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What to Know About Visiting Zoo Atlanta in Winter

Some of Zoo Atlanta’s residents thrive in the winter time, and this may be the best time to see them running about! But that’s certainly not the case for all of the zoo’s animals. Here’s what you need to know before you visit Zoo Atlanta in the winter. 

Panda Bears at Zoo Atlanta in Winter, Atlanta, Georgia

Tips For Visiting Zoo Atlanta in the Winter

Even if you’re not a big fan of the cold, it can still be worth your while to visit Zoo Atlanta in cold weather. For some people, winter may be the best days to go to the zoo.

It’s never too cold to visit the zoo since they have plenty of cold weather animals that will be up and roaming about. There’s no reason at all for you to cancel your winter trip to the zoo, and I have plenty of reasons for you to make it your new favorite time to visit.

Wild Winter Days Discount

Zoo Atlanta knows that winter isn’t the most popular time for walking around outdoors and that some of its most popular animals are not cold weather animals, so it offers a Wild Winter Days discount.

The zoo typically offers this discount during the winter months and on those random unseasonably cold days.

Red Panda at Zoo Atlanta in Winter, Atlanta, Georgia

Fewer Crowds and Easy Parking

Visiting the zoo in the winter is perfect if you don’t like dealing with crowds. You could walk half the park without running into another person.

This also means you can get close to the habitats and not have to crane your neck just to catch a glimpse of an animal sighting.

The parking lot is nearly empty on some winter days, which is incredible because every other time I’ve been to the zoo we had to find street parking.

The City of Atlanta has recently implemented a parking fee at both the Cherokee Avenue and Grant Park Gateway lots. So you’ll now have to pay for those prime parking spots.

Parking costs $3 per hour ($12 for the day). Zoo Atlanta estimates the average visit is about 3 hours, but you may spend less time if it’s very cold.

Cold-Weather Animals

Tanuki at Zoo Atlanta in Winter, Atlanta, Georgia

If you’ve only been to the zoo in the summer, then you’re not getting the full Zoo Atlanta effect! Some of my favorite animals are more active in the cooler weather.

  • Giant pandas: Their natural habitat is the snowy mountains of China, so any snow that Atlanta may get is no problem for Ya Lun, Xi Lun, Lun Lun, and Yang Yang. Plus, the pandas have their indoor dayrooms where you can watch them tussling about as well.
  • Red panda: Zoo Atlanta has welcomed a new red panda, Jackie, to the family. Red pandas are well-adapted for cold weather, but they probably prefer when Atlanta’s winters are mild as their natural habitat ranges from 50 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Alpacas: Tuscany, Warrior, and Smurf are never too cold in the winter with their fluffy fleece.
  • Elephants: The elephants are usually out year-round, and you can also see them in their new indoor exhibit.
  • Flamingos: These birds are apparently very tolerant of weather conditions and will be found outside unless their pond freezes over.
  • Bald eagle: Sequoyah is a Georgia native and is coping just fine with this abnormal Georgia weather.
  • Scaly Slimy Spectacular: The indoor amphibian and reptile house is the perfect place to defrost and see animals from an array of climates.

Animals That Don’t Come Out in the Winter

Some animals have temperature restrictions and won’t come outside. Basically, if their natural habitat doesn’t get too cold, don’t expect to see them roaming about in below-freezing weather.

You aren’t likely to see primates and monkeys in the winter, as they don’t come outside if it’s below 50 degrees.

Other animals may still pop out from time to time, as the animals have the option of moving between their indoor and outdoor habitats. For instance, the clouded leopard who is not usually fond of cold was running all over its habitat for us, and we just barely saw the sun bears poking around after being fed.

I hope this helps plan your perfect winter trip to Zoo Atlanta! Give a wave to bears for me when you go!

Book your advanced Zoo Atlanta ticket here.

Visiting Zoo Atlanta in Winter FAQ

Is Zoo Atlanta open in winter?

Yes, Zoo Atlanta is open in the winter! The zoo is open year-round, and winter can be a great time to see some of their cold weather animals like the Giant Panda Bears, Red Panda, and more.

Does Zoo Atlanta offer a discount in the winter?

Zoo Atlanta does occasionally offer a seasonal discount during the winter. Check out their website for more information on the Wild Winter Days discount and see when it is being offered this winter.

How long does it take to go through Zoo Atlanta?

Most people will probably spend 1.5 to 2 hours going through Zoo Atlanta. If you want to go more slowly, stop for lunch, or let the kids play in the kids’ zone, you can expect to spend more like 4 to 5 hours at the zoo. It all depends on your pace and what animals are out!

More Things Happening at Zoo Atlanta

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What to Know About Visiting Zoo Atlanta in Winter

Have you visited Zoo Atlanta in the wintertime? Let me know in the comments!

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