Old Zoo Habitat

Experience History at the Abandoned Griffith Park Zoo

Exploring abandoned places can be a fun yet dangerous activity, and any major city has their share of interesting sites. Los Angeles is no exception. My personal favorite is the abandoned Griffith Park Zoo.

The zoo first opened in Griffith Park in 1912, and its popularity quickly outgrew its size. By the late 1950’s, Los Angelians realized a new zoo would have to be constructed and broke ground two miles to the north. When the Los Angeles Zoo opened in 1966, the animals moved from their small, stuffy cages to newer, roomier habitats. The Griffith Park Zoo was left abandoned.

Today, the old zoo is a converted picnic area and hiking trail. Many of the cages have been left open for you to explore.

It’s located on the east side of Griffith Park, in a secluded area that tends to stay hidden from tourists and locals alike. To get there, enter Griffith Park from Crystal Springs drive and follow the signs to the Merry-Go-Round. Park in the lot north of the Merry-Go-Round and follow the path west until you come to a staircase leading up to a clearing. Once in the clearing, look to the left and you’ll be presented with your first sight of the old zoo: the man-made caves that were once home to a variety of animal species.

You may recognize these caves; they were used in the 2004 film Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy as a backdrop for the “panda watch” scenes.

Beyond the caves, you’ll find a path that leads up and around the back of the caves. You can follow this for a short hike to a few more animal cages and other abandoned zoo maintenance buildings. You may also continue to the right along the paved path where you’ll discover an old bird sanctuary and a whole row of old, rusty cages. Make sure you save plenty of time to explore because there’s a lot to see!

As with all abandoned locations, use extreme caution if you decide to enter any cages or stray from the pathways. A few areas of the old zoo are fenced off and, despite the large holes in the fences, you are not actually allowed to enter these areas. Because abandoned structures do not receive any upkeep, they are at risk to crumble or cave-in without warning. The old zoo appears to be sturdily built, but I’ve noticed bits of rebar poking out from walls and broken glass littering the floors. If you get hurt climbing around in areas you’re technically not supposed to be, it’s nobody’s fault but your own.

Naturally, people explore these closed-off areas of the zoo all the time. There’s a plethora of amazing photography online to prove it. Just know that if a park ranger finds you in a fenced-off area, they will ask you to return to the path. I’ve never been chastised beyond this, but that doesn’t mean you won’t be.

And unlike many abandoned places, there are plenty of areas of the old zoo that you’re actually allowed to explore! The long line of animal cages on the west side are my absolute favorites, especially when the plant life gets overgrown (they trim it back on occasion). Many of these cages are left open for you to enter and look around.

So what are you waiting for? Grab a picnic lunch and head to Griffith Park to explore a fascinating piece of Los Angeles history!

Old Zoo Map

Continue reading…

March Currently

Currently, vol. 3

It’s been a busy month! I’m working regularly once again but have so far been pretty good about keeping up with this blog. It definitely helps that I decided on a few changes that I’ll be implementing in the coming weeks. These changes should help make blogging a little easier for me but also more fun for you to read!

On my weekends, I’ve done my best to get a decent amount of socializing in with my friends, but also take enough time out for myself. So far, it’s working out well! Next week, I’ll be off work, and I’m hoping to get a few fun activities in.

Here’s what I’m currently…

Reading: I finished Silver Screen Fiend and #GIRLBOSS this month, both of which I enjoyed quite a bit. I’m currently reading Blog, Inc., which I started back in December and am just now picking up again. I’ve heard a lot of great things about this book, so I’m looking forward to learning something new! By the way, if you’re interested in following my reading progress, add me as a friend on Goodreads! I’d love to see your recommendations, too.

