Header Notice

Winter is here! Check out the winter wonderlands at these 5 amazing winter destinations in Montana

Everything You Need To Know About Oakland Zoo


Modified: December 27, 2023

by Ines Silveira

Oakland Zoo is both a fun day out with the kids and a valuable educational visit for all ages
© Photo by Todd Dailey on Flickr

A hundred acres of Oakland Zoo featuring more than 700 species from all over the world, amazing animal attractions, educational areas, huge aviaries, petting stations and great dining experiences all in one place. Founded in 1922 by Henry A. Snow and currently managed by the Conservation Society of California, the Oakland Zoo is notable for supporting exceptional conservation programmes, researches and for delivering a high standard of animal care at all levels.


Due to its infinite variety of attractions and themed exhibitions, the Oakland Zoo is both a fun day out with the kids and a valuable educational visit for all ages. In this post, we are going to show you all the major attractions and animals to see in the zoo, where to eat and even where to stay in Oakland!


Oakland Zoo’s Main Attractions

California Trail

The highlight of California Trail is the 650-feet high Gondola ride over the stunning views of Knowland Park

© Photo by Oakland Zoo


Oakland Zoo’s most recent exhibition offers one of the best experiences to explore the natural habitats of California and to learn more about the interaction between humans and native animals and plants. Amazing live exhibitions including the American Bison, California Condors, Gray Wolves, Moutain Lions, Grizzly bears, eagles and many more. The highlight of this attraction is with no shadow of a doubt, the 650-feet high Gondola ride over the stunning views of Knowland Park. 


Adventure Landing

A great compilation of wild adventures at Oakland Zoo will take you on an expedition to experience the different ecosystems of our world. There is a lot to do and see, from the Tiger Trek roller coaster and the Serengeti Safari Jeep Ride to the Outback Express Adventure Train taking you on a tour to Wild Australia and more. 


Africa Savanna

Four acres of simulated natural African plains features elephants, lions, meerkats and giraffes

© Photo by Shireah Ragnar on Unsplash


Four acres of simulated natural African plains at the Oakland Zoo features elephants, lions, meerkats, giraffes, an amazing aviary home to the famous Blue Bellied Roller, reptiles, camels and more! This is Oakland Zoo’s second largest attraction where you can find the new giraffe barn and a feeding station too. 


Oakland Zoo’s Must-See Animals

African Elephants 

Did you know? Studies have shown that elephants can locate underground water by just smelling the earth above, – what a great sense of smell! Learning about the heaviest land animal on earth has never been easier with the African Savanna exhibition.



This native Australian can be found in the Wild Australia exhibition sharing the habitat with the Wallaroos. Emus can grow up to 2m tall and have been clocked at 31mph, however, despite being the second largest bird in the world, these lovely creatures cannot fly. 



Jaguars or sometimes called Panthera Onca, are the largest cat in the Americas, where they can be found in tropical forests and swamps

© Photo by Mélody P on Unsplash


Jaguars or sometimes called Panthera Onca, are the largest cat in the Americas, where they can be found in tropical forests and swamps. Their coat, usually an orange/yellow colour, creates a unique pattern with many spots and rosettes all over the body. Did you know? Black Panthers are jaguars with melanism, a condition that makes jaguars’ fur look entirely black but despite the differences, both animals are the same species. 


Dining Options At Oakland Zoo

The dining experience at Oakland Zoo is superb; you can choose from a variety of light meals and snacks to hand-tossed pizzas and gourmet salads. 


The Landing Cafe @ California Trail: Perfect for a whole meal experience whilst enjoying the breathtaking views of the Six Bay Area counties. Open daily from 10am to 5.30pm.


Tuskers @ Flamingo Plaza: Located right after the main entrance serving amazing burgers, hotdogs, salads and sandwiches. Open on weekends from 9am to 5.30pm and weekdays from 10am-5.30pm.


Safari Cafe @ Adventure Landing: Light meals, snacks and grilled specials. Outdoor sitting available. Open daily from 11am to 5.30pm.


Madagascar Trading Post @ Children’s Zoo: Serving snacks, ice cream, hot and cold drinks. Play structure nearby. Open daily from 10am to 3pm. 


Giraffe Snack Hut @ African Savanna: Located next to the giraffe barn serving snacks and cold drinks. 


If you fancy bringing your own food and eating outdoors there are plenty of picnic sites available plus, Oakland Zoo’s meadow is another great place to have a lovely picnic!


Oakland Zoo Opening Hours 

Oakland Zoo opens daily and closes at 4.30 in the afternoon. On weekdays, entry starts at 10am and half an hour earlier on weekends.






10am – 4.30pm

9.30am – 4.30pm

Gondola Ride

10am – 5pm

9.30am – 5pm

Adventure Landing Rides

10am – 5.30pm

10am – 5.30pm

Petting Yard

10am – 4pm

10am – 4pm


Oakland Zoo Tickets And Packages


Under 2’s

2-14yrs old

15-64yrs old

65-75 yrs old








Discounts available for seniors, military families and groups with a valid ID. 



The zoo welcomes a lot of visitors every week which means having the car park at full capacity most of the times. To avoid queues, it is better to arrive at the zoo before or after peak times – from 10.30am to 2pm. Parking costs start at $10. 


Hotels Near Oakland Zoo

Hilton Oakland Airport: Perfect for those looking to stay closer to the Zoo and Oakland International airport. 


Oakland Marriott City Center: Get the best of both worlds! Located in the city centre you can enjoy not only a trip to Oakland Zoo but also all other attractions in Oakland within a stone thrown’s.


Holiday Inn Express & Suites Oakland-Airport: Budget-friendly for those looking to save up on the accommodation without giving up on the location. 


Tourist Attractions Near Oakland Zoo

Lake Merrit is located right in the middle of beautiful downtown Oakland, creating the perfect combination between nature and man-made landscapes

© Photo by Jeff Pierre on Unsplash


Here are some must-dos if you are planning to stay at Oakland for a few days:


Tilden Regional Park 

More than 2000 acres of wildness featuring lakes, native Californian plant species, a botanical garden and endless trails. In particular, the Nimitz Way is a 4-mile long trail beginning at the Inspiration Point on the eastern edge of the park, – it is really worth the hike!


Lake Merrit 

Located right in the middle of the beautiful downtown Oakland creating the perfect combination between nature and man-made landscapes. Great for an afternoon walk around the lake


Oakland Museum of California

A museum of art, history and science right in the heart of the city with amazing exhibitions and galleries to see! Another great place to take the kids and family on a day out.