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Los Angeles Zoo Master Plan

Los Angeles Zoo is in the process of developing a new Master Plan to guide the future of the Zoo. This plan aligns with the Los Angeles Zoo’s mission, vision, and Strategic Plan. We hope our new ideas will help every guest make a connection with our animals and leave our campus feeling engaged, inspired, and impassioned. Not only does it contain the map for Los Angeles Zoo’s future, it also shares a vision of Los Angeles Zoo’s conservation role in supporting our local and international community in an ever-changing world.

Why A Master Plan?

A new Master Plan is required to address outdated buildings and infrastructure, changing animal care and guest needs, and to ensure the Zoo continues to evolve and be an example of a modern Zoo. The Zoo’s Strategic Plan (2016-2021) has established the foundation for the new Master Plan with the theme The Los Angeles Zoo: A Zoo without Borders. The Strategic Plan identifies pillars of change in the areas of Campus, Conservation, Community and Human Capital. These are the basis of our Guiding Principles.

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There have been many significant improvements and upgrades at the Zoo over the past 16 years; however, a new Master Plan is needed to guide future capital improvement efforts that are visionary and innovative and will power the Zoo for the next 50 years.
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Guiding Principles

Guiding Principles

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Conservation and care

Animal Conservation

Connect our guests to the Los Angeles Zoo’s conservation efforts, both at the Zoo and beyond our borders, to promote awareness of and compassion for threatened and endangered species. Sharing our success stories will encourage positive action toward conservation and inspires guests to get involved including actions in their daily lives beyond the Zoo experience.

Animal Care

Embrace innovation to pave the way to new standards in animal care. Prioritize animal welfare with exhibits designed to create habitats and supporting areas that meet each animal’s needs at all life stages: physically, mentally, and behaviorally. Exhibits will also balance the specific needs of individual species and exemplify the interrelationships within the animal kingdom.

Veterinary Science

Enhance our premier program of veterinary medicine by fostering collaborations with local, national, and international professionals and students, human physicians, universities, teaching hospitals, specialty hospitals, and wildlife organizations. As a resource in veterinary care and through active engagement in veterinary conservation and research projects, the Los Angeles Zoo will advance zoological medicine.

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Grow and sustain an engaged community to expand our reach and positively influence public participation in our mission by improving Zoo access, strengthening partnerships, expanding education programs and establishing our place as a community resource. Located in the urban oasis of Griffith Park, the Zoo respects its park neighbors and will endeavor to improve upon its legacy, building bridges, making connections and valuing the diverse communities we serve.

Executing Change to Secure Our Future

Create memorable and engaging experiences to inspire our guests to learn, care and act. The result will be guests who become our proud supporters and advocates, who are invested in our mission and who lend their voices as advocates for the Zoo and the preservation of wildlife and wild places.


Create learning environments where our community gathers to experience and appreciate wildlife, create personal and relevant connections to animals and each other, and foster a sense of place in nature by building the skills to enjoy a life-long relationship with the natural world.

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Organizational Culture

Employee Experience

Foster an organizational culture that embraces forward thinking, cohesive partnerships and promotes mutual respect to create a positive work environment in support of the Zoo’s mission. Enable employee success through a physical work environment that meets the operational needs of the employees which improves efficiencies and productivity.

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Guest Experience

Utilize an innovative and modernized Zoo campus to create uniquely memorable experiences and connections between guests and the animals. The Plan emphasizes patron amenities, improved vehicle traffic flow, parking, pedestrian circulation and way-finding, the creation of “gateways” or connections to Griffith Park and the Los Angeles River, and new architecture that will speak to the unique and iconic setting of Los Angeles.


The Zoo Campus will be designed with sustainability as a mandate through the use of recycled water, the reduction of storm water runoff, the reduction of energy consumption, and Net Zero consumption for all buildings. New projects will be designed to LEED Silver standards or better. We will emphasize source reduction and recycling in our daily operations and work towards a goal of zero waste. The new Zoo will connect guests with the natural environment, as well as sustainable ideas, with the desire to inspire our visitors to meaningfully reduce their own environmental impact.

Master Plan

Zoo Master Plan

What is a Master Plan?

A Master Plan is a document that that shows an overall development concept that includes urban design, landscaping, infrastructure, service provision, circulation, present and future land use and built form. The Zoo’s new Master Plan will chart its future development for the next 10-15 years, and will include the overall conceptual approach, drawings, sketches, graphic illustrations, maps, charts, perspective renderings, cost estimates, project descriptions, schedule, and project sequencing. The Master Plan will also be comprised of a conceptual design of the entire Zoo, an implementation manual for future actions, and an overall assessment of the capital costs.

How is a Master Plan developed?

A thorough review of the site, facilities, exhibits, infrastructure, and circulation will inform the development of the Master Plan. LA Zoo and GLAZA staff, in cooperation with Torre Design Consortium and a team of consulting experts will participate in regular workshops throughout the course of the project to formulate the Master Plan. The Master Plan development process is detail-oriented, and relies on the knowledge and experience of a large project team. A step by step development process is detailed below.

What is the Master Plan development process?

Study Initiation

The Master Plan development process starts with a deep-dive into past planning studies and the current facilities at the Zoo. This research will help to inform the initial development concepts, which will be created in diagrammatic form for further evaluation.