Watching: [Movies] We watched four more Bond films this month — GoldenEye, Tomorrow Never Dies, The World is Not Enough, and Die Another Day. This means I’ve now seen every Bond movie ever made! We’re still planning to finish off the series with the Daniel Craig movies soon, for good measure. We also hosted another bad movie marathon this month, where we subjected our friends to The Galaxy Invader, Samurai Cop, and Shakma. And to finish off the month in movies, we also saw Birdman and Dodgeball. [TV] We tried out a few new shows this month! To start, we watched the entire first season of Silicon Valley over three days. It’s excellent, and I highly recommend it. We also watched the first episode of The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, which was funny, and we’re planning to watch more soon. Next month Game of Thrones starts up again, and we’re getting pretty excited for that!

Eating: We’ve been pretty good about eating at home this month, but still tried out a few new restaurants. Since I started my new job, I’ve discovered a handful of places in Culver City, including Lunch, Wildcraft, and Kay ‘n’ Dave’s. Eric and I also took the time to try some new spots in our neighborhood. The Pit BBQ was a random discovery in Burbank. Eric and I are both used to southern BBQ, so our expectations are high. While The Pit was good, I have yet to find any BBQ in Los Angeles that quite meets my high standards. We also visited Viet Noodle Bar in Atwater Village, which has good pho and nice service.


I would love to stay in this cottage in Yorkshire! The best part? It’s free! Instead of money, you pay in trade!
A collection of places that offer birthday freebies in Los Angeles!
This series of images of video game characters in real life scenarios is phenomenal.
I’m not sure if this Game of Thrones-themed rave sounds fun or awkward, but Hodor will be there to DJ! And it’s happening tonight in LA!
I love this tutorial for crafting pretty golden animal name tags!
Super excited for my friend Meera who just announced she’ll be directing the first-ever female-driven Wall Street Drama! Her first film is available April 10 on iTunes, but you can pre-order it now!
I love that we are now making Legos for girls that aren’t all pink and flowery. Have you seen the women of the Supreme Court or the new female scientist set?

And here are a few of my own posts you may have missed (to stay up-to-date, sign up for my newsletter):

How to Clean a Dungeness Crab
Visiting Industrial Light & Magic
Happy Birthday to a quiet girl in a noisy city!
Snorkeling in Catalina


My most popular posts on Instagram this month!

Most Popular Instagrams in March

Snorkeling Me

Snorkeling in Catalina

A few years ago, I went snorkeling for the first time at Lover’s Cove in the city of Avalon on Catalina Island.

Lover’s Cove is a protected marine preserve next to Avalon Harbor. It features a rock reef, kelp forest, and a vast variety of marine life including sea urchins, sea stars, lobsters, octopus, and several types of fish including California’s state fish, the Garibaldi. It is one of the most popular snorkeling sites on Catalina, due to its large diversity and abundance of sea life.

It’s completely free to snorkel in Lover’s Cove. Bring your own gear, or rent it from one of the many locations throughout Avalon for a small fee (most places are cash-only). On our visit, a mobile rental facility was available at the cove, complete with rental lockers and fish food for purchase. (This may be seasonal. I’ve seen a number of online reviewers complaining of not having a safe place to store their belongings. In this case, you can rent gear and lockers from locations at Avalon pier.) We visited on a Saturday in August, when tourist season was in full swing.

You can get great deals on snorkeling gear package rentals throughout Avalon. My fins, mask, snorkel, and shorty wetsuit were less than $15 for a two-hour rental. You will definitely want a wetsuit; water in this area is around 70° F in August, which is the warmest it gets. In the winter months, the temperature gets down to the upper 50’s!

Additionally, be sure to change into your swimsuit before heading out to Lover’s Cove. There are no changing areas at the cove itself, and you’ll want to have it on already to wear under your wetsuit.

We chose not to buy any fish food during our snorkeling adventure and found that we still encountered a variety of marine life. A lot of the families and children there at the time of our visit had purchased fish food and seemed to be enjoying themselves with it. One kid entertained himself by throwing fish food onto my husband who was swarmed by fish. Luckily, the fish are harmless. They can bite, but if you’re wearing a wetsuit (and gloves, when handling the food with your hands), you’ll be fine.

