Circle of Life at SF Zoo

Going to exotic locations this summer? In 1967, San Franciscans got to experience the wilds of Africa for the first time without leaving the City’s borders. The Herbert Fleishhacker Zoo, named for the founder, was built during the 1930s and 1940s as a part of the federal Work Progress Administration (WPA) projects. In 1941, the founder asked for the name to be changed to The San Francisco Zoological Gardens. In 1954, the Zoological Society was created to begin the first of many fundraising campaigns to improve and expand the zoo. The Society funded the development of the “African Scene” in 1967.

Zoos around the world have moved away from simply exhibiting animals to educating the public and contributing to the conservation of a variety of species. Here is a good example of a conservation effort that turned out very well. Meet Hasani who was born in 2008 at the San Francisco Zoo.

The “circle of life” is not just a song lyric. Our animal friends age as we do. Tallulah, the chimpanzee, arrived at the Zoo in 1967 as a teenager. She became a favorite and, “keepers described her as funny, clever, confident and a trickster with a playful personality but whose status as matriarch of the troop was made clear by the respect accorded her by the Zoo’s other chimpanzees,” according to the Zoo’s Web site. She was estimated to be in her mid-50s, one of the oldest chimpanzees in all of the zoos in the country, when she passed away from heart disease in January. Here is the news story that ran on our local CBS station to honor her memory.

If you are thinking about camping this summer, and want to hang out with our animal friends, consider camping at the zoo by reserving spots for the “Family Wild Night at the San Francisco Zoo.” The description says this educational program is, “A one-of-a-kind experience in San Francisco, you’ll wake to the sounds of lions, tigers, penguins, and peacocks. Dinner, evening snack, and breakfast are included, as well as guided tours, keeper talks, fire-side family time, and more.” The details are at:

For just a regular visit to the Zoo, here is the Web site for the basics:

Best wishes,