The Centennial Time Capsule

August 11, 2022

2022 marks the 100th year of Oakland Zoo. Its locations may have changed over the years, but the goal has always been the same: Taking Action for wildlife conservation, providing exceptional care for our animal ambassadors, and offering an inspiring and enjoyable destination for Bay Area families.

For our centennial year we've done a deep dive into our archives to find magical Zoo moments of years past. Additionally, loyal members and guests have reached out to share their own experiences, stories, and images. We're thrilled to be able to share these special moments in time that chronicle the evolution of the zoo, from its original iteration as the Snow Museum to the Oakland Zoo you know and love today.

The original Oakland Zoo - the Snow Museum located on Harrison & 20th near downtown - 1922.

Photographer, renowned adventurer, and Oakland Zoo co-founder, Syndney Snow, with two of the early park's most adorable residents - pre-1950. Photo credit: Nancy Clark.

Zoo favorite Effie the elephant and her mom - 1950s. Photo credit: Karen Cauble

Did you ever get to own a Knowland Park Zoo pennant? Photo credit: Melody Wall

Can you envision which current habitats replaced these old ones from the '60s?          Lower zoo - 1966.

How many times did you take a photo on the golden lion statues? FYI, the lions never left! One can be found near the Parrot Plaza exit and the other by our rides area. Photo credit: Karen Cauble

Jane Goodall during one of her visits to Oakland Zoo in front of gibbon island - Year unknown.

The former entrance plaza primate tower. Though the structure no longer remains, the original keeper entrance tunnel is still in place underground - Year unknown.

Staff photo, circa 1987. Former CEO Dr. Parrott can be seen in the back row, all the way to the left. Some of the lovely people in this photo still work at the zoo today.

Smokey the elephant, the inspiration for the the Oakland A's mascot, with guests - 1989. The Oakland Zoo evolved its elephant protocols to become the first zoo to adopt a protected contact protocol during the early 90s.