Founded to provide financial support for the Micke Grove Zoo, Society provides educational opportunities and community involvement in the zoo's growth for its members. Members and their families get free access to the zoo itself, where they can visit tamarins, Madagascar tortoises, and a golden eagle. It also hosts hands-on animal encounters for families and school groups where students get a chance to learn about the behaviors and habitats of some of the zoo's denizens. Members also gain discounts in the gift shop and at other zoos and aquariums across the country.
The Sacramento Zoo’s ZooMobile brings a menagerie of birds, snakes, and amphibians to schools, along with trained instructors who teach the importance of protecting these animals’ habitats. The live animal visits enhance lessons about animals’ characteristics and adaptation to natural environments, with presentations specifically tailored to each grade level and to meet the California Department of Education's life-sciences standards. With additional funding, the Sacramento Zoo could send the ZooMobile program to Title 1 schools that qualify for the federal-school-lunch program.
Oakland Zoo was first established in 1922, but it didn’t find its permanent home until 1939, when it was thoughtfully constructed amid the rolling hills of Knowland Park. Today, Oakland Zoo is home to more than 660 animals, who thrive in biomes designed to mimic their natural environments.
The sprawling African savannah is one of the zoo’s largest habitats, housing hyenas, zebras, elephants, and giraffes. The centerpiece is a 1.5-acre lion exhibit called Simba Pori, which translates to lion county in Swahili. Inside, a pride of lions freely roam an enclosure outfitted with kopje rock structures, a pond, and a booth where the king can sign autographs.
Over in the rainforest habitat, chimpanzees and white-handed gibbons swing through the treetops. Emus and wallaroos—a cousin of the wallaby and the kangaroo—roam freely in the Wild Australia exhibit, accessible via one of the zoo’s rides, Outback Express Adventure Train. Other rides include the Endangered Species Carousel and Sky Ride, a chairlift that soars above the habitats and offers Bay Area skyline views.
The Serpentarium Retail makes caring for pet snakes and reptiles easy with a vast stock of habitats, decor, and food. The team can furnish all of your needs, starting with a terrarium and bedding for comfort, misters to keep the air moist, and canned crickets that make healthy snacks.
This is not a 'mainstream' zoo," notes Folsom City Zoo Sanctuary on their website. "People who 'don't like zoos' are generally comfortable here." Perhaps that's because the center is more animal sanctuary than public zoo. Since 1963, it has taken in wild animals that have been injured in the wild, orphaned at an early age, or rejected as exotic pets by their owners. The sanctuary's staff provides lifelong homes for these animals, not only keeping them fed and cared for, but also engaging their mental and physical abilities through creative enrichment activities. Of course, education is a major focus, as well, which is why they invite visitors in to meet their boarders. The black bear exhibit showcases a few of these rescued creatures. Its glass viewing panels look into the habits of bears such as Sequoia, who was dropped off anonymously at a wildlife facility, and Marty, who was shot in the hip. Elsewhere, rescued red-tailed hawks perch inside an aviary, and a canine area showcases wolves, dogs, and everything in between.
North American species such as these occupy most of the habitats, but zookeepers also rescue the occasional exotic animal. They saved Orinoco, a squirrel monkey that came from a research facility, and Misty and Pouncer, a pair of mixed species tigers rescued from an illegal breeding facility. By telling these stories, the zookeepers hope to discourage the public from keeping wild animals as pets. Instead, they invite visitors to take active roles through volunteer initiatives and a junior zookeeper program.
Winchester Mystery House is an imposing Victorian mansion built by Winchester Rifle heiress Sarah Winchester. The house's floor plan is a study in eccentricity, boasting details including twisting hallways, secret passages, and stairways that lead nowhere. Sarah Winchester built her profoundly odd home in an effort to drive away bad spirits, including that of her late husband, whom she believed cursed her upon his death. While Sarah compulsively remodeled the house until her death in 1922, historians estimate there must have been between 500 and 600 rooms built in total. Due to the extensive remodeling and the ravages of time, only 160 rooms remain—though, by any standard, the house remains a sprawling homage to Sarah Winchester's tormented mind.
Today, visitors make their pilgrimage to the house to witness in person all its peculiar glory. The home is lovingly restored and now plays host to a number of fun, bone-chilling excursions each day. Thrill seekers can stalk through the halls by flashlight during guided tours that divulge the sordid details of Sarah Winchester's nightly séances. History buffs can explore rooms dedicated to period furniture, antique trinkets, and vintage firearms found in the home. A gift shop and café onsite give guests the opportunity to purchase souvenirs, some more edible than others.