. Guests without a valid photo ID will not be permitted to enter the event. All sales are final; no refunds or exchanges.

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Malayan tiger

Alexandria Zoo mourns loss of elderly Malayan tiger

Alexandria Zoo is devastated to announce the loss of another treasured member of our zoo family this week. Due to age-related issues, it was determined that humanely euthanizing our adored Malayan tiger, Jammu, was the proper decision.

Jammu was the oldest known male Malayan tiger in the United States. Jammu was 22 years and four months old at his passing, making him almost twice the age tigers are expected to live. Tigers in the wild have a median life expectancy of 8 to 10 years old and 12 to 14 years old in human care.

Jammu was born in April 1999 and came to the Alexandria Zoo in February 2009. Jammu has lived an extraordinary life here for the past 12 years, being cared for and cherished by keepers and the public alike.

"Jammu has remained active and healthy until very recently, belying his extremely advanced age. In recent months, he developed cataracts and was noted to be less adventurous in his climbing activities but maintained an excellent quality of life," said the zoo's veterinarian, Dr. Rebekah Riedel. "However, over the last several days, he underwent significant loss of strength and muscle mass. Although the precise underlying cause is unknown, the most likely causes are not reversible. It is our responsibility and privilege to ensure that the animals in our care do not suffer. The decision to euthanize is not undertaken lightly, but was necessary and appropriate at this time.”

The pathology team at LSU veterinary school will be performing a necropsy to identify underlying disease processes. This will allow Jammu, in his passing, to not only contribute to the knowledge of his species but to directly educate and inspire a new group of veterinarians.

The Alexandria Zoo staff, and the community as a whole, have experienced tremendous loss this past month. Some of the zoo's most beloved ambassadors have passed away. Our staff is heartbroken with the loss of Jammu as we are still grieving and processing the loss of our much-beloved white tiger Hannah and our amazing tapir, PJ.

Tigers have been a part of the Alexandria Zoo for nearly half a century. Plans are to renovate the existing tiger habitat to welcome new Malayan tigers in the future and participate in the Species Survival Plan breeding program with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

Hannah the white tiger

Alexandria Zoo grieves loss of beloved white tiger, Hannah

It is with the saddest of hearts that Alexandria Zoo announces the passing of our beloved 18-year-old white tiger, Hannah. On Sunday, September 5, 2021, her health quickly deteriorated, and Hannah was humanely euthanized.

Over 10 months ago, Hannah was diagnosed with melanoma, a type of cancer, in the corner of her right eye. Two surgical procedures were performed over that time to reduce the size of the tumor. The location of Hannah’s tumor prevented complete surgical removal and made radiation therapy impossible. Typical survival time with this cancer in domestic cats is approximately 6 months, with complete surgical removal and radiation therapy. “We are very fortunate that Hannah survived as long as she did, and without any decrease in her quality of life,” said staff veterinarian Dr. Rebekah Riedel. “The seizure she experienced on Sunday was the first indication that her cancer had likely progressed. Knowing that there were no reasonable options to treat the cancer, the most important thing to us was to ensure she did not suffer.”

“Hannah has been one of the most iconic animals in the history of the Alexandria Zoo, and I am deeply saddened by her passing,” said Alexandria Mayor Jeffrey W. Hall. “I commend Dr. Riedel and the staff at the zoo for the outstanding care they provided since Hannah’s diagnosis, and for ensuring that she did not suffer and maintained the highest possible quality of life. I know I will miss seeing her interact with guests when I visit the zoo, and I am grateful for the 17 years she called Alexandria home.”

Former directors Les and Lee Ann Whitt brought Hannah to the Alexandria Zoo in December 2004 when she was almost two years old. Hannah became a fast guest favorite and an instant ambassador for all animal species. Hannah and Kumar lived together for many years delighting and connecting with visitors of all ages. When asked about the impact Hannah had Lee Ann Whitt said, “When Les Whitt made arrangements to acquire the two white tigers, I don’t think anyone could have imagined the impact these beautiful animals and their offspring would have on our staff, community and zoo visitors for almost 20 years. Their presence at the Alexandria Zoo promoted tiger conservation and enhanced appreciation of all wildlife. Hannah and Kumar will always be remembered as the most loved of all our ambassador animals. They, along with their offspring, touched the hearts of everyone who saw them.”

