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Celebrating Betty White’s 100th Birthday with the Los Angeles Zoo

Photo from Click the image to see the Zoo’s tribute page for White, a longtime Zoo fan and supporter, who would have celebrated her 100th birthday on Monday, January 17.


Monday, January 17 would have been the 100th anniversary of the birth of Betty White, the beloved actress who passed away at age 99 on December 31, 2021.  While there has been a huge outpouring of sentiment for White, and the fact that she didn’t quite live to see her landmark birthday, two local-ish landmarks –  Pink’s Hot Dogs and the Los Angeles Zoo – still marked the occasion.

First, for the week after her death, Pink’s donated all the proceeds from it’s “Betty White Naked Dog,” to the LA Zoo, one of White’s favorite organizations.

And, second, the Zoo itself is offering several ways to celebrate White, one of its most enduring supporters.

Tom Jacobson, president of The Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association, told the Buzz that many people have already made gifts in her honor and they are thrilled to have enjoyed White’s support over the decades.

“Betty loved the zoo and she really understood the role and the value of zoos,” said Jacobson. “White got involved in the zoo, even before it opened in 1966 and she joined the board in 1974 where she served for many years. She’s been an advocate for conservation, new habits for the animals, including the elephants and the gorillas.”

Jacobson said that every time White would come to zoo, she would stop in Alan Ludden Plaza, named for her late husband who passed away in 1981 at the age of 63, and spend a few minutes saying hello to him.

“White was so positive and forward looking,” said Jacobson. “She was gracious with the fans who might encounter at the zoo and really good with animals. If she was holding a giant python, she would love it and so would the python!”

According to the Zoo, fans who would like to remember White and celebrate her connections to Zoo can:


Stop by a special memorial garden located in our Australia section’s Allen Ludden Plaza, named for Betty’s late husband. There, you can remember Betty with a personal message, memory, or drawing on cards displayed among the garden’s silk roses.

At specially chosen stops throughout the Zoo, see photos of Betty and Zoo friends (animal and human!) from our archive and read in Betty’s own heartfelt and sometimes funny words why she loved the Zoo so much. If you’re unable to visit in January, view the tour on our website here.

Explore this dedicated page on our website to learn about Betty’s history with the Zoo through photos, videos, a profile in Zoo View member magazine, and more.



Also, for yet another way to celebrate White and her life-long passion for animals, there’s the Betty White Challenge, a fan-generated virtual celebration that urges people to donate $5 to their favorite animal charity, in memory of White, on January 17th.  The LA Zoo suggests that fans who would like to participate consider donating to the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association’s dedicated Betty White Tribute Fund and sharing about it on social media. “Betty’s fellow GLAZA trustees are generously matching donations made to the fund through the end of the month,” says the Zoo.

Finally, please note that if you would like to visit the Zoo for White’s birthday on Monday – or any other day in the near future – advance reservations are now required:

“Please be aware that advance, date-specific reservations will be required for all Zoo guests starting Saturday, January 15, in accordance with County health orders and for the health and safety of people and animals at the Zoo. Walk-up ticket sales are not recommended or guaranteed. Proof of full vaccination or a recent negative COVID test is also required for all guests 12 and older. Learn more and make reservations.”

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Elizabeth Fuller
Elizabeth Fuller
Elizabeth Fuller was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN but has lived in LA since 1991 - with deep roots in both the Sycamore Square and West Adams Heights-Sugar Hill neighborhoods. She spent 10 years with the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council, volunteers at Wilshire Crest Elementary School, and is the co-owner/publisher of the Buzz.

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