Eden on a river bend
animal park in an urban setting, New Orleans' Audubon Zoo is a 58-acre (23-hectare) "Eden" on a bend of the mighty Mississippi River in New Orleans' Audubon Park, not far from the city's central business district and the famed French Quarter.
The Audubon boasts a pair of 6 1/2-foot (2-meter) Komodo dragons, a Louisiana Swamp Exhibit, and the new Jaguar Jungle exploration of Mayan culture. This spring, the zoo has a pair of primate youngsters -- a gorilla and an orangutan -- so visitors can get a close look at growing primates.
Part of the Audubon's appeal is its setting -- amid giant oaks and rustic buildings constructed by the New Deal WPA program.
And that's not all. The Zoo is also associated with the Aquarium of the Americas, the Entergy IMAX Theatre, the Louisiana Nature Center, and the under-construction Audubon Living Science Museum. It all means that a visit to the Big Easy isn't all Creole food and Zydeco blues.
Audubon Zoological Garden
6500 Magazine St., New Orleans; (504) 581-4629
Web site: http://www.auduboninstitute.org/html/aa_zoomain.html
FAST FACT: Zoo features rare white alligators, found in a Louisiana swamp. The 'gators are not albinos -- they are actually white -- and have blue eyes.
Photos courtesy the Audubon Zoo.