Posts Tagged ‘Events’

A Visit to the Doctor: Touring Oakland Zoo’s Veterinary Hospital

by | October 30th, 2015
Oakland Zoo's Veterinary Hospital

Oakland Zoo’s Veterinary Hospital

Wouldn’t it be nice if all the animals  at Oakland Zoo could take care of themselves, leading perfectly healthy lives on their own? Of course it would.  But the reality is that zoo animals, just like us humans, need occasional help to stay healthy.  That’s where the OZVH comes in. The newly built $10 million Oakland Zoo Veterinary Hospital provides comprehensive diagnostic care and treatment for creatures both great and small. Radiology, lab work, surgery, treatment, and recovery—all phases of veterinary care can be handled within this 17,000 square foot Gold LEED certified facility. This hospital has been a dream for Zoo President,  Dr. Joel Parrott, who has been working hard to make it a reality ever since he began working at Oakland Zoo. Visiting veterinarians at other AZA institutions to learn what works and what doesn’t, he and the architectural team were able to come up with a design that incorporated the latest technologies and procedures in the most efficient manner.

Generally, our hospital is not open to the public, so the majority of zoo visitors probably don’t even know of its existence. But thanks to the Zoo’s Education Department, it’s now possible for a limited number of guests

X-Ray Facilities

X-Ray Facilities

to visit this wonderful new facility. For the past two years Chantal Burnett, our Assistant Program Director of Volunteer Services, has been leading walking tours of the hospital. In that time, these hour-long tours have become so popular that she’s had to train a team of six docents to handle the demand. I recently had the opportunity to tag along on one of these tours. Although I’ve worked at the Zoo for many years and have been there many times, I was able to learn some new things about the facility that’s been touted as one of the finest veterinary hospitals in Northern California.

On this particular tour I was in the company of some women from the Taiwan tourist industry as well as some members of the Zoo’s Marketing department. Predictably, we began our tour at the

Large Animal Treatment Area

Large Animal Treatment Area

front door. But then Chantal led us through the facility via the same route that an ailing zoo animal would follow, providing us with a unique perspective.

Our first stop was Radiology, where animals are bought in for x-rays. Housed within lead-shielded walls, separate equipment for taking vertical as well as horizontal x-rays accommodate a variety of diagnostic situations.  Of all our animal residents, only elephants and giraffes are too large to be treated here at the hospital. In those cases, the vet staff has the ability to bring whatever equipment they need to the animals’ exhibits, for a “house call.”

Then it was on to Treatment, where multiple procedures can take place simultaneously, in the two adjacent rooms. Included in this area is equipment for anesthesia, oxygen, ultrasound and animal dentistry. Skylights augment the electrical lighting; stainless steel surfaces are easily cleaned.  The large folding padded equine table can safely accommodate hoofstock of any size.  Nearby is the scrub area, where the vet staff cleans up in preparation for their work. Also located nearby are the exam kits—plastic tote boxes containing the equipment needed for work in the field.

The Hoofstock Recovery Area provides a quiet environment (straw-covered floor, subdued lighting) for recently treated

Vet Tech Reviewing Information

Vet Tech Reviewing Information

animals to recuperate until they’re ready to return to their exhibits. Down the hall, the Quarantine area allows for the isolation of animals to prevent disease transmission. As a matter of protocol, all animals coming to the Zoo from other institutions are required to be quarantined for thirty days, so this facility is often used for this precautionary purpose as well.  The heated floor and hydraulic doors make this area safe and comfortable for these animals whose stay is generally longer than those being treated for specific health issues.

Various other dedicated areas are conveniently located nearby: a diet prep kitchen to prepare all the meals for the animal guests, a pharmacy, two separate laboratories for testing and research, as well as several rooms to meet the needs of the staff: laundry room, conference room, a kitchen

Visiting Veterinary Eye Specialist

Visiting Veterinary Eye Specialist

and several private and group offices. There’s even a cozy studio apartment that allows a staff member to stay overnight to keep an eye on animals that need frequent observation or care. Everything from the solar paneled roof to the heated floors of this facility helps provide for the needs of our more than 650 animal residents.

