Troubadourable folk buddies Simon and Garfunkel once sang that "it's all happening at the zoo" before retiring from music to live out their days serenely basking in the reptile habitat. Get happening with today's Groupon: for $49, you get a one-year family membership to the Oakland Zoo for up to two listed adults and four children ages 2–17 (a $99 value).
At the Oakland Zoo, more than 660 exotic animals romp about in the lush sprawling acres. The zoo is sectioned into diverse biomes occupied by their respective fauna: plain animals such as giraffes and gazelles stroll about in the African Savannah, and tree-swinging primates and tigers that prefer ascots to bow ties occupy the Rain Forest exhibit. The family membership includes a year of complimentary admission and parking as well as discounted or free admission to more than 125 zoos and aquariums across the United States. Eight included coupons can be redeemed for rides in the zoo's mini amusement park, allowing people to circle around the endangered-species carousel, view various regions of the park on the Australia-themed train, and practice their primal screams on the tiger rollercoaster.
The membership also garners discounts at the gift shop, invitations to special events, and a free in-mail subscription to the conservatory's official newsletter, "Roar!". The newsletter documents the zoo's goings-on in vibrant photographs and articles, including a communiqué in each issue written by a toucan and translated by zoo director Dr. Joel Parrott.
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.