Site and Facility Analysis

The project team will evaluate all of the attributes of the existing Zoo site with regard to their bearing on future development. The criteria for further evaluation will be set, including available land, access, visibility, presence, and the relationship to other features of the surrounding area. Opportunities and constraints for future development will be identified. The project team will also review the new Strategic Plan and existing Business and Marketing Plan to reflect the latest thinking in zoological, aquatic, museum, theater, and cultural institutions design and development.

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Recent Facilities Performance Evaluation

How is the performance of the Zoo evaluated, and how can that evaluation help improve upon the existing Zoo features? This question can be answered by studying topics like attendance patterns through a seasonal, annual and historical lens; revenue generated by admissions, concessions and other areas; and market segments and visitor origins. All of these attributes of the Zoo will be evaluating during this step.

Market Context

There are other factors that must be taken into account that are outside of the Zoo’s control. Influences from regional tourism trends, local and regional population, untapped market opportunities, local attractions/competing facilities have an impact on the Master Plan. Simply stated, what else is in the Los Angeles area that may impact future growth at the Zoo?

Comparative Industry Outlook

Lessons learned from other Zoos are examined during the comparative industry outlook. What has been working in other areas, and will this resonate with Los Angeles residents and visitors? Detailed case studies, industry trends in supply and demand and profitability/sustainability are considered.

SWOT Analysis

A strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) analysis is developed based on the research that was conducted during the study initiation. The SWOT analysis yields the strategic planning recommendations for new facilities and other areas of opportunity for growth, like private and special event facilities.

On-Site Activity Opportunities

The Master Plan update does not strictly focus on just exhibit upgrades. Other facilities for events can add a tremendous value to the Zoo. New activity opportunities, including special event space and recreational elements are examined. The on-site activity analysis helps to establish the “peak design day,” which is an amalgamation of the total visitor experience such as length of visit, duration of exhibit experiences, visitor services layout, and the thematic development of “portals” or entry points to potential new exhibits and their interpretive experiences.

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Preliminary Definition of Development Concept

All of the research, concepts, sketches and analysis formulate the preliminary definition of the development concept. Here, the general idea of the proposed facilities is discussed amongst the project team. The group discussion leads to a summary of the themes and components of the proposed Master Plan, and how all of the design elements come together to shape the overall visitor experience. At this point in the development process, Torre Design Consortium prepares visual diagrams that begin to build the brand identity of the Zoo.

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The early draft of the Master Plan will be added to this website, once complete. The draft will be revised and updated based on feedback from key stakeholders throughout Los Angeles. It’s a great time for you to weigh in and let us know what you think! Your input is valuable, so we’ll be collecting comments through this website and in-person at public town hall meetings. We hope to see you in person, but if you can’t make it to our meetings, your voice will be heard! If you prefer to receive Master Plan updates via email, you can sign up to stay up-to-date here.

Review of Comparable Attractions

Relevant and similar zoological facilities will be reviewed to determine key facility, visitor and operating characteristics. The review will account for the types of attractions and exhibits, size, cost of admission, average visitor length of stay, and market size. This effort will help inform recommendations for new facilities and provide a basis for the Zoo to maintain its position as a premier regional destination in Southern California.

Preparation of Preliminary Master Plan

The Master Plan will begin to come to fruition in the form of a preliminary concept and thematic design, following the research and project team workshops. This step in the process includes enough detail for proper cost estimates. This is where some of the initial sketches start to take shape.

Physical Planning Parameters and Characteristics

The physical planning parameters and characteristics will be developed based on the analysis of projected peak attendance, or the number of people the Zoo can accommodate at its busiest. This information will be used to determine adequate visitor-related space requirements, including visitor parking needs with future expansion, and the inclusion of new facilities.

Preliminary Construction Cost Estimate

Based on other similar zoological facilities, the collective experience that Torre Design Consortium has with developing other plans and the research done for this project, an order-of-magnitude will be developed to forecast the preliminary construction costs. An order-of-magnitude is a model that helps to forecast construction costs in the future by factoring in inflation rates.

Master Plan Development

The project team will develop a new Business Plan based on findings from the previous research and analysis that will be included in the Master Plan, which will help to guide the Zoo Master Plan implementation process. The new Business Plan will incorporate assumptions for expanded earned and unearned revenue potentials over a 10 -15 year period. It will be based on a phased implementation and schedule of new exhibits, facilities, and products.

Final Master Plan Report

All of the research, analysis, planning, project team workshops and engagement efforts will combine to create the Final Master Plan. The final Plan will detail the findings and recommendations from the work, along with all of the supporting data and analysis.

Final Presentation

Torre Design Consortium and the project team will make a presentation for project stakeholders when the Master Plan is finalized.

Goals and Expected Outcomes

Creating a Master Plan is a detailed process. In order to meet the goals of the Zoo, ironing out all of the finer points is mandatory. The overarching goal for developing the new Master Plan is to provide clear and structured guidance for the next 10 – 15 years of development and implementation at the Zoo.


la zoo entrance photoThe landmark Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens serves over 1.7 million guests per year and is home to a diverse collection of 1,100 animals representing 250 different species, many of which are rare or endangered. Its lush grounds on 113 acres feature a botanical collection comprising over 800 different plant species with approximately 7,000 individual plants. Many of today’s exhibits and infrastructure are the original construction from 1966.

Get Involved

Get Involved

petting zoo photoWant to get involved with the Los Angeles Zoo Master Plan Development? Join us at a public workshop, sign up to receive email updates, or leave us your comments here.

Visit this website often to learn more about the Master Plan development process and how we are working to make the LA Zoo a centerpiece for the greater Los Angeles Community now, and in the future.

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