Spend Time with the Animals - Local Zoos & Habitats
SoCal's wonderful weather makes an ideal location for some of the largest animal sanctuaries in the nation. Many opportunities to get up close to
both wild and companion animals are within Santa Clarita and Los Angeles County. We include map links with directions.
Please note that while many of these rescues and sanctuaries do not charge an admission, most are run by volunteers with very little funding--if any.
They all appreciate your donations, and many seek volunteers to love and work with the animals. Also, many are located at personal residences, so
please call ahead as requested.
Please visit our Calendar of Events for specific tour and 'up close' opportunities.
Featured Listing, Whale Watching Los Angeles:
Newport Landing Whale Watching
Amazing fun for the whole family, and at an unbeatable price! Don't miss this rare opportunity for the experience of a lifetime--which you'll make a
family tradition. Visit our Special Offers page
for your discount from Newport Landing for your passport to
great family fun!
400 Main St, Newport Beach
A non-profit organization providing hands-on learning experience, touch tanks, and daily activities. Suitable for small children. Limited hours.
24631 Arch Street, Newhall
William S. Hart Park
Chickens, horses, pigs and other barnyard animals (over 50!) await your visit at the barnyard zoo in William S. Hart Park. Admission is free.
Open daily 9:00 am to 4:00 pm (close early on holidays). Get a virtual tour here.
The best time to visit the barnyard is between 12:30-2:00 for afternoon feeding. The geese
form a procession from the duck pond back to their enclosures for their meal. Pellets are available to purchase in a dispenser next to the chicken
coop. (Bring your quarters!) Is it the bison you want to see? Come in the morning between 9-10:00 right after they've been fed.
24151 Newhall Avenue, Santa Clarita
Steckel Park Aviary
Refurbished in 2013, this aviary is open to the public and a long-time favorite of locals. Some of the species you'll view: peacock, cockatoo,
cockatiels, parakeets, parrots, peafowl, pigeons, doves, geese. Shaded picnic areas, updated bathrooms.
8080 Mistletoe Road, Santa Paula
(Off Highway 150)
William S. Hart Park
Museum Information: 661-254-4584
Park Information: 661-259-0855
Several bison roam the hillside near the William S. Hart Museum, donated by Disney in 1962. Park the car in the lot and walk up the drive toward the
mansion. They can be difficult to spot; look for the chain link fence 'feeding area' to your right just before you reach the mansion. They are
usually there every day between 6:30-noon, and then again at 4:00 pm for feeding. If it is blazing hot, they may be resting in the shade at the
bottom of the hill near the Senior Center, or drinking from their watering trough. Or they could be roaming anywhere on the hillside around the
mansion. Free. While there, stop in for a tour of the mansion, offered Wednesday--Sunday, hours vary. Free.
24151 Newhall Avenue, Santa Clarita
Exotic Animal Encounters
America's Teaching Zoo, Moorpark College
Open to the public on Saturdays & Sundays from 11:00 am - 5:00 pm. Wildlife education shows and carnivore feeding demonstration at regularly
scheduled times, free with admission. Up-close and personal opportunities also available.
7075 Campus Road, Moorpark
Animal Tracks, Inc.
Tour-hour ranch tours are offered for ages 5+ where you'll get to see everything from an alligator to a Wallaby, and interact with some of the animals.
Or register for one of their private experiences, including hugging monkeys! (ages 16+)
10234 Escondido Canyon Road, Agua Dulce
Feline Conservation Center
Also known as "The Cat House" this big cat rescue is just 40 minutes outside of Santa Clarita in Rosamond. Not only are kids always welcome and the
admission nominal, but there are special events such as Twilight Tours and Kids Day! And they are always in need of volunteers.
3718 60th Street W, Rosamond
Gibbon Conservation Center
Technically an ape, these animals are smaller than a chimpanzee and do not have tails. The forty gibbons at the Gibbon Conservation Center live as
families in outdoor enclosures on the 2.5-acre site located across the street from Lombardi Ranch on Bouquet Canyon. The gibbons will entertain you
with their beautifully pitched voices and acrobatic antics. Call ahead and join a scheduled tour, or reserve a private tour. Tours are also open to
the public on Saturdays and Sundays. The center is always looking for volunteers, age 18 and over. Admission is tax deductible.
19100 Esguerra, Saugus
Hollywood Animals Exotic Animal Training School
Get up close to animal actors during a one day seminar, or ride an elephant during a private animal encounter. Location will be disclosed after
making reservation. Located in Santa Clarita
Shambala Preserve, an 80-acre wildlife habitat, is a haven for endangered and exotic big cats. African lions, Siberian and Bengal tigers, leopards,
servals, mountain lions, bobcats, a lynx, a Florida panther, a snow leopard, and a cheetah all reside at this sanctuary--the only one like it in the
United States. Open periodically for public tours to visitors 18 and over.
6867 Soledad Canyon Road, Acton
Farm Sanctuary Animal Acres
Open year 'round on Saturdays and Sundays. Guided one-hour tours are held 11am, 1pm, and 3pm. Always
call ahead to avoid disappointment.
Reservations are not required, but to visit with the animals you do need to join a guided tour.
5200 Escondido Canyon Road, Acton
The Gentle Barn
This animal rescue shelter opens its doors to the public Sundays from 10:00 am - 2:00 pm. Teaching kindness and compassion to animals, you'll have an
opportunity to not only interact with the pigs, but to brush the horses, hug the cows, hold the chickens, hang out with a turkey, and pet the goats
15825 Sierra Hwy, Santa Clarita
Rivendel Animal Sanctuary
The passion of this sanctuary is to save ponies, horses and donkeys. They also have rescued other abused animals. All of the animals here are not
suitable for adoption. The public is welcome to visit by appointment. Location will be provided when you call.
Wildlife, Snakes, Tarantulas
Placerita Nature Center
Get up close and personal with some of the scariest insects and reptiles from our area. Saturdays at 1:00 PM the Placerita Nature Center staff bring
out these creatures to give you an opportunity to touch them. The Interpretive Center's grand opening was February 2015 and features animal
enclosures, an observation deck with two telescopes to observe nearby wildlife, a classroom, gift shop, and patio. It is open Tuesday - Sunday,
closed on Mondays, 9-5. Free.
19152 Placerita Canyon Road, Santa Clarita
Home to a pack of ten Alaskan wolves, the foundation seeks to educate children of all ages about the wolves' contribution to the environment. Meet and
play with the wolves! Reservations are required to join a Saturday tour.
18832 Pine Canyon Road, Lake Hughes
Updated January 14, 2017