Founded in 1922 by naturalist Henry A. Snow, the Oakland Zoo, located in Oakland, California, is an 85 year-old regional treasure. The non-profit East Bay Zoological Society took over the Zoo in 1983 and hired Dr. Joel J. Parrott, DVM to be Executive Director. Dr. Parrott has spent the past 25 years improving the Zoo for animals and visitors. The organization’s mission is to inspire respect for and stewardship of the natural world, while providing a quality visitor experience.
The Oakland Zoo is a special and fun wildlife venue that promotes conservancy throughout the world. There are more than six hundred and sixty species currently residing at the Zoo. As of 2005, a new Wayne and Gladys Valley Children’s Zoo opened to the public. This four acre exhibit, located within the Oakland Zoo, is part zoo, part children's museum, and part playground. Designed to be a fanciful world of discovery, the Children's Zoo encourages kids to learn through exploration and play.
An integral part of the Oakland Zoo is its commitment to conservation and education. The Zoo contributes to and is involved in many conservation programs in Africa, North America, Asia, South America, and the Caribbean, as well as local and on-site conservation programs. One of these programs is the Arroyo Valley Creek Work Day which restores a local creek and fosters indigenous California wild and plant life. We also have robust education programs that inspire visitors to learn about and love animals and nature conservation. Some examples of the programs are ZooCamp, an interactive summer camp for children wanting to spend the day learning about and having up-close encounters with Zoo animals, and Sundown Safari, a campout in the Zoo meadow where families spend the night seeing nocturnal animals and doing Zoo crafts. There are fantastic opportunities and activities at the Oakland Zoo that one would never get bored, day or night!
The Oakland Zoo contains many other fantastic exhibits, which include elephants, lions, tigers, and giraffes, and hopes to expand by twenty acres in the upcoming “California Project”. The project will redefine the Oakland Zoo as a wildlife park with statewide significance, while boosting the capacity to reach audiences with new and enhanced education, conservation, and public programming. The project will firmly establish the Zoo’s role as a leader in conservation education and stewardship of the natural world, while broadening the Zoo's collaborative relationships with scientists and environmental and conservation-based organizations working to preserve, protect, and promote California's natural history.