Author Archive

MEASURE A1—IT IS FOR THE ANIMALS

by | October 25th, 2012

The opponents of measure A1 want you to believe that the Oakland Zoo is using “cute” animals for “other purposes” than what the measure clearly states. This is demeaning to the zoo and to the animals. I have been in the animal care field for over 30 years and I have seen that when conflict arises and issues concerning animal care are not reported honestly, it is the animals that really pay the price. The animals’ needs are real, and this measure is the best thing that could happen for them. The measure will also support education and greatly increase the number of schoolchildren who can attend our zoo programs and learn more about the animals they see at the zoo. Measure A1 will also keep the admission cost low—so important for many of our visitors.

As an animal care manager at the zoo, my focus is the animals and providing the best care possible. The three sections I manage would benefit greatly if measure A1 succeeds. Our young camels have grown so much they need taller and sturdier fencing; the tiger night house needs expanding, a new heating system and a hot water heater; and the beautiful bird aviaries are very much in need of underground barriers for rodent control. We also desperately need a “tamer” — a structure that can safely hold giraffe during medical procedures. In a time of budget cuts and increasing costs however, it becomes more difficult to meet our animals’ needs. The animals need A1 to pass, and that is the truth. I ask you to please read measure A1 to see the truth, and vote YES!
Michelle Jeffries, Zoological Manager, Oakland Zoo

YES ON A1 Supports a Zoo with a Wild and Green Heart

by | October 25th, 2012

My family, friends and colleagues can attest to my green way of life and my and concern for the well-being of animals. For these reasons, I feel fortunate that I work as the Conservation Director at the Oakland Zoo. I chose this organization because the Zoo’s heart is like mine, wild and green, with conservation at the center of our mission.

monitoring western pond turtles

We have award winning green initiatives, including a new, LEED certified vet center. We are deeply involved in the protection of vulnerable wildlife, including the Western Pond Turtle and the California condor locally. We keep the Arroyo Viejo Creek clean and native, restoring it with volunteers from the local community, and we inspire thousands of children to connect to and take action for wildlife and nature.

Backed by many environmental organizations, Measure A1 protects local wildlife and provides sanctuary for rescued and endangered species. A1 is for all of us in Alameda County who have a true wild and green heart.

Amy Gotliffe
Educator, Conservationist and Oakland home owner

YES ON MEASURE A1: An Insider’s Point of View

by | October 5th, 2012

By Rick Mannshardt, Oakland Zoo Employee

As someone who’s spent more than twenty years working at the Oakland Zoo, I’ve had the opportunity to get to know this place pretty well. It’s become a big part of my life. Working as a carpenter in the Zoo’s maintenance department, I keep all the fences and gates, roofs and doors, and hundreds of other structures around here in working order.  It takes a lot to keep a seven-day-a-week zoo running—you might say the animals are pretty hard on the furniture. Our tiny 6-person maintenance crew struggles to keep up with it all. The same goes for the Zoo in general.

Students excited about Measure A1

Even Our Monkeys Want to Vote YES

What we really need are more resources—and support from the community. Right now Measure A1 is poised to accomplish this. This November, you’ll have the chance to voice your support by voting yes for this badly needed initiative.  What it does is this: Measure A1 seeks voter approval to authorize an annual special parcel tax to maintain humane animal care and basic needs, and to maintain children’s educational programs. For a modest $12 per residential parcel and comparable rate for commercial property, the measure helps to ensure that the Oakland Zoo can continue its work in providing food, medical care, heating & cooling, and safe enclosures for its collection of animals, retain qualified veterinarians and animal specialists, care for wounded and endangered animals, support wildlife conservation—all this while keeping entrance fees affordable.  It also allows the Zoo to continue its level of excellence in offering children’s nature and science programming to students at a time when many schools are cutting back on such programs.

Measure A1 ensures humane animal care

But you don’t need to take our word for it. Numerous community leaders and business people have pledged their support for this important measure.  Here’s what just a few of them have to say:

“Yes on A1 allows the Oakland Zoo to continue quality care for zoo animals.”

Jim Maddy, President/CEO, National Association of Zoos and Aquariums

 

“Oakland Zoo animals deserve quality care. Many are retired circus animals or animals rescued from abuse—Yes on A1 ensures more animals can be rescued and get the care they need.” 

Laura Maloney, Co-Director, Performing Animals Welfare Society (PAWS)

 

“Yes on A1 supports the Oakland Zoo’s wildlife conservation and animal rescue efforts, saving animals wounded in the wild and giving sanctuary to endangered species.”