Hannah’s primary keeper, Becky Dentel, says that Hannah changed her life as both a keeper and a person. “I am so lucky and proud to have been Hannah’s keeper,” said Dentel. “It was such a privilege to have such a special relationship with such a special animal. Seeing her playful nature, hearing her chuff at me and spending time with her was something I truly loved and looked forward to every day. I will miss her beyond words and she will always have a special place in my heart.”

Hannah has been a connection for kids and adults alike from all parts of CenLa, and the legacy of Hannah and Kumar will live on at the Alexandria Zoo in all we do. Hannah loved to interact with guests, and she actively sought out play. Hannah would lay and wait for her fans to visit and shower her with adoration. “After 17 years of living with us at Alexandria Zoo, I will surely miss her fun-loving antics,” said General Curator Lisa Laskoski.

Zoo Director, Dr. Max Lakes, says that Hannah and Kumar’s memory will be instrumental in all things the zoo does moving forward. “Conservation, tiger breeding with the SSP, guest educational interpretation, and more will honor the most beloved of animals that have lived at the Alexandria Zoo, Hannah and Kumar,” said Dr. Lakes.

Brazilian tapir

Alexandria Zoo mourns loss of PJ the tapir

Beloved Brazilian tapir, PJ, lost her battle with cancer this week. She was recently diagnosed with oral squamous cell carcinoma on her tongue. This type of cancer is locally invasive; both the size and location of the lesion made surgical removal impossible. Her condition was closely monitored by animal care and veterinary staff. Indications of pain and discomfort were noted, and did not improve with medications. The decision was made on Monday, August 23, to humanely euthanize the 27-year-old tapir to prevent unnecessary suffering.

PJ arrived at the Alexandria Zoo in October 1995, and became a favorite of staff. PJ and her lifelong companion, JJ, had three babies during their time together. Staff are providing JJ extra enrichment and interaction to support him in this loss.

A close relative of horses and rhinos, the tapir is one of the most unique looking animals at the Zoo. The Brazilian tapir, which is found in wooded, grassy habitats and jungles in South America, can weigh between 330 and 550 pounds, and reach a body length of 6.5 feet. The tapir’s head extends into a short, fleshy trunk, which is actually a prolonged nose and upper lip that is combined into a flexible snout like an elephant's trunk.

Joel Sartore

Photo Ark visits Alexandria Zoo

Alexandria Zoo hosted National Geographic photographer and Photo Ark founder Joel Sartore on Monday, August 2.

“I’m here at the Alexandria Zoo to photograph a super rare animal in captivity,” said Sartore. “It’s a West African dwarf crocodile that is new to science, just recently described.” While at the Zoo, he also photographed a tayra, capybara, cotton-top tamarin, bobcat, raccoon, and fire ants.

Photo Ark uses the power of photography to inspire people to help save species at risk before it’s too late. Sartore has taken portraits of 11,000 species — and counting — in his quest to document our world’s astonishing diversity! He’s over halfway to his goal of documenting all of the approximately 20,000 species living in the world’s zoos and wildlife sanctuaries.

Hannah the white tiger

Beloved white tiger, Hannah, diagnosed with melanoma

logo Summer Safari

Summer Safari 2021

Students completing 1st – 6th grades can experience the amazing world of animals this summer at Alexandria Zoo’s Summer Safari! These weekly themed camps are an exciting opportunity for kids to dive into the natural world in a safe, hands-on environment.

Students of all abilities and learning styles can enjoy a fun, action-packed week where they will go on adventures through the zoo, encounter animals up close, visit with zookeepers, meet new friends, play games, and express their creativity.

Camps will follow safety protocols to mitigate the risk of COVID-19, including limiting class size and requiring masks indoors for children ages 8 and older.

Registration will open online Monday, April 12 at 9 a.m. for current FOTAZ Members, and on Monday, April 19 at 9 a.m. for non-members. Class fees are $95 for current FOTAZ Members and $115 for non-members.

Teen Trek will not be offered in 2021.


Alexandria Zoo now open 5 days a week

Beginning Wednesday, April 7, Alexandria Zoo will be open Wednesdays – Sundays, from 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. with last entry at 3:30 p.m.

Alexandria Zoo will continue to operate with a modified guest experience. The traffic flow remains a one-way trail with the number of guests allowed in the Zoo limited to eliminate crowding. All guests are asked to social distance by maintaining at least six feet from those outside your group.

Per Gov. John Bel Edward’s statewide face mask mandate, the face mask requirement remains in place for guests. In order to protect fellow guests, Zoo staff and the animals, all guests ages 8 and older are required to wear a face mask covering the nose, mouth and chin everywhere while on Zoo grounds. Some exclusions may apply, such as for those with special needs as defined by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and children less than 8 years old.

