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.
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.
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.
Staff Size: 2?10 people
Parking: Free street parking
Most popular offering: Free and paid experiences
Pro Tip: Admission is immediate credit toward most purchases
Good for Kids: Yes
Walk-ins Welcome: Yes
Q&A with Robert Coral, President / Ceo
What sets your business apart from your competition?
We are the largest reptile attraction in Northern California.
Is there anything else you want to add that we didn't cover?
We offer birthday parties, guided tours and field trips as well.
What is the best reaction you?ve ever gotten from a customer?
Many people leave saying that their visit was better than going to the zoo.
What?s your favorite part about your job?
Working with the animals and being able to improve the lives of our customers' animals through proper education.