Oakland Zoo expansion features a bird’s eye view
Imagine taking a 68ft-high gondola ride through the hills of Oakland with breathtaking views of San Francisco Bay. Seated in the Swiss-made cabin, you see a herd of bison and antelope passing below you.
This experience will soon be a reality. In the spring of 2017, the Oakland Zoo hopes to unveil the first phase of its long-awaited expansion, which will include the scenic gondola ride. The four-minute ride will afford panoramic views with glimpses of six bridges and pass directly over exhibits of bison and antelope.
The gondola will transport patrons 1,700 feet to the zoo’s new Visitor Center. The Visitor Center will serve as an introduction to the zoo’s new exhibits, as well as providing a restaurant with seating for 150 people.
In 2018, when the entire expansion project is complete, visitors can tour 56 acres of open-air exhibits. The expansion, called the California Trail, will include native species such as grey wolves, jaguars, mountain lions, bald eagles, and black bears, in natural settings designed to be as close as possible to their natural habitat. A hands-on interactive discovery center and a children’s activity zone will be part of the expansion as well.
The Oakland Zoo was founded in 1922. It currently houses 660 animals. When the expansion is complete, the Oakland Zoo will double in size and will be the second largest zoo in the state behind the world-famous San Diego Zoo. The project will cost $61.5 million.