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12 Zoos to explore in California

The most populous U.S. state and the third-largest by area.

America's Teaching Zoo7075 Campus Rd, Moorpark, CA 93021, USA

America’s Teaching Zoo at Moorpark College, is also home to the Exotic Animal Training and Management program. This is the living, breathing classroom for the Exotic Animal Training and Management program. Explore to learn more about starting your animal care career and become a student OR explore to learn more about America's Teaching Zoo as a community resource

CuriOdyssey1651 Coyote Point Dr, San Mateo, CA 94401, USA

CuriOdyssey is a science playground and zoo in San Mateo where families see wild animals up-close and real scientific phenomena in kid-friendly exhibits. it is home to nearly 100 rescued animals, most native to California, that cannot survive in the wild. CuriOdyssey's custom-designed exhibits are a science playground where kids play with scientific phenomena, including physical forces, perceptions, and reflections, patterns in nature and backyard science.

Happy Hollow Park & Zoo748 Story Rd, San Jose, CA 95112, USA

Happy Hollow Park and Zoo is a family-friendly amusement park and accredited zoo. Located on sixteen acres. It has many popular features like its carousel, roller coaster, petting zoo, and Puppet Castle Theater. It is home to over 140 species of animal, and a host of attractions and side shows. Though not massive, the park will keep the family entertained for a good portion of the day.

Los Angeles Zoo5333 Zoo Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90027, USA

A 133-acre (54 ha) zoo founded in 1966. Major attractions include botanical gardens, Chimpanzees of the Mahale Mountains, Gorilla Reserve, and Elephants.

Oakland Zoo9777 Golf Links Rd, Oakland, CA 94605, USA

A majestic zoo, which is home to over 375 animals from 125 different species living in lush, naturalistic settings. The collection is organized in biomes, geographic regions that represent the ecosystem of that area. From Africa, to Asia, to Australia, to California 1820 Region.It's recognized for its outstanding animal care, particularly its elephant care program, and for its Leed-certified, 17,000 square foot, state-of-the-art veterinary hospital.

Sacramento Zoo3930 W Land Park Dr, Sacramento, CA 95822, USA

A majestic zoo located in William Land Park in Sacramento. Highlights at the zoo include feeding the giraffes, watching the primates swing and cause mischief, hearing the roar of a lion, and learning about the various animals and their habitats and what you can do to help protect animals all over the world.

San Diego Zoo2920 Zoo Dr, San Diego, CA 92101, USA

With over 4 million visitors, San Diego Zoo is the most visited zoo in the United States. Housing more than 3,500 animals of more than 650 species and subspecies, San Diego Zoo was a pioneer in the concept of open-air, cageless exhibits that re-create natural animal habitats.

San Diego Zoo Safari Park15500 San Pasqual Valley Rd, Escondido, CA 92027, USA

This is a 1,800 acre zoo in the San Pasqual Valley area of San Diego, California, near Escondido. It is one of the largest tourist attractions in San Diego County. The park houses a large array of wild and endangered animals including species from the continents of Africa, Asia, Europe, North and South America, and Australia. The park is also Southern California's quarantine center for zoo animals imported into the United States through San Diego.

San Francisco ZooSloat Blvd &, Upper Great Hwy, San Francisco, CA 94132, USA

San Francisco Zoo is a majestic 100 acre property, which is home to more than 2,000 exotic, endangered, and rescued animals in 100 acres of majestic and peaceful gardens located directly on the Pacific Coast.

Santa Ana Zoo1801 E Chestnut Ave, Santa Ana, CA 92701, USA

A majestic 120 acre zoo focusing on the animals and plants of Central and South America. The Santa Ana Zoo hosts more than 270,000 people annually. The zoo maintains an extensive primate collection with over a dozen species from around the world.The Zoo is a place to play, a place to learn and a place to spend time with your family.

The Santa Barbara Zoo is located on 30 acres  near the ocean in Santa Barbara, California. It was built on the site of what was known as the Child Estate. The zoo has been ranked numerous times as one of the nation's best small zoos. It has more than 500 animals in numerous exhibits, including capybara and California condors, and is famous for having had a giraffe with a crooked neck.

The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens47900 Portola Ave, Palm Desert, CA 92260, USA

A zoo and botanic garden combination dedicated to the deserts of the world. The programs provide environmental education, native wildlife rehabilitation, plant propagation, and habitat restoration, and captive breeding of African and Sonoran Desert species, including the iconic desert bighorn sheep.