Ron Kagen, Founding member, Center for Zoo Animal Welfare

You might be asking: how do we know the money will be spent on these specific things? Measure A1 requires an Independent Citizens Oversight Committee to ensure funds are spent as promised to you, the taxpayer. By law, the A1 Oversight Committee must include Conservation/Environmental and Animal Rights representatives, the League of Women Voters, Taxpayer and Senior advocates, and a PTA representative.

It’s pretty straightforward. For just a dollar a month, you’re helping to ensure that the Oakland Zoo can

Lawn Signs Ready for Delivery

continue to provide:

  • Quality Humane Animal Care
  •  Basic Animal Needs
  •  Educational Programs for Children
  • Ongoing Zoo Affordability & Visitor Safety

And here’s an easy way to remember. In November, when you get to your local polling place, simply think “A for Animals.”  Then vote YES for Measure A1. With your support we can continue the valuable work we’ve been doing in the community these many years. Thank you and we hope to see you at the Oakland Zoo!

Party Animals Wish You A Happy Birthday!

by | September 11th, 2012

Fun With Animal Costumes

How would your child like to share a birthday celebration with some wild animals? It’s easy with the Oakland Zoo when you sign up for one of our animal-themed education birthday parties.  They’re available on Saturdays and Sundays year-round and offer a variety of fun and memorable activities. You can choose from either of two time slots: 10:30 in the morning or 1:30 in the afternoon. The basic party package accommodates up to 20 people, with an option for 20 more for an additional fee.

The party starts out in the festively decorated Discovery Room of the Zoo’s Education Center. There, your child and their friends will get the chance to explore

Playing With Puppets

and play with puppets, puzzles, animal costumes, and cool animal artifacts. Then, it’s story time, where they’ll get to hear an animal story told by one of our enthusiastic Education Specialists.

Then comes the best part, where the kids will get to see and touch some of our fascinating zoo creatures like snakes and lizards, chinchillas, ferrets and hedgehogs.

Meeting a Chuckwalla

After that they’ll get the opportunity to use their creative craft-making skills to make food-filled enrichment items for some of our other animals.

When it comes to food for your child’s birthday party, you have a choice. You can either bring your own, or you can leave it all to us and have the Zoo cater your party. Either way, the kids get to enjoy their cake and other treats in the exotic Rain Forest Room right next door.  The birthday child gets a special present and each of the party guests receives a goody bag filled with a variety of animal themed party favors. And in the spirit of conservation, the party bags are now made out of post-consumer plastic, and feature a fun “Go Green” wildlife message. Gifts inside the bags might include things like

Making Enrichment Projects

a small plant growing kit, recycled pencils made of bamboo, fun stickers, elephant magnets, or educational Top Trumps trading cards.

Later, the kids will meet one of our zookeepers and then head out into the Children’s Zoo to see animals like bunnies, otters, lemurs, pigs or bats enjoying the enrichment items the kids made for them.  Afterwards, your group is free to roam and explore the Zoo at your own pace. Or if you’d prefer, you can explore the Zoo earlier—before your party starts.

And one of the best reasons to have your party at the Zoo is that when the party’s over, you can leave the clean-up to us—we’ll take care of everything. But if you’d rather host your party in the convenience of your own home, we can bring the whole

Pizza Time!

thing, including the animals, right to your door aboard the Oakland Zoomobile. Either way, your child will get a fun, memorable experience that they will talk about for a long time to come.

It’s easy to book your special birthday party here at the Oakland Zoo. Simply call our Education Reservations Associate at 510-632-9525 x220. Who knows—this may be the best birthday party your child has ever had. See you at the Oakland Zoo!

Red Hot Deals on Summer Programs Now!

by | August 3rd, 2012

In case you haven’t heard, Oakland Zoo is offering a limited time discount on many of its popular community programs. From now until the end of August, you can get a 25% off when you sign up for Zoomobile and ZooSchool presentations. It turns out that there is extra space on the Zoo’s event calendar this summer, so we’re offering this great deal. And, summer is the perfect time to schedule a fun-filled animal presentation for your school, camp, or youth group.

