Nestled within the verdant expanse of Griffith Park in Los Angeles, California, lies the enigmatic remnants of the Old Los Angeles Zoo. This once-thriving attraction, which operated from 1912 to 1966, now stands as a haunting testament to a bygone era. Today, the decaying enclosures and overgrown pathways of the abandoned zoo evoke a sense of eerie fascination, drawing visitors eager to uncover its storied past. Learn more here.

Inception and Development

The origins of the Old Los Angeles Zoo trace back to the early 20th century when Griffith J. Griffith, the benefactor of Griffith Park, envisioned a recreational haven for city dwellers. In 1912, the zoo opened its gates, boasting a collection of exotic animals ranging from lions and bears to monkeys and birds. Over the years, the zoo expanded, adding new exhibits and amenities to accommodate its growing popularity. Learn more about Exploring Creativity and Culture: The Legacy of Barnsdall Art Park.

Golden Era and Decline

Throughout its heyday, the Old Los Angeles Zoo captivated generations of visitors with its diverse array of wildlife and family-friendly attractions. However, as the decades passed, concerns arose regarding the living conditions of the animals and the outdated infrastructure of the facility. Eventually, in 1966, the zoo closed its doors, marking the end of an era and leaving behind a legacy shrouded in mystery.

Abandonment and Preservation Efforts

Following its closure, the Old Los Angeles Zoo fell into a state of disrepair, becoming a forgotten relic within Griffith Park. Despite its dilapidated state, the site retained an aura of intrigue, attracting urban explorers, photographers, and curious locals. Recognizing the historical significance of the abandoned zoo, preservationists have advocated for its restoration and inclusion in Griffith Park’s cultural landscape.

Cultural Significance and Popular Culture

Over the years, the Old Los Angeles Zoo has served as a backdrop for various films, television shows, and music videos, further cementing its status as a cultural landmark. Its eerie ambiance and decaying structures have made it a popular filming location for productions seeking to capture a sense of desolation and nostalgia. Additionally, the site has inspired artists, writers, and filmmakers to explore themes of abandonment and urban decay.

Visiting the Old Los Angeles Zoo Today

Today, the Old Los Angeles Zoo remains accessible to the public, offering visitors a glimpse into its storied past and the opportunity to explore its haunting environs. While the enclosures may be empty and the pathways overgrown, the site continues to captivate the imaginations of those who venture within its confines. Guided tours and interpretive exhibits provide insights into the zoo’s history and its enduring legacy in the cultural fabric of Los Angeles.


The Old Los Angeles Zoo stands as a testament to the passage of time and the enduring allure of abandoned places. From its humble beginnings as a recreational attraction to its eventual decline and abandonment, the zoo’s story is intertwined with the history of Griffith Park and the city of Los Angeles itself. While its enclosures may now be empty, the spirit of the Old Los Angeles Zoo lives on, beckoning visitors to unravel its enigmatic past and discover the mysteries hidden within its crumbling walls.