One thing I recommend is to bring a waterproof camera. If you don’t already own one, many of the shops on Catalina island sell them for reasonable prices. I purchased a reusable film camera with a waterproof housing for less than $20. I captured all the photos in this post using the camera, and I still use it to this day.

If you’re planning a getaway to Catalina Island, be sure to visit Lover’s Cove for a few hours of snorkeling. It’s a perfect, inexpensive, and beautiful activity that anyone can enjoy.

Avalon Snorkeling Map

Continue reading…

POTC Ship (On Stranger Tides)

Photo Friday XI: On Stranger Tides

Four years ago, Eric and I took a weekend trip to Catalina for a bit of relaxation and fun. During our return trip, we passed this ship, which was being circled by a helicopter. We determined it to be the crew of the 2011 film Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, filming wide aerial footage. Pretty cool thing to happen upon, right? Southern California is full of surprises.

Download this photo as a wallpaper: iPhone // iPad // Desktop // Widescreen Desktop
Or check it out on Flickr!

Belgian Tripel Beers

Into the Pint Glass: Belgian Tripel

I’m joining in once again with Mariah and Katie for Into the Pint Glass! In today’s edition, we’re talking about Belgian Tripels.

The Belgian Tripel was originally brewed in the Trappist monasteries of Belgium, who used a simple naming convention to label beers by strength and amount of malt used in the brewing process. Enkels were the basic beer recipe, followed by Dubbels and Tripels (or Single, Double, and Triple — simple, see?) Tripels are the strongest beers in the range, with an alcohol content ranging from 8% to 10% ABV. Check out Mariah and Katie‘s posts for more detailed information on the history of the Belgian Tripel.

I sampled two beers for this week’s tasting: Tripel Karmeliet and Duvel Tripel Hop.

While writing this post, I realized that I should have done more research on Belgian Tripels before purchasing beers to sample. As it turns out, just because a beer is brewed in Belgium and has the world “Tripel” on the label does not necessarily mean it is a Belgian Tripel. The Duvel Tripel Hop, I came to discover, is in fact classified as a Belgian IPA. The label “Tripel Hop” refers to the three types of hops used, which now seems obvious. I’m still going to review it because it turns out that my mistake caused me to discover an IPA I actually like!

Tripel Karmeliet

I’ll start with the real Belgian Tripel: The Tripel Karmaliet.

This beer is a beautiful pale golden color with a thick, creamy head. The flavor is crisp and light, with subtle hints of citrus. Very refreshing. This beer is brewed at Bosteels Brewery in Buggenhout, Belgium (try to say that three times fast). It has an alcohol content of 8.4% ABV and is available year-round. I’m happy to say I enjoyed this selection immensely.

Duvel Tripel Hops

Selection Number Two: Duvel Tripel Hop

Not actually a Belgian Tripel, but extremely tasty and worth a try. I actually preferred this to the Tripel Karmelier, though I would recommend both. Duvel is a pale golden hue with a light but creamy head. The flavor is crisp and fruity with a strong grapefruit essence. In a way, it reminded me of cider. The alcohol content is a noticeably strong 9.5% ABV. Duvel Tripel Hop is brewed with three hop varieties; the third hop changes annually, creating a unique taste and aroma each year. I tried the 2015 variety, which uses an aromatic hop from the United States called Equinox. I recommend trying this before 2016, as next year’s variety might be completely different!

Tripel Karmeliet Bottle  Duvel Bottle
Tripel Karmeliet Cap

Join me in two weeks, when I give a few amber beers a try!

PS: Into the Pint Glass: IPA & Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar

Into The Pint Glass
  • QGNC Logo

  • Selfie

    Hello! I'm Erika, a quiet girl living in the noisy city of Los Angeles with my husband Eric and my cat Cookies. I enjoy exploring new places, going on adventures, eating delicious food, and taking lots of pictures! >> Read more

  • Archives

    • + 2015 (55)
    • + 2014 (95)
    • + 2013 (50)