Plan Your Visit

river otter pups

River otter pups born at Alexandria Zoo

Mack and Emmy, Alexandria Zoo’s North American river otters, are parents once again. The otter couple welcomed their third litter, three female pups born between March 14-15.

Emmy and the pups will remain behind-the-scenes for the first several weeks while they bond and grow. Otters deliver litters of one to six young. Gestation lasts two months; however, young may be born up to a year after mating. Otters can delay the implantation of fertilized eggs for several months. When the female is ready to give birth, she retreats to her underground den, usually near water.

At birth, otter pups are born with their eyes closed and are entirely dependent on their mother. The three pups weighed between 4.5 – 5.3 ounces. Around one month old, the pups’ eyes open, and they become more active. At about two months, mom starts teaching them to swim. Mack will be separated from the pups for a few months as males do not participate in rearing the babies.

Alexandria Zoo participates in the Species Survival Plan (SSP) for North American river otters. Through Species Survival Plan programs, conservation institutions accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) work together to help maintain healthy and self-sustaining populations. SSPs also participate in a variety of other cooperative conservation activities, such as research, public education, reintroduction, and field projects. North American river otters are found in freshwater habitats across the United States and Canada.

To learn more about North American river otters, click here or stop by their habitat on your next trip to Alexandria Zoo. As a reminder, mom and pups will not be out for several weeks; however, you may see dad swimming in his habitat while mom and the pups rest.


Alexandria Zoo to reopen March 12

It’s been six long months since visitors have been able to stroll through the Alexandria Zoo, and we’re thrilled to welcome the community back beginning Friday, March 12.

Alexandria Zoo will reopen with a modified guest experience as we did last June following the first COVID-19 shutdown. The traffic flow will follow a one-way trail, the number of guests allowed in the Zoo will be limited to eliminate crowding, and all guests are asked to social distance by maintaining at least 6 feet from those outside your group.

To help protect fellow guests, our staff and animals, all guests (ages 8+) are required to wear a mask (covering the mouth, nose, and chin) everywhere inside the Zoo. Some exclusions may apply such as those with special health needs as defined by the CDC and children under 8 years old (though children 2-7 are strongly encouraged to wear masks).

The health and safety of our guests, staff and animals is the highest priority. We are continuously cleaning high-touch surfaces, offering free hand sanitizer at stations across the Zoo, and all Zoo staff are required to wear masks.

Alexandria Zoo will be open Fridays – Sundays, from 9 am – 4:30 pm (last entry 3:30 pm). Reservations are not required to visit.

Open / Available Closed / Unavailable
Outdoor habitats
Fish Feeding
Palm Cafe
Vending Room
Wheelchair Rental
Indoor habitats
Train Ride
Stroller Rental
Keeper Chats

FOTAZ Memberships
FOTAZ memberships that were active at the time of our closure will automatically have their expiration dates extended. Extension date information is available here. Please note new cards will not be issued. On your next visit, your card's expiration date will be updated with a sticker.

Hurricane Recovery
Alexandria Zoo has made great progress following the devastation of the 2020 hurricane season. However, there are multiple areas still under construction including the cougar and cassowary habitats. We appreciate your support and patience during our recovery.

Cleco Check Presentation

Cleco donates $40,000 to Friends of the Alexandria Zoo

Today, Cleco presented a $40,000 grant to Friends of the Alexandria Zoo (FOTAZ) to help rebuild and expand the boardwalk that will wrap around the new Aussie Aviary, an interactive habitat that will house approximately 150 Australian birds.

The original boardwalk for the Australian Walkabout, built in 2002, was heavily damaged by Hurricane Laura.

“Attractions like the Alexandria Zoo strengthen our communities, and Cleco is committed to investing in the communities we serve,” said Shane Hilton, president of Cleco Power.

Rebuilding and expanding the boardwalk will enable visitors to view the habitat for the kangaroos, wallabies and large flightless emu along with birds in the new Aussie Aviary. The aviary will allow visitors to see the birds up close and even feed them, a popular hands-on activity for the whole family.

“FOTAZ is grateful for this $40,000 donation from Cleco to rebuild and expand the boardwalk used regularly by visitors and staff,” said Lee Ann Whitt, FOTAZ board member. “The donation represents more than financial support of the zoo’s construction project. It demonstrates how Cleco continues to step up and support quality-of-life projects in central Louisiana, making sure valuable landmarks remain available to our communities and visitors.”