San Diego Zoo (Guide)

Opened in 1916, the San Diego Zoo is a popular tourist destination and one of the cities biggest attractions, which is located in Balboa Park, San Diego, California. The San Diego Zoo was a pioneer in terms of having cageless, open-air exhibits that create real, natural animal habitats. It is one of the few zoos worldwide that houses and successfully kept the giant panda. In 2013, San Diego Zoo added a new Australian Outback exhibit, and another new exhibit, known as Africa Rocks, which opened in 2017.

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More about San Diego Zoo (Guide)

San Diego Zoo (Guide)

General Information

Opened in 1916, the San Diego Zoo is a popular tourist destination and one of the cities biggest attractions, which is located in Balboa Park, San Diego, California. The San Diego Zoo was a pioneer in terms of having cageless, open-air exhibits that create real, natural animal habitats. It is one of the few zoos worldwide that houses and successfully kept the giant panda. In 2013, San Diego Zoo added a new Australian Outback exhibit, and another new exhibit, known as Africa Rocks, which opened in 2017.

Capacity

San Diego Zoo is ranked as one of the most visited zoos throughout the United States. It welcomes more than 4 million visitors, and houses more than 650 species and subspecies, along with over 3,700 animals.

San Diego Zoo provides unprecedented access to 99 (40 ha) of acres, with countless stories of a rare type of animals, and the people who are engaged in working to help zoo animals to protect, nurture, and champion them.

San Diego Zoo History

Early years

After the 1915 Panama-California Exposition, the San Diego Zoo developed out of an exotic animal exhibition that was abandoned. A year later, in 1916, Dr. Harry M. Wegeforth established the Zoological Society of San Diego, which followed patterns set by the New York Zoological Society at the Bronx Zoo. Until 1941, Dr. Harry worked as the president of the society, and during his presidency, a permanent tract of Balboa Parkland was in August 1921. Under the attorney of the city, the whole zoo and all the animals would have been under the control of the town itself. Hence, in the following year, the zoo started to move to another site. San Diego Zoo managed to host the animals from the Exposition, along with a menagerie from the defunct Wonderland Amusement Park. A fence around the SDZ zoo was financed via Ellen Browning Scripps, which enabled the zoo to start charging an entrance fee for offset costs.

Zoo Directors

On June 13, 1923, San Diego Zoo announced a new director for a 3-years contract by Wageforth. The director became a famous animal collector Frank Buck. Buck was advised by William T. Hornaday, who was the director of the Bronx Zoo, but Buck clashed with Wegeforth and left the San Diego Zoo after three months to return to his primary job - animal collecting.

Wegeforth, after another equally short-lived zoo directors, appointed the new zoo's bookkeeper - Belle Benchley, for the position of zoo's executive secretary. Later, in 1925, she received the title of the zoo director and served as director until 1953. Belle was the first and only female zoo director worldwide.

First Cageless Exhibits

The San Diego Zoo was the first to create cageless exhibits. Hence, the first lion area, without enclosing wires at the San Diego Zoo, opened in 1922. Later, in 1925, the first publication of ZooNooz commenced. The admission fee for children aged under 16 years was free until the 1960s.

Institute for Conservation Research ICR (former CRES)

The Center of San Diego Zoo for Reproduction of Endangered Species (CRES) established in 1975 by Kurt Benirschke, the first director of CRES. In 2005, CRES was renamed after the department of Conservation and Research for Endangered Species to reflect its mission wholeheartedly. In 2009, CRES was expanded and become the Institute for Conservation Research. The Institue for Conservation Research reintroduced overt 30 endangered species and managed to bring them back into the wild.

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