The LAIR (Living Amphibians, Invertebrates, and Reptiles) is the newest exhibit to open at the Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens. The facility encompasses several visually stunning areas that include habitats for various unique and endangered species. The LAIR is one of the few reptile and amphibian-focused facilities to open within the past decade in a North American zoo.
The unique collection in the LAIR comprises some of the rarest species among North American zoos – some of which are not showcased anywhere else in the world and others that have never been displayed at the Los Angeles Zoo until now. Zoo Director John Lewis comments that “the LAIR is home to fantastic and stunning creatures that were present on Earth well before humans arrived, but now unfortunately depend on us for their survival.” Over 60 species of amphibians, invertebrates, and reptiles are represented in this assortment of living jewels. Each habitat is beautifully themed with hand-painted murals of damp and misty forests, rainforest canopies, red rock formations, mountain ranges and vistas, and dry arid deserts to exemplify the natural environments of the many diverse species.
Entrance/Oak Woodland Pond
Upon entering the LAIR’s exhibit area, your are welcomed by the native residents of Oak Woodland Pond. This organically inhabited exhibit is designed specifically to provide a habitat that the local wildlife of Griffith Park and Southern California reside in.
The Desert LAIR
The LAIR’s secondary building represents the semi-arid desert climate of Mexico, Arizona, and our own backyard – Southern California. The Desert LAIR houses snakes, lizards, turtles, and scorpions. Visions of lightning and the sounds of thunderstorms and monsoons wisp through your ears mimicking the weather sporadically encountered in these dry climates.
When you travel through the Crocodile Swamp you encounter the LAIR’s false gharial exhibit. You can look down into this endangered species’ pool to get a glimpse of the intimidating species of crocodile found in Southeast Asia. False gharials can reach a length of 15 feet long.
Arroyo Lagarto literally translates to “lizard stream” in Spanish. This outdoor desert environment features a potpourri of reptile species including California’s official state reptile – the desert tortoise. The neighboring radiated tortoise habitat adds to the showcase of reptile diversity. Just beyond both outdoor habitats lies a garden of tough, distinctive, and typical desert plants ranging from Mexico to Southern California.
- The LAIR encompasses over 60 species of amphibians, invertebrates, and reptiles from around the world.
- There are a total of 49 exhibits; each exhibit closely resembles the natural ecosystem of its inhabitants.
- The LAIR is comprised of 6 diversely themed areas: the Damp Forest, Betty’s Bite and Squeeze room named after Betty White, co-chair of the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association, Care and Conservation room, Behind the Glass, Arroyo Lagarto, and the Desert LAIR.
- The LAIR’s principal building is 6,289 square feet. The Desert LAIR building is 2,085 square feet.
- The LAIR is one of a few facilities built in North America within the past decade that specifically focuses on reptiles and amphibians.
- All murals are hand-painted by different artists and represent the natural habitats of the LAIR’s species including mountainous regions of China, Central America, and Mexico; lush forests of Africa, South America, and the Philippines; river banks of New Zealand, Australia, and Louisiana; deserts of Southern California, Arizona, and Mexico.
- The outside benches that provide seating for guests are recycled from the pine trees removed during the building’s construction.
- Many exhibits within the LAIR have UV basking lights and heated floors to provide the proper care for the animals.
See a video on the LAIR here featuring Betty White and Slash.
This facility showcases species in as close to a natural environment as captivity can provide and will give you the opportunity to view many rare and unusual creatures, that most would never have the opportunity to see in person. Visit and tell us your experience.
WHAT: The LAIR
WHEN: Monday – Sunday | 10 am – 5 pm
WHERE: Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens | 5333 Zoo Drive | Los Angeles, CA 90027
CONTACT INFO: (323) 644-4200
- L.A. Zoo opens $14-million reptile ‘condominium’ today (latimesblogs.latimes.com)
- Slash, Betty White Star In New Los Angeles Zoo Ad (losangeles.cbslocal.com)
- L.A. Zoo Opening New Reptile House (laist.com)
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