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San Diego Zoo  

The San Diego Zoo is a zoo in Balboa Park, San Diego, California, housing over 12,000 animals of more than 650 species and subspecies on 100 acres (40 ha) of Balboa Park leased from the City of San Diego. Its parent organization, San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance, is a private nonprofit conservation organization and has one of the most significant zoological membership associations globally, with more than 250,000 member households and 130,000 child memberships, representing more than one a half-million people. The San Diego Zoo was a pioneer in the concept of open-air, cageless exhibits that recreate natural animal habitats. For decades, the zoo housed and successfully bred giant pandas, though the pandas were repatriated to China in 2019.

The San Diego Zoo grew out of exotic animal exhibitions abandoned after the 1915 Panama-California Exposition. Dr. Harry M. Wegeforth founded the Zoological Society of San Diego, meeting October 2, 1916, which initially followed precedents set by the New York Zoological Society at the Bronx Zoo. He served as president of the society until 1941. A permanent tract of land in Balboa Park was set aside in August 1921; on the city attorney’s advice, it was agreed that the city would own all the animals, and the zoo would manage them. The zoo began to move in the following year. In addition to the animals from the Exposition, the zoo acquired a menagerie from the defunct Wonderland Amusement Park. Ellen Browning Scripps financed a fence around the zoo to begin charging an entrance fee to offset costs. The publication ZooNooz commenced in early 1925. EZ San Diego Junk Removal


Exhibits at the zoo are often designed around a particular habitat. The same exhibition may feature many different animals that can be found side by side in the wild, along with native plant life. Displays range from an African rain forest (featuring gorillas) to the Arctic taiga and tundra in the summertime (featuring polar bears). Some of the largest free-flight aviaries are here, including the Owens Aviary and the Scripps Aviary.

Many exhibits are “natural,” with invisible wires and darkened blinds (to view birds) and accessible pools and open-air moats (for large mammals).  The San Diego Zoo also operates the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, which displays animals in a more expansive, open setting than at the zoo. Animals are regularly exchanged between the two locations and between San Diego Zoo and other zoos around the world, usually by Species Survival Plan recommendations.

Address: 2920 Zoo Dr, San Diego, CA


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