|Date opened||June 2, 1927|
|Location||William Land Park, Sacramento, California, USA|
|Land area||14.3 acres (5.8 ha)|
|Number of animals||Just over 500(2012)|
The Sacramento Zoo is a zoo located in William Land Park in Sacramento, California. It opened on June 2, 1927 with 40 animals. At that time it occupied 4.2 acres (1.7 ha), which remained the case until the early 1960s when the zoo expanded to its current 14.3 acres (5.8 ha). As of December 2012[update] the zoo had just over 500 animals on site.
In 1948, the Sacramento Union Newspaper sponsored a drive to raise money to buy the Zoo an elephant. In the fall of 1949, SUE (the “Sacramento Union Elephant”), so named by local teenage sisters Jacklyn and Carolyn Bolton via a contest sponsored by the Union, arrived at the Zoo, much to the delight of area visitors. 1955 brought “Winky”, Sue’s companion.
The Sacramento Zoological Society formed in 1958 to support and raise funds for the Zoo as city funding began to dwindle. 1958 also brought along the start of the Zoo’s educational programming, at that time, one of only nine zoos in the United States to have such a program. In 1997 the society took over day-to-day operation of the zoo.
The zoo was expanded to 14.3 acres (5.8 ha) in the early 1960s, with new habitats built in most areas of the zoo. In 1965 the zoo received its first grizzly bear and two orangutans, and began charging 25 cents for admission. The current name was adopted in 1970, along with the completion of the reptile house and the creation of a docent program.
On April 6, 2007 an exhibit featuring six penguins opened to the public. The day prior, Mayor Heather Fargo and other guests were dressed in black and white to greet the new arrivals, who were on loan for the "one year bash".
In 2009 the zoo started construction on a new barn and yard for their giraffes. The old wooden barn was demolished and replaced with a much more spacious, heated barn. The new barn includes a breeding facility with many large stalls for current giraffes and their calves. The Tall Wonders giraffe habitat has a pavilion for visitors to get an eye to eye view of the giraffes. The new facility opened on February 12, 2010.
2011 brought along the grand opening of a new river otter exhibit, complete with glass that enabled visitors to walk up to visitors and interact with the very sociable North American river otters in their naturalistic habitat.
The Zoo is currently building a Small African Animal House.