If you’re interested in booking a tour to see this wonderful new hospital for yourself, please contact Chantal Burnett at 510-632-9525 ext 209 (Tues- Sat) or email her at Reservations are required. The hour-long tours are available on Wednesdays and Saturdays between 10 am and 12 noon. Tour fees are $20 for members /$25 for non-members. Pre-vet student groups and high school student groups are $200 per 20 students. Maximum number of guests per tour is 20. Hope to see you there!



by | January 28th, 2014

Hey Parents!parentnightout

Need a fun place to leave the kids while you go out and enjoy some time alone with your sweetheart on Valentine’s Day? Look no further than Oakland Zoo. Starting this year, the Zoo is offering a fun new program called “Parents Night Out” that might be just what you’re looking for. But it’s more than simply “babysitting at the Zoo” – geared for children aged 4 to 10 years, this program offers a full evening of entertaining animal-themed fun. Once you drop off your kids, you can rest easy knowing they’re having a good time and being well taken care of. They’ll start off enjoying a pizza dinner, followed by a cool guided walk through the Children’s Zoo to visit animals such as alligators, bats, turtles, frogs, lizards and bugs. They will even get a sneak peek at where the ZooKeepers prepare the food for all the animals of the Zoo. Later, in the auditorium, your kids will be able to participate in a fun game or craft, followed by an ‘animal close-up’, where they get to meet an animal up close and personal. Then, we top off the evening with an exciting animal-themed movie. All this for $30 per child (plus $25 for each additional sibling.) Not bad to ensure some quality couple time on Valentine’s Day.

You can drop off your kids at the Marian Zimmer Auditorium at 5:30 in the evening and stay out till 10:00pm, giving you a full evening to “get away from it all” with dinner, dancing, a movie, or a romantic stroll. And when you come back to pick up your kids, they’ll have plenty of exciting things to share about their evening at the Zoo. And if things take off like we’re expecting, we’re hoping to expand our Parents Night Out program on selected Friday or Saturday evenings at other times during the year. So if you want to have one of those special Valentine’s Days like you used to have, give Oakland Zoo a call and sign your kids up for “Parents’ Night Out.” Then, go out and hit the town. We’ll see you when you get back!


It Takes A Village To Raise A Camp

by | July 2nd, 2010

You might not realize it, but it takes the entire Oakland Zoo to ensure the success of ZooCamp every summer– not just the folks in Conservation & Education. Every single department at the Zoo makes a valuable contribution to this popular kids’ program which has been a summertime tradition here for more than twenty years. After speaking with ZooCamp Director Sarah Cramer, I learned exactly what those contributions were.

1. Getting the word out is crucial to the success of any event. The Marketing department provides the advertising that lets our Zoo visitors know about the program, utilizing local parents’ magazines and websites, billboards, fliers and inserts in the Oakland Zoo visitors’ maps. They also arrange appearances on TV programs such as View from the Bay and KRON 4 Morning News.

2. The Oakland Zoo has a large active membership throughout the East Bay and beyond, providing a valuable resource of potential ZooCamp attendees. Our Membership department provides ZooCamp information in Uproar, the monthly electronic newsletter that reaches up to 24,000 people. The membership department also assists Zoo members who wish to register for camp.

Preparing the Picnic Areas

3. The Maintenance department purchases various materials needed for camp. They also maintain and repair any equipment the camp staff uses.

4. Our Human Resources department helps facilitate the hiring of the seasonal teachers and other help needed to run ZooCamp.

5. Group Services helps by directing inquiries to the ZooCamp registrar. They also help facilitate the use of the auditorium as well as picnic sites, allowing campers to enjoy their lunches outdoors.

6. With a quarter million dollars in revenue, ZooCamp depends on the Accounting department to ensure that the bills are paid and that the revenue is accurately reported.

