Location: 9777 Golf Links Road Oakland, CA 94605
Hours: Everyday 10:00am - 4:00pm
Description: The Oakland Zoo is located above 580 freeway in the beautiful hills area of Knowland Park. If you haven't gotten to know Oakland this is a must-stop destination. Sometimes people don't think of Oakland as having trees and peaceful places to enjoy the outdoors, but it is actually full of them if you know where to look! This Zoo is as big as any and has all the animals your child is looking forward to seeing! There are lions, monkeys, zebras, meerkats, turtles, snakes, otters, kangaroos, and many more. The Oakland Zoo has one of the best elephant programs in the Country. They use a method of training with their elephants called "protected contact" which only uses positive reinforcement for their elephants, never grapples or hooks. They also help financially back a lot of preservation efforts and 25 cents of your ticket will go to protecting animals. I highly respect the work of the Oakland Zoo and it's animal handlers, they seem to have a very kind and humane approach to taking care of the animals. Another plus about the zoo is that it has it's own amusement park to the right of the top entrance to the zoo. You can even go visit the rides without going in and purchasing a ticket to the zoo! All the rides are themed with animals and the train actually takes you through a part of the animal exhibits. Now the zoo has added the new gondola ride which takes you to the top of Knowland Park and has an amazing view of the Bay- so worth a trip!
Highlights: The train ride, that is accessible through the rides section of the park. The train ride takes you on a twisty ride around the upper most part of the hills and looks you straight out over the Bay Area with a great view on a clear day. On the Outback Adventure train ride you are in the same enclosure as several non-threatening animals such as kangaroos, emus, and wallaby's. It's really worth the wait in line to get so close to those Australian friends.
Tips: Wear comfortable shoes! As with any zoo or amusement park there is a whole lot of walking! Some of the areas are pretty hilly, wear shoes that you can literally walk for hours in.