Friday, November 9, 2012

San Francisco Zoo Then and Now - New Article

I love San Francisco history and of course I love the Zoo, so anything combined is a bonus!  ... I'm also a freak about the TV Series Streets of San Francisco and put up some clips on my first Zoo blog from an episode filmed at the Zoo!  

Great new article (that states it may turn into a series!) on the Zoo's History.  A Then and Now, with some great photos from the past.  

One of my favorite history book series is put out by Arcadia Publishing.  A couple years ago they put out a San Francisco Zoo one, bringing my total books in their series to over Twenty.  Check it out if you are interested in more great photos and info bits about the Zoo's beginnings.

During the Zoo's 80th Anniversary in 2009, the Zoo put up these beautiful and fantastic signs at certain points around the grounds, featuring historic photos and information.  Unfortunately they took them down.  Big FAIL I think embracing the Zoo's past with present is part of endearing people to the Zoo.

I can't remember if it was while I had an open and favorable communication with the Zoo's Director, that I made this suggestion via email to her or if it was in one of my blogs, but my feeling still stands on this as I think it is a brilliant idea.  In fact, I think it would be a richer experience for Children than a new Playground.

I would love to see the Historic Mother's Building, renovated and turned into a history Museum. I would love to see old Photos, Video, Memorabilia  ect.  One Keeper told me there is Video footage of our Chimps.  I would love to be able to see that footage.  I love our Chimps, who have lived at the Zoo for over Forty Years.  There is no reason to horde this wonderful history away when it would be shared with the people who really love the Zoo and possibly make more people appreciate the Zoo.   It would be a wonderful tribute to the Fleishhacker Family for their vision to open our wonderful Zoo.  

While making a note on history and embracing the Zoo for its longevity, I want to add a few more things.  

It would be a WIN in every way to include the word "HISTORIC" above the current wording on both the Lion House and the Pachyderm Building.  As well, inside the Lion House there used to be two poster sized photos of passed Lion House Residents.  Old George and Trouble.  These were taken down during this year, I thought because they were going to paint in there, but that hasn't happened and the photos are still down.  I have always loved those photos and they paid tribute to the wonderful souls who have lived there.  I always thought it would be wonderful to put up a nice framed photo of each of the Big Cats who have lived there.  It would celebrate them and make the space warmer.  That said, taking down the two that were already up and never putting them back up is senseless and disrespectful.

Another big part of the Zoo's history that is under celebrated, is that of Monarch the Grizzly Bear.  While Monarch never lived in the current Zoo, he lived in the City's first actual Zoo in Golden Gate Park and was the inspiration to expand that Zoo into the Zoo we have today.  Monarch is a state symbol, his silhouette the model for the Flag of California.  

A fundraising idea I have had for many years was inspired by the Festival of Fish I saw in New Orleans in 2000.

Much like the more well known New York Cow Parade, as well as other like efforts, including a Heart based one the City of San Francisco did some years ago.  The collection of sculptures that are decorated and displayed, later sold as part of a fundraiser.  There is already a statue form that can be used, its on display outside the Grizzly Bear Gulch.This would be an awesome fundraiser for money to be specifically used for upgrading our Bears.  I say specifically because the Bears (Polar and our precious passed Andean) are the most in need Animals at the Zoo, yet continue to be at the bottom of the priority list. ... Another brilliant idea by me :) 

Please post a comment and tell me about your past memories of the Zoo.  

I remember so many things, but the two that stand out most as repeated favorites were getting fish from the cart to feed the Sea Lions and the Bears sitting on the edge of the Grotto's waving!  Also, all the babie Goats that used to jump about the Farm!   

As always, if there are comments, please click on them to expand them and hear what others have to say!


  1. I am posting this for my friend who could not. I thank her for continuing to take the time to email me her comments, even when the blog posting is uber frustrating! ...


    Wonderful post! I loved the TV clips, I recognized all the places, though my zoo visits date only from the 1980s. I love history, all your ideas and comments are great.

    Joanne T.

  2. @Joanne- Thank you for your comment. Glad you enjoyed this! I started out just meaning to put the article link in and then I realized I had a few "history" references of my own to add :)


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