San Francisco Zoo

From ArticleWorld

The San Francisco Zoo is located in San Francisco, California. It houses approximately 250 animal species and is located in the southwestern corner of the city, close to the Great Highway and Lake Merced. The main entrance has been moved to the Great Highway side of the zoo. The Doggie Diner was once located across the street from the former main entrance to the zoo; only the restored doggie head remains of the diner and is a San Francisco Historical Monument.

The Beginning of the San Francisco Zoo

The San Francisco Zoo was founded by banker and president of the San Francisco park commission, Herbert Fleishhacker. Fleishhacker began planning for construction on a site in the southwest corner of the city. The site was located next to the Fleishhacker Pool, the largest pool in the United States of America. The area also had a children’s playground, an original Dentzel carousel, and the Mother’s Building, a haven for all women and their children. The Zoo would be a wonderful complement to this recreational site. Most of the exhibits were animals transferred from Golden Gate Park including: two zebras, one cape buffalo, five rhesus monkeys, two spider monkeys, and, three elephants (Virginia, Marjory and Babe).

The Zoo Grows

The first exhibits were built in the 1930s and cost approximately $3.5 million. The first exhibits included Monkey Island, Lion House, Elephant House, a sea lion pool, an aviary, and bear grottos. These spacious, moated enclosures were among the first bar-less exhibits ever in the United States .

Over the next 40 years, the Zoological Society became a powerful fundraising source for the Zoo, just as Fleishhacker had hoped for this when he envisioned “…a Zoological Society similar to those established in other large cities. The Zoological Society will aid the Park Commission in the acquisition of rare animals and in the operation of the Zoo.” True to its charter, the Society immediately exerted its influence on the Zoo, obtaining more than 1,300 annual members in the first decade and close to 25,000 today. It also funded important projects like the renovation of the Children’s Zoo in 1964, development of the African Scene in 1967, purchasing medical equipment for the new Zoo Hospital in 1975, and the establishment and creation of the Avian Conservation Center in 1978.