One of the best things I did the summer after Avonlea was born was to get a membership to the Los Angeles Zoo. While not as vast or impressive as other zoos I have frequented, it is also a very reasonable way to spend an afternoon, both in cost and in space. Adult tickets are $18, and children 2-12 years old are $13. Compare this to the San Diego Zoo (at $46 a ticket), and you're getting a deal!
I found a deal for Family Passes for a discounted price, and we have definitely gotten our money's worth for it. With a family pass, you get two adults admission, and kids 2 and under are free, so I often bring another mom from my mom group. It's also a great workout, as the zoo is located on part of the land in Griffith Park, which has no shortage of hilly areas.
The great thing about having a pass is that I can go on any regular day, not just on the weekends where it is crazy crowded. Avonlea loves to be outside, and the Zoo is friendly to outside food and drink, so we'll often pack a lunch and stay for the afternoon. The pathways are great, too, because most of them are well-shaded by the myriads of trees.
The first time we went, Avonlea was barely 3 months old. We took Dad and Jan, and hung out for a few hours. It was the first time I fed Avonlea out in public, which was a big deal for me. :) She took a nap in the baby carrier most of the time.
We have been several times since then, and each time, it is more and more fun to watch Avonlea recognize and pay more attention to the animals there. It's also fun to discover more and more areas of the Zoo each time we go.
This past time we went, Avonlea loved watching the elephant! It was really cute.