History

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1922

Henry A. Snow, recognized as a naturalist and collector, establishes the Oakland Zoo in downtown Oakland.

1926

Zoo moves to Sequoia Mountain Park—currently known as Joaquin Miller Park.

1936

The Alameda County Botanical and Zoological Society forms as a support organization for the Zoo. Eventually, renamed the East Bay Zoological Society.

1939

Oakland Zoo moves from Joaquin Miller Park to Durant Park (current location).

1950

Durant Park becomes the Joseph Knowland State Arboretum and Park honoring Mr. Knowland's efforts in securing the land for recreational use.

1961

New elephant habitat for Effie, the elephant, becomes the first significant construction for the Zoo.

1965

The Baby Zoo opens designed for guests to meet and greet baby animals.

1982

The City of Oakland gives the Society the responsibility of managing the entire Park and Zoo.

1982

William Penn Mott, Jr., becomes Director of the Society, leading the Zoo into a new era of growth and development.

1985

Joel J. Parrott, DVM, becomes Executive Director, implementing a 6-phase development plan over the next 20 years to completely renovate the Zoo.

1987

The Zoo's Education Department finishes construction. Providing school and community groups with on-site classes and a ZooMobile outreach program.

1988

Oakland Zoo receives accreditation from the Association of Zoo and Aquariums.

1989

The Zoo completes "Mahali Pa Tembo", meaning the Place of the Elephant, nationally recognized for its natural elephant habitat setting.

1991

New Gibbon Island provides a spacious, lush island for white-handed gibbons.

1992

African Lion habitat "Simba Pori" (Swahili for "Lion Country") opens, providing a 1.5-acre natural savanna and woodland setting.

1996

Malayan Sun Bear habitat completed becoming one of the largest sun bear habitats in North America.

1998

African Savanna area opens, highlighting eighteen animal species and over seventy-five plant species from South and East Africa.

1999

The 17,500 square-foot Maddie's Center for Science and Environmental Education opens. Providing new opportunities for indoor and outdoor education throughout the Zoo.

2001

New Main Entrance and pavilion opens including new gifts shop, restaurant, and upgraded guest entryway to meet the demand of growing attendance.

2005

Wayne and Gladys Valley Children's Zoo catered to the young inquisitive mind is completed. The most extensive renovation and construction in the Zoo's history.

2006

Oakland Zoo launches Zoo-to-Community, to provide free and discounted Zoo admission and transportation to qualified schools and organizations.

2007

Arroyo Viejo Creek restoration project commences, intending to continuously remove non-native species through the creek clean-up program and create outdoor classroom spaces.

2009

Baboon Cliffs opens featuring a cascading waterfall, climbing structures, and spacious area for the baboon troop to roam.

2010

Australian-themed “Wild Australia” features wallaroos and emus accessible only via the Outback Express Adventure Train.

2011

“Quarters for Conservation” launches, challenging guests to actively participate in conserving wildlife by casting their vote to decide which project will receive their donation.

2012

State-of-the-art, 17,000 square foot veterinary hospital, opens becoming the largest wild animal veterinary facility in Northern California.

2013

Oakland Zoo Biodiversity Center opens, serving as a breeding, research, and education facility devoted to the conservation of endangered wildlife.

2013

The Steve and Jackie Kane Condor Recovery Center opens specifically designed to treat large endangered and injured birds.

2017

The East Bay Zoological Society is renamed the Conservation Society of California reflecting the Zoo's evolving purpose and mission in its commitment to conservation.

2017

The ADA-accessible, all-electric gondola opens to transport guests to the California Trail.

2018

Oakland Zoo unveils a long-awaited 56-acre California Trail focussing on California's rich biodiversity and native wildlife.

2021

Nik Dehejia becomes the newest CEO of Oakland Zoo.

2022

Oakland Zoo celebrates Centennial Year. The future is bright at Oakland Zoo. We have big dreams and plans that will transform the Zoo and put us on the map as one of the most recognized Zoos in the country, especially for our humane treatment of animals and worldwide conservation efforts.

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#NoToPlastic Community Clean-Ups

More dates coming soon!

Join Oakland Zoo in Taking Action for whales, sea turtles, shorebirds and all native Wildlife! Volunteers meet at the Zoo and ride the Zoo Shuttle to a local Oakland bay-destined waterway to remove trash, including the ever-abundant plastics that harms and kills our seabirds, turtles, fish and more.

Cocktails & Conservation

August 17, 2022 | September 28, 2022 | October 21, 2022

For 2022, join us LIVE in person or virtually as we feature some of the world’s most incredible conservationists. These heroes are working on the ground every day to save endangered species and their habitats. Join us in person or tune in to Facebook & YouTube Live to learn, ask questions, and be a part of the solution. Enjoy a signature cocktail crafted for your enjoyment from a local Bay Area restaurant or bar. This wildlife Happy Hour offers a shot of hope that we all need!

Earth Day

Thanks for a great event!

We are so excited to bring Earth Day back to the Zoo! Celebrate this wonderful planet we all call home with a day full of live music, animal encounters, entertainment performances, and booths of over 50 hands-on Earth Stations and local environmental organizations! Every visitor that attends gets a special eco-friendly gift on this day.

Brunch for the Wild Bunch

August 20, 2022 | September 10, 2022

Enjoy the rare opportunity to place food inside habitats before the animals go out for the day. Place produce for the elephants, hide seeds for the baboons, spread snacks for the sun bears, toss treats around the grizzly yard, or feed giraffes. And of course, you’ll get to meet and greet with our amazing animal keepers!

Centennial Birthday Celebration at Snow Park

June 5, 2022

The official date of our founding is June 6, 1922, and we celebrated our birthday at our original birthplace, Snow Park, in downtown Oakland next to Lake Merritt. This extra special day was full of fun and festivities for all ages with live music, performances, food, drink, activities for the kids, and more. Thanks to all the Oakland-based business and organizations that attended. It was a wonderful day to celebrate not just the Zoo, but all of Oakland—the great city we live in and the history we all share together!

Walk in the Wild

June 25, 2022

Thank you for being part of this special event during Oakland Zoo's centennial anniversary and helping us raise over $300,000 for Oakland Zoo and its education programs. A big thank you to all the sponsors, patrons, and vendors for their generous support who made this event possible.

Boo at the Zoo

October 22-31, 2022

Calling all ghosts, goblins, and witches - join us for Boo at the Zoo! Due to its popularity, we are extending Boo at the Zoo to four weekends in October. Enjoy this family-friendly Halloween event with a spooky animal-themed scavenger hunt and fun goodies. Remember to dress in costume to enter our social media costume contest. Tickets go on sale in mid-September. This event sells out fast!!

Glowfari

November 11-23, 25-30, 2022 | December 1-23, 26-31, 2022

Glowfari is an unforgettable experience for all ages to enjoy! Featuring hundreds of larger-than-life glowing animal lanterns throughout the Zoo; and with all-new animals displays for 2022! Take a mile-long illuminated stroll through the Zoo and visit the desert with camels and bighorn sheep, have an African safari adventure with elephants, giraffes, and an 8-foot crocodile head, walk through the forests of Asia to meet red and giant pandas - and of course ride the gondola to California Trail. Finish the evening with a visit to Santa and ride the Express Train through our Winter Wonderland!