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Oakland Zoo
Oakland Zoo Entrance (2004).jpg
Main entrance
Location Oakland, California, USA
Land area 100 acres (.40 km²) [1]
Coordinates 37°45′03″N 122°08′52″W / 37.7508°N 122.1477°W / 37.7508; -122.1477Coordinates: 37°45′03″N 122°08′52″W / 37.7508°N 122.1477°W / 37.7508; -122.1477
Number of animals 440 [1]
Memberships AZA

Oakland Zoo, in the past known as the Knowland Zoo, is a zoo located in southeastern Oakland, California, United States. Oakland Zoo is relatively small for a city of its size, but it contains modern exhibits. Many of its animals are kept in relatively "natural" habitats, and expanded natural habitats are planned. The newly completed Valley Children's Zoo is a good example of where the zoo is headed, with interactive exhibits, state of the art animal housing facilities and children's play areas. The Zoo is nationally known for its excellent elephant exhibit and has been praised for allowing their elephants to roam freely.


The Beginning of the Zoo

Naturalist Henry A. Snow established the Oakland Zoo in 1922 on 19th St and Harrison St in downtown Oakland. Snow Park now occupies the site of the Zoo's first home. Over the years the zoo relocated several times: to Sequoia Park, Joaquin Miller Park and finally in 1939 to Durant Park. Under Joseph R. Knowland, Chairman of the California State Park Commission, California purchased the land and in 1950 renamed the park to Joseph Knowland State Arboretum and Park.[2] The East Bay Zoological Society (EBZS), founded in 1936 by Henry Snow's son, Sidney, has had a long relationship with the Oakland Zoo. At the time of its founding, EBZS was known as the Alameda County Botanical and Zoological Society.

Growing a Zoo

Although EBZS has always been involved with zoo projects and operations to some extent, it was not until after major development of the zoo from 1958-1965 that the EBZS's role increased dramatically. Through their efforts, money was raised to develop the African Veldt (1965), the Australian Outback (1975) and the original tiger exhibit (1980). In 1977, the EBZS purchased the food, rides and Children's Zoo concessions.

In 1982 the EBZS entered into an agreement with the City of Oakland to manage the zoo and develop it under non-profit status. The zoo has flourished since that time. In 1985, Joel Parrott, DVM, was hired as Executive Director of the Oakland Zoo. Many new exhibits have been created, including those for the Hamadryas Baboons and the Chimpanzees. A new, spacious elephant exhibit was built in 1987. The current sun bear exhibit was finished in 1995 and was featured on Animal Planet “Ultimate Zoos.” The White-Handed Gibbons now live on a lush island in the heart of the Rainforest. The African Savanna, with giraffes, camels, lions, elephants, meerkats, hyenas and more was completed in 1998.

The Education Center opened its new doors in 1999 with the new main entrance following soon after in summer 2001 (see picture). In autumn of 2001, a new Squirrel Monkey exhibit opened along with a larger, newly renovated Tiger exhibit. In the spring of 2007, the four dromedary camels were moved to a larger, fenced enclosure uphill from their old enclosure.

During 2009, as a result of the recession, EBZS' revenues have declined and EBZS has been forced to seek subsidies from the City of Oakland. The City has also placed several "zoo keepers" directly on its payroll. The City of Oakland has a tree preservation ordinance, requiring that anyone wanting to cut down or severely trim a mature tree on private property obtain a permit from the City. During 2009, it has been repeatedly alleged that EBZS' employees have surreptitiously cut down more than 300 trees throughout the city, from public and private property, in order to provide "snack food" for the zoo's giraffes and elephants, in the form of green, new growth tree branches which EBZS cannot otherwise afford to purchase from commercial sources.

The Valley Children’s Zoo

Summer 2005 the 3-acre (12,000 m2) Valley Children's Zoo opened with spacious new animal exhibits along with plenty of interactive play-structures for children. The Ring-Tailed Lemurs, century old Aldabra Tortoises, the interactive Goat and Sheep Contact yard along with the River Otters can be found in the Children’s Zoo. The popular American Alligators, the Bats, the Pot-Bellied Pigs, the Old-World Rabbits along with the Bug Room, and the Reptile and Amphibian Discovery Room are also in the Children’s Zoo. One of the most interesting and popular features with the smaller children are the brass insects embedded in the concrete walkways, which were installed as a form of public art.

The Playground

Just outside of the zoo, there is a small playground with four structures: an elephant slide, a crawl-through hippo tunnel, a turtle that children can climb on, and a climber which is hard to tell if it is a giraffe or a camel.


Today the zoo is home to over 440 native and exotic animals and is a member of the AZA. The following animals are on exhibit to the public:



  • Bishop, Orange
  • Corella, Long-Billed
  • Crane, African Crowned
  • Crane, Lilford
  • Crow, Pied
  • Dove, Tambourine
  • Duck, White-faced Whistling
  • Egret, Cattle
  • Fishers Lovebird
  • Flamingo
  • Goose, Egyptian
  • Guinea Fowl, Helmeted
  • Hammerkop
  • Hornbill, Wreathed
  • Hornbill, Red-Billed
  • Hottentot, Teal
  • Ibis, Hadada
  • Ibis, Sacred
  • Kookaburra
  • Lapwing Plover
  • Lilac-Breasted Roller
  • Macaw, Blue & Yellow
  • Parrot, Princess
  • Pigeon, Speckled
  • Roller, Blue-Bellied
  • African Spoonbill
  • Toucan, Chestnut Mandibled
  • Vulture, Griffon
  • Weaver, Taveta Golden

Reptiles and Amphibians

  • Anaconda, Yellow
  • Alligator, American
  • Boa, Emerald Tree
  • Boa, Columbian Red-Tailed Boa
  • Chameleon, Nosy Be
  • Frog, Panamanian Golden
  • Frog, Golden Mantella
  • Gecko, Giant Leaf-Tailed
  • Lizard, African Plated
  • Lizard, Black Tree Monitor
  • Lizard, Common Chuckwalla
  • Lizard, Desert Grassland Whiptail
  • Lizard, Gila Monster
  • Lizard, Great Plated
  • Lizard, White-throated Monitor
  • Snake, Brown House
  • Snake, Taiwan Beauty
  • Tortoise, Aldabra
  • Tortoise, Spurred
  • Turtle, Florida Red-Bellied
  • Turtle, Spotted


  • Ants, Honey Pot
  • Ants, Leaf-Cutter
  • Beetle, Dermestid
  • Cockroach, Madagascar-Hissing
  • Lubber, Florida Eastern
  • Millipede, African Giant
  • Scorpion, Desert Hairy
  • Spider, Black Widow
  • Spider, Golden Silk
  • Tarantula, Chilean Rose
  • Vinegaroon, Giant
  • Walking Stick, Indian
  • Walking Stick, Giant Thorny
  • The (*) indicates animals only viewable on sky-ride


External links



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