7. The Operations staff ups the Fun Factor by letting the campers enjoy complimentary rides on the train and the sky ride.

Our Janitorial Staff

8. The Janitorial staff provides additional re-stocking of the restrooms as well as extra clean-up for those “special messes” that kids are so good at producing (such as mud from playing in the creek).

9. Our Development department raises money for the Vicki Kay Memorial Scholarship Fund, through individual and foundation grants.

10. The Grounds department increases the frequency of trash pick-ups, sets out yellow jacket traps, power-washes the Wildlife Theater, and rearranges their schedule for auditorium set-ups and break-downs to accommodate the camp groups that need the facility. They also adjust their lawn mowing schedule to allow the camp kids to use the lawns throughout the day.

11. Taking a break from their ongoing weeding and watering, the Horticulture staff gathers branches, palm fronds and other plant matter to give the kids “fort-building” materials for their survival classes.

12. The Animal Management & Veterinary Care departments help make the vital connection between campers and the Zoo animals, leading behind-the-scenes tours, providing service projects as well as helping to teach some of the classes.

13. Our Public Safety department provides first aid and CPR classes for ZooCamp staff, and manages auto traffic amid the hectic comings and goings each morning and afternoon.

14. And lastly, the Conservation and Education Department:

They teach the classes, lead the tours, organize the crafts and games, lead the songs and bandage the occasional skinned knee. Even the non-teaching staff members help by assisting with Animal Close-ups, dealing with the sick or injured campers, training the seasonal staff and providing administrative support.

Happy Campers

So the next time you see a bunch of smiling ZooCampers in their little matching T-shirts, just remember all the dedicated Zoo employees who help make those smiles possible. And don’t forget to tell your young ones about the cool outdoor fun awaiting them at Oakland ZooCamp every summer!

Happy Green Day To You

by | June 11th, 2010

Have you heard about the exciting new changes in the Zoo’s Education Birthday Party program? It’s been an ongoing effort to get there, but the Oakland Zoo is now happy to announce the “greening” of these popular events. In an effort to promote more responsible and sustainable use of the earth’s natural resources, the Conservation and Education department now offers these fun educational events that utilize recycled and reusable materials.

Re-usable Party Utensils

Over the years, several “green” improvements have been implemented. For a while,  we tried using compostable “SpudWare” utensils. However, it made more sense to avoid using disposable materials altogether, even if they were biodegradable. So now, when you book your special Education Birthday Party at the Zoo, you’ll be using re-usable table cloths, Corelle dishware, and reusable kid-friendly utensils.

Every Education Birthday Party here at the Zoo features a live animal presentation, in which children have the opportunity to learn about wildlife conservation issues while experiencing animals up close in an intimate and fun setting. Afterwards, the kids work on a fun “enrichment” craft project that they get to watch the Zoo animals enjoy at the end of the party. Even these craft activities use recycled and reusable materials, such as previously used cardboard boxes and even paper towel tubes.

Birthday Gift Bags

The party bags provided for the birthday child are now made out of post-consumer plastic, and feature a fun “Go Green” wildlife message. Gifts inside the bags include:

  • A small plant growing kit, with seeds and soil included to encourage kids to garden at home
  • A cool “Ellie-Pooh” elephant magnet, hand-crafted in Sri Lanka from elephant dung and post-consumer paper
  • Recycled pencils made of bamboo
  • Stickers with the Zoo’s “Go Green” logo
  • Educational Top Trumps trading cards.

One of the new cards will feature the Western Pond Turtle, to educate participants about the Oakland Zoo’s ongoing conservation programs. The birthday child’s party bag also includes a very special plush animal: an Animals Asia “Moon Bear,” along with a tag describing the Zoo’s conservation project in China that works toward the preservation of these endangered animals. Supporting worldwide conservation programs is a major part of the Zoo’s ongoing conservation mission: “The Oakland Zoo is committed to action for improved global health and the preservation of biodiversity.”

So, don’t forget to call the Zoo and schedule your child’s special Education Birthday celebration. And have a Happy Green Day!