The Little Ponderosa Zoo

Movie review by
Grace Montgomery, Common Sense Media
The Little Ponderosa Zoo Movie Poster Image
Clean and fun adventure teaches respect for animals.
  • NR
  • 2015
  • 85 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational Value

Meant to entertain, not educate.

Positive Messages

If you respect animals, they'll respect you. Everyone gets scared sometimes.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Charlie's dad and Mr. Baker help animals in need, even if it jeopardizes their jobs or safety. Charlie overcomes her fears to help the zoo and catch the bad guys. She also shows Mr. Baker the importance of standing up for what you believe in, no matter what.

Violence & Scariness

Bumbling pratfalls and very mild slapstick violence; some scheming villains who are comical, not scary.

Sexy Stuff

One flirtatious comment about getting a cute girl's phone number.


Some slightly gross llama-spit jokes.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Little Ponderosa Zoo is a squeaky-clean kid caper that will be appealing to young animal lovers and parents alike. There are some bumbling pratfalls, some scheming villains who are more silly than scary, and some slightly gross llama-spit jokes that no doubt will be a hit with the younger crowd. Parents will appreciate the strong role models and the message that we should respect and protect animals.

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What's the story?

Every year Charlie (Kena Holmes), her parents, and the trusty zookeeper, Mr. Baker (Neil Friedman), hold their annual festival at the Little Ponderosa Zoo. This year, they especially need the money to keep the zoo from going bankrupt. Little do they know that the zoo is actually on top of a gold mine that could save the day. But when the scheming bank manager (James D. Owens), the mayor (Mike Stanley), and the mayor's bumbling nephew plot to steal the rights to the gold mine, Charlie must foil their plot and get over her fear of tigers to save the reputation of the Little Ponderosa Zoo and get their fortune.

Is it any good?

Though there's nothing groundbreaking or particularly original in this animal-centric adventure, it has a wholesome sweetness that's rather endearing. Young kids will laugh at the scheming mayor and his nephew's ridiculous plans to find the gold (with plenty of llama-spit references to keep them chuckling), even if older kids and parents will be rolling their eyes at the over-the-top acting and cheesy dialogue. And animal lovers and parents alike will love seeing all the different zoo residents and the message that you should respect and protect animals.

Older kids may find the simple plot too obvious and clichéd, but parents will definitely appreciate the clean content, positive messages, and great role models.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about zoos. Have you been to a zoo? Do you think zoos are important? How do zoos protect animals?

  • Charlie's dad tells her that it's OK to be afraid and that everyone is afraid of something. Do you think that's true? Are you afraid of something? How can people get over their fears?

  • What's your favorite animal movie? Why is it your favorite?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love animals

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