You'll see a running theme in my recent posts: Air conditioning. Whether natural coastal cooling or the artificial kind, it's July. Stick me in a refrigerator please.
Therefore, I was pleasantly surprised when the Little Dictator passed on looking at the animals imprisoned outside at the Zoo, so he could play in the air conditioned Condor Rescue Zone. If you are unfamiliar with The Condor Rescue Zone, it is a GREAT indoor play area. To start with, it's simply an awesome place to run:
But, that's not all. Your kid can wear a condor costume for pretend play, read nature books, play with plastic fruit, take a ranger backpack and explore, there are even "treasure hunts" where kids can search for the animals listed on the clipboard in the photo below. Better yet, a "ranger" took over and did most of my parenting for me. An educational experience where I also get to be a lazy ass? Sign me up.
The Little Dictator and a new friend hunt for animals as a team.
That's not all. There is a second room with lab coats and medical equipment where the kids can pretend to be veterinarians caring for endangered condors:
An X-ray of a baby condor mistakenly fed human litter by its parents:
There are other interactive educational exhibits too. Or your kid can just pretend to be a condor:
The Condor Rescue Zone is open Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and city holidays from 10AM TO 4:30PM.
HOW I GOT THERE:
I will admit to cheating and taking our electric car on this day, but we have biked it many a time. It's hard for a cheapskate like myself to resist taking the electric car there because there is FREE electrical vehicle charging in the parking lot on the north side of the Zoo.
To bike there:
The ride from Silver Lake is very safe. You take the bike lane on Griffith Park Blvd. all the way to Los Feliz Blvd. Hop onto the sidewalk all the way down Los Feliz Blvd. while braking often to maintain sidewalk speeds. There are a few blind driveways and walkways along this sidewalk where, for the sake of safety, you should come almost to a complete stop before continuing onward. ALWAYS assume there will be a car pulling out.
At the bottom of the hill cross Riverside Drive. Then cross Los Feliz Blvd. where Riverside Drive changes names to Crystal Springs Drive. Crystal Springs has bike lanes the whole way to the zoo, wide right lanes, and a 25mph speed limit (which is often ignored). If you would like to bike next to even fewer cars, you can take the L.A. River bike path (in gray above). Fair warning: While the bike path is separated from cars, this stretch of it feels like an extension of the shoulder of the 5 freeway. It's loud and smoggy. I don't recommend this stretch of the bike path. I prefer riding in the bike lane on Crystal Springs Drive.
Once you arrive at the zoo, bike parking is located to the south of the Zoo entrance. To find the California Condor Rescue Zone, hang a right after you walk through the zoo's main entrance and keep walking past the bathrooms. Once again, hang a right and you are there!