The Oakland Zoo opened in 1922, and has moved throughout the city until finally settling in the Knowledge Park neighborhood. The idea for a zoo was first proposed by Henry A. Snow, a naturalist who was known for big game hunting in Africa and advocating for more museums in the United States. Today, the zoo is home to over 650 animals, which are both native to this area of California and from habitats around the world. The zoo covers 525 acres and continues to grow every year.
The zoo is separated into biomes, which geographically mimic the wild. Guests can see animals from certain regions of the world, making it easy to find the parts of the zoo they want to see most. The entire zoo is focused on the African Savannah, which has the popular lion exhibit. In additions, guests can see African elephants, hyenas, zebras, meerkats, green monkeys, and more in this area, and the nearby African Veldt has gazelles, reticulated giraffes, warthogs, crowned cranes, and other animals that call this part of the work home.
Beside the African exhibits, guests can see animals of the Tropical Rain Forest. Species represented here include chimpanzees, gibbons, tigers, pythons, toucans, sun bears, tamarins, and squirrel monkeys. Another popular area is the Children's Zoos, where kids can get closer to animals in many cases. This part of the zoo has a bug house, a reptile house, a barn with goats and sheep, and animals such as ricer otters, American alligators, bats, lemurs, bunnies, pot belly pigs, and tortoises. Other animals not in a specific biome, but rather sprinkled throughout the zoo include flamingos, camels, bobcats, and Hamadryas baboons.
The Oakland Zoo also has a number of choices for food and entertainment. Guests who are hungry can stop at the Island Caf,, Safari Caf,, or African Savanna Caf,, or they can stop at one of the food carts or ice cream carts sprinkled throughout the zoo. There's an educational center for those who wish to participate in learning programs, and a rides area is perfect for kids who need a break from the animals. For guests who don't want to walk through the entire zoo, there is a train depot to take guests on a train tour, and there's also a sky ride to see the zoo from above. From the sky ride, visitors can see bison and tule elk, which can't be seen otherwise at the zoo.
Guests who want to see animal feedings can check out the zoo's many programs, which allow visitors to see daily feedings of the elephants, giraffes, otters, meerkats, monitors, and sun bears. On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays, guests can also see zookeepers feed the alligators in the Children's Zoo area.
The Oakland Zoo is open every day from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM, with extended hours during the busy summer months. They have classes some days for guests, as well as opportunities to have events like birthday parties at the zoo. For more information, guests can call the zoo at 510-632-9525.