Oakland Zoo

Founded in 1922, the Oakland Zoo has a long history of animal conservation. The zoo started in downtown Oakland and through a series of grants and acquisitions the zoo moved to its current location in the late 1940s. From its simple beginnings to the world class zoo that it is today, the zoo still stands for conservation and fights for the rights of animals and hopes to preserve animal habitats. It is involved in conservation programs on four continents and is seeking to have a global impact. Today the zoo is home to over 660 different animals – both native to America and exotic species. Oakland Zoo


»Zoo Exploration

Zoo Exploration


The Oakland Zoo is divided up into several distinct areas that display special habitats for the animals. A virtual map is available to help you get an idea of layout of the zoo.

Animal Feedings: feedings are scheduled throughout each day. The schedule has all the information you need so you can plan to watch while the animals get their grub.

Adventure Landing: an amusement park right in the midst of the zoo. Rides for all ages include things such as Tiger Trek rollercoaster and Outback Express Adventure Train. Check the lineup for a list of all the great rides.

African Veldt: A veldt is a high, treeless plateau typical of southern Africa. Here at the Oakland zoo the African Veldt is the focal point. You will find animals here that are characteristic of a veldt such as elands and giraffes. There will be a variety of birds as well.

African Savannah: This habitat is home to the elephants, lions, zebras and colorful birds. You will also find monkeys, meerkats, hyenas and reptiles.

Rain Forest: Tigers, a variety of monkeys, birds and reptiles live in the Rain Forest, complete with waterfalls and a pond.

Wild Australia: expect to find wallaroos and emus wandering about. Get a good look at this exhibit by riding the Outback Express Adventure Train.

Wayne and Gladys Valley Children's Zoo: This fun, interactive exhibit will delight children of all ages as you learn about animal homes, footprints, foods and so much more. The Children's Zoo is a must see; it is a zoo, museum and playground rolled into one.

WildLife Theater: The Theater is used for many programs including assemblies, animal presentations, guest speakers, overnights and other zoo events.

California Trail: This area is a large expansion to the zoo with a greater focus on conservation. It is expected to open in 2018. For more details visit the website here. Things to Do in California: Oakland Zoo - Photo: Tanya/Fotolia

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»The Animals

The Animals


Birds: The Oakland Zoo houses a large variety of colorful birds. You can learn about eggs, feathers, food, nesting and more.

Amphibians: All about frogs and salamanders, there will be plenty to learn about tadpoles, swimming, and why frogs need water.

Arthropods: Check out the Bug House to learn all about arthropods. What is an arthropod anyway? It is an animal or insect that has an external skeleton like a crab.

Reptiles: Snakes, lizards, turtles – reptiles all of them. The reptiles of the Oakland Zoo can be found at the Children's Zoo.

Mammals: Known as warm blooded animals they are spread throughout the Oakland Zoo. Things to Do in California: Oakland Zoo - Photo: byrdyak/Fotolia

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»Plan Your Visit

Plan Your Visit


There are several cafés located throughout the zoo.

Island Café: Located at Flamingo Plaza this café serves up simple meals such as burgers, sandwiches and salads. They also have snacks and frozen items. There is ample seating indoors and outdoors. This café is open daily.

Safari Café: Open daily, this café is located in the Rides Area and serves BBQ, hot dogs, wraps and other snack-type items. Grilled specials are offered during weekends and summer months. Seating is outdoors.

Savanna Watering Hole: Located in the African Savanna, this café serves up items with a Mexican flair – tacos, nachos, and quesadillas – top it off with ice cream. Other snacks and beverages are also available. The Savanna Watering Hole is open seasonally.

Madagascar Trading Post: This restaurant is located inside the Children's Zoo. Serving wraps, ice cream and various snacks, this is a perfect venue to take a break. The Madagascar Trading Post is open daily.

Budongo Grind: This is the zoo's local coffee shop located in the African Veldt and specializing in coffee, ice cream, cookies and a variety of beverages. The Budongo Grind is open seasonally.

Ice Cream Cart: Open daily in the summer months, the cart serves up your favorite ice cream treats. The Ice Cream Cart is located in the African Veldt area.

Picnic Sites: The Oakland Zoo welcomes you to pack your own picnic lunch and use the picnic tables and benches available. Picnic sites are available for rent if you want to reserve one for your group.

Gift Shop

A gift shop is located at the main entrance. The gift shop specializes in green products, artisan crafts and international goods that promote conservation efforts. Gifts, clothing, books, and other great selections will be a perfect souvenir or keepsake.

Veterinary Hospital

In 2012 the Oakland Zoo opened a state-of-the-art veterinary hospital specifically for the care of animals at the Oakland Zoo. Equipped with the latest diagnostic and medical equipment and rehabilitation environments, the zoo is able to care for all sorts of animals from the smallest bird to the largest elephant.

Tours of the hospital are open to the general public by reservation only. Tours are held on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Prices of the tour range from $10 to $25.

Web Cams

The Oakland Zoo hosts live web cams on their website. This allows you to check up on your favorite animals from your home or office. Also available are several videos about the zoo and some of its animals. In addition, there is some downloadable wallpaper for your computer.

Facility Rental

The Oakland Zoo offers a variety of rental packages to accommodate your event whether a birthday party, a family reunion, corporate event or a wedding. Some venues within the zoo offer spectacular views of the San Francisco Bay. Visit the website for more information.

Directions

Finding your way to the zoo is relatively easy. The Oakland Zoo is located off of I-580. Take Exit 29 onto Golf Links Road and follow the signs.

Special Events

Scheduled regularly throughout the year are special events such as World Elephant Day and Lion Appreciation Day. Each event will have a different focus. There will be interactive stations, zoo keepers on hand to ask questions and so much more. Admission to these events is just the cost of entering the zoo. The zoo calendar details these events and gives specific times.

Along with special events the zoo has a lot of programs that cooperate with the local schools and community. Some of these programs include ZooKids, Zoovie Nights, ZooCamp, Field Biology Workshops, Internships, and even School Overnights.

9777 Golf Links Road, Oakland, CA 94605, Phone: 510-632-9525 Things to Do in California: Oakland Zoo - Photo: Oakland Zoo

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Things to Do in California: Oakland Zoo