What sort of fun is awaiting with Oakland Zoo community program? For starters, there’s our Zoomobile program, which has been a big hit  for many years. With the help of one of our experienced Education Specialists, you’ll get the opportunity to see a variety of small animals up-close  and personal at your school, library or home. You’ll learn how these fascinating creatures live and how they fit into the wondrous web of life. You’ll even get the chance to touch these animals: everything from turtles, lizards and snakes, to hedgehogs and chinchillas—even cool giant millipedes.  Zoomobile is a great way to learn about animals in a fun, informal setting.

And with the ZooSchool program, you bring your class or group to the Zoo for a full day of adventure. Your Education Specialist will greet you and escort you to a classroom where they will introduce the special theme of your presentation. Then you’ll venture out into the Zoo to explore and see our many exotic animals on a guided tour. Afterwards, you return to the classroom to wrap up and review the day’s activities. After your program has ended, you can head back into the Zoo to eat a picnic lunch or go back to visit animals until your departure time. ZooSchool gives your class or group a great way to experience Oakland Zoo.

Programs are offered Monday through Friday from 10am – 3pm. Presentations are designed for a wide range of age groups: from pre-K through 8th grade, as well as programs geared specifically for seniors. Registrations will be taken on a first come/first served basis until all the spaces are filled. It’s easy to book one of our popular animal-themed programs and take advantage of these great savings. Contact our Education Reservations Associate at 510-632-9525 x220. See you at the Zoo! Oakland Zoo…It’s Your Zoo.

A Night Among the Animals

by | July 23rd, 2012

Camping in the Meadow

Have you ever spent the night at a zoo? Well here’s your chance. In case you

Roasting Marshmallows at the Campfire

haven’t heard, there are several programs that the Oakland Zoo offers to groups and families that allow them to experience this unique and fun opportunity.

 

Bedtime with the Beasts is a great example. Catering to organizations like scouts, schools and community groups, it includes a private zoo tour, a close-up encounter with a small animal, a fun educational activity, and a continental breakfast the next day.

Fun with Drums

This year-round program is especially popular with Boy Scout and Girl Scout organizations, who utilize the Oakland Zoo as part of their badge-earning and

Breakfast is Served

“Journey” activities. Scheduled from 7pm until 10am the following morning, BTWB provides a unique environment for these kids to enrich their scouting experience.

 

Schools can also take part in the Bedtime with the Beasts program. The activities involved are fun and age appropriate, and the curriculum conforms to California science standards.

Greeting a Hedgehog

BTWB also serves community groups such as YMCAs, Girls, Inc., and church youth groups, offering activities such as “Zoo Snoops,” which gives participants the chance to use clues to identify a series of mystery animal species as they move through the Zoo, where they find boxes of artifacts that enable them to learn more about these fascinating animals.

Making Enrichment Projects

Since it’s offered year-round, BTWB allows for flexibility in sleeping accommodations:  either outdoors in the Zoo meadow, or inside the cozy education auditorium, depending on weather, curriculum, or group size.

But you don’t have to be affiliated with any group to enjoy the Zoo’s Family Sundown Safari, a fun summertime program from 5pm to 10am that caters exclusively to families. Held on five different dates throughout July and August, FSS offers families the chance to bring their own tent and sleep in the Zoo’s large grassy meadow. A series of cool activities awaits the participants. Once the tents are set up and people get settled in, they get to use their creative skills to make fun enrichment projects for the animals. Afterward, everyone goes on a nighttime tour of the Zoo. Back at camp, a professional storyteller awaits them with engaging tales of the animal world.  Around the campfire, everyone gets to roast marshmallows and make their own s’mores.  The next morning after a memorable night under the stars, a hot breakfast in the Zoo’s café starts the day off right. Next is a tour of the homes of the Zoo’s many rain forest animals. And finally, everyone gets the chance to see their enrichment items opened and enjoyed by the animals.  All in all, the Family Sundown Safari promises a memorable overnight experience for everyone involved.

Choosing Treats for the Animals

And things are on their way to getting even better. As you know, the Oakland Zoo is planning to begin building its long awaited California exhibit complex. When completed, we’re hoping to have special overnight facilities up on the hill behind the Zoo, including tent cabins, fire pits and hiking trails. The project will take some time to complete, but it’s something that we’re all looking forward to here at the Zoo.

 

So if you and your crew are looking for a memorable way to experience the

Enjoying the Enrichment

Oakland Zoo, try one of our fun overnight programs: Bedtime with the Beasts or Family Sundown Safari. It’s easy to book a date; simply visit the Zoo’s website or call our Education Reservation Associate at 510-632-9525 x220. See you under the stars!