Twenty vertical feet of mostly legs and neck, spotted giraffes lope with languid, graceful movements toward the zoo’s viewing deck, which is alive with the excitement of children and adults. As the audience’s hands reach out to offer elm and acacia branches, long, purple tongues unfurl and lap them up during scheduled Giraffe Encounter feeding times (additional fee required). At the Sacramento Zoo’s sprawling 14.5-acre sanctuary, this is just one of the ways the zoo team brings the public closer to animals in their efforts to nurture public education and respect for wildlife.
Across those green swaths of land, African lions prowl, chimpanzees swing from trees, and red kangaroos play hopscotch. More than 600 animals call this place their home—a sanctuary where zookeepers care for them, practice conservation, and breed endangered species to help them stave off extinction. That dedication extends to all creatures, from the slithering Brazilian rainbow boa to the slinking West African dwarf crocodile. Zoo personnel also organize educational programs such as classes, camps, and overnight sleepovers where visitors can witness hyenas rehearsing their comedy routines away from the crowds. To keep the zoo in the local consciousness, the zoo also hosts themed events and animal exhibitions throughout the year.
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