Destination California: Exploring the Sacramento Zoo

Destination California

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — It may not be the largest zoo or even the most famous one in California, but the Sacramento Zoo offers something bigger zoos can’t.

“So we really try to remain a very intimate experience for people,” Lesley Kirrene, the Sacramento Zoo Director of Institutional Advancement and Marketing, said. “People can get up close; they can see the animals; they can hear the animals.”

Sitting on just 14 acres in the middle of historic Land Park, walking through the 93-year-old zoo grounds feels more like walking through a park with views of about 500 exotic animals along the way.

“Not only nearly 125 species of animals here and almost 500 animals, but we also have some really unique species of plants here. So a lot of people that are plant lovers come to walk the zoo, just to see all the different plant life we have,” Kirrene said.

And you don’t have to stick your neck out too far to come face-to-face with a giant.

The Sacramento Zoo offers live giraffe feedings every day for just $5 per visitor.

“One of the things we hope the zoo inspires in people of all ages, but especially children, is that love of wildlife; and we hope that it inspires an interest in conservation and wildlife preservation,” Kirrene explained.

Visitors will also see a few new faces the next time they swing by.

“Since we’ve been back open, let’s see, we have the ostriches that are new, we have squirrel monkeys, we have the new alligator exhibit,” Kirrene said.

The intimate experience still affords people plenty of room to keep their distance from one another.

Since the zoo reopened in June, it’s been operating at a limited capacity.

Families must make reservations online to get tickets, and once they’re inside they’re encouraged to stay an alligator’s length away from others.

“We do ask that people have a mask to enter the zoo and if they can’t maintain a 6-foot distance, that they do wear those masks,” Kirrene explained.

All of the Sacramento Zoo’s indoor exhibits are closed for the time being, and they have created outdoor shopping and dining areas at their gift shop and restaurant.

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