Oakland Zoo Closed — Effective Tuesday, March 17

Oakland, CA – March 16, 2020

In accordance with Alameda County’s order for residents to ‘shelter in place’ for the well-being of public and staff related to COVID-19 precautionary measures, Oakland Zoo will be closed Tuesday, March 17 and remain closed until the order is lifted.

We are committed to the effort to reduce the transmission of COVID 19 to our community, our staff, and our visiting public. One of our core values at Oakland Zoo is of compassion, and our taking care of each other. Health safety for all is a priority for us. This is a stressful time for all with many unknowns. We look forward to welcoming back our staff and visitors at the earliest opportunity possible.” -Dr. Joel Parrott, President & CEO, Conservation Society of California — Oakland Zoo.

Staff able to work remotely will do so. Animal Care and Veterinary Hospital staff will continue to be onsite for ongoing routine care and management of the more than 750 animals at Oakland Zoo, while practicing precautionary measures such as social distancing and hand washing as advised by the California Department of Health. Critical operational teams needed to maintain grounds and other systems will also remain onsite with the aforementioned precautionary measures in place.

Animal Care staff and Veterinary Hospital teams are in touch with zoonotic disease specialists to ensure our animals are protected from any health risk. At this time, there have been no reports of animals in human care or wildlife becoming infected due to human contact with COVID-19.

Nature and wildlife-based education programs that can be enjoyed and practiced at home are being now developed by Oakland Zoo’s Education Department and will be offered through the Zoo’s website in the coming days.


How will Oakland Zoo make decisions regarding COVID-19?

The California Department of Public Health is the lead agency in public health crisis situations in our state and provides public facilities direction on how to manage responses. We are continuing to work closely with the California Department of Public Health and Alameda County Public Health Department so we can respond quickly to any changes in their recommendations, guidance, and direction. We will remain in active contact with the Department of Health officials.

Will Oakland Zoo reopen?

Oakland Zoo is closed March 17 and will re-open when the 'shelter in place' order is lifted or when the County of Alameda allows us to. Any changes to our operating hours will also be posted on our social media profiles (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter).

What about the animals?

Our Animal Care staff and Veterinary Hospital team are in touch with zoonotic disease specialists to ensure our animals are protected from any health risk. At this time, there have been no reports of animals in human care or wildlife becoming sick with COVID-19.

What is happening to the employees at Oakland Zoo?

As is the case with other attendance-driven cultural institutions across the nation, without attendance revenue and the kinds of additional support that many nonprofit organizations like ours rely on, Oakland Zoo will be in dire financial straits for many months to come. We are able to pay all of our staff their wages through March, but have reached the inevitable moment for extensive layoffs, reduced work hours for critical staff, and pay-cuts Zoo-wide, at every level. We will continue to prioritize the pay and continuity of our essential animal care and veterinary staff to ensure that our animals are cared for. We understand that many of you are personally facing the same challenge, but if you’re able, please consider making a donation to our Animal Care Fund to help the Zoo sustain our animal care operations. Please watch Dr. Parrott's personal message to Zoo staff to learn more about the current situation.

How can I support the Zoo during this time?

More than 75% of the Zoo’s income is generated through admissions and concessions, membership and donations from our community. We rely on this income to provide our 750 animals with the highest quality veterinary care, the most nutritious diets and engaging behavioral enrichment. During these uncertain times we need your support more than ever to care for the animals you know and love. Please consider making a donation of any size to support our animals here.

What will happen to the animals at Oakland Zoo during the closure?

We remain committed to providing world-class animal care to our more than 750 animals. Animal Care and Veterinary Hospital staff taking care of wildlife and maintaining other critical systems will remain active on grounds.

I bought a ticket online, can I get a refund?

Tickets purchased online can be used for up to twelve months from the date of purchase.We encourage you to keep your ticket and visit us when the Zoo is open again.We are crafting a policy around refunds during this time and will communicate updates on this webpage. Thank you for your flexibility during this evolving situation.

I have a guest pass that is expiring soon, will it still be valid?

Guest passes expiring in March and April will be extended by 6 weeks from the date the Zoo reopens.

I bought tickets on Groupon that expire within 60 days of purchase. Will you extend the expiration since you’re closed through April 7?

Yes, if you bought tickets on Groupon earlier this year and have not yet used them, we are extending the expiration by 30 days. Groupon will be contacting you with additional information.

I have a facility or group reservation for a private event or birthday party. What happens now?

All events and birthday parties scheduled for March 17– April 7 will be postponed or cancelled. Contact or to process a refund or select a new date. 

To make a new reservation for an event or birthday party beyond April 7, please wait until April 8 to do so.

Can I extend or get a refund on my membership?

Our commitment is to provide our members with twelve months of benefits, which includes year-round access to the Zoo. Our standing policy is that memberships are non-transferrable and non-refundable. At this time we encourage our members to maintain and/or renew their memberships to ensure that we can provide our animals with the critical care they need. Decisions about membership extensions or refunds will be made when the Zoo is open again. 

Please email for questions about your membership. Be aware our response time may be slow during this period.

What is happening with school programming during this time?

All school programs between March 17 – April 7 have been cancelled and parties will be refunded. Availability of programming in April will be communicated before the end of March.

What is happening with overnight experiences during this time?

All overnight experiences between March 17 – April 7 have been cancelled and parties will be refunded. Availability of programming in April will be communicated before the end of March.

Is ZooCamp cancelled?

At this time ZooCamp for March 30–April 7 and April 8-10 are both cancelled and we will issue refunds.

I have a Scout program scheduled in March, what should I do?

All Scout programs between March 17 – April 7 have been cancelled and parties will be refunded. Availability of programming in April will be communicated before the end of March.

I’m a volunteer, what should I do?

You may not come to the Zoo before April 8, or when the allowed to do so by the Alameda County ordinance. You will receive further communications as developments occur.

What can I do to help prevent the spread of disease including the common cold, flu and COVID-19?

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations include the following:

·      Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer composed of at least 60% alcohol. Sanitizer will be available to guests and colleagues at locations throughout the zoo.

·      Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

·      Avoid shaking hands, if possible. People will understand and no one will take offense.

·      Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

·      Stay home when you are sick.

·      Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

·      It is also recommended that people at higher risk of severe illness should stay home and away from large groups of people as much as possible, including public places with lots of people and large gatherings where there will be close contact with others. People at higher risk include:

Where can I find more information?

For more information and to stay-up-to-date on the evolving situation, visit these sites:

·      The World Health Organization

·      US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

·      Alameda County Public Health Department

·      California Department of Public Health

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