In 1916, when a lone lion left in a cage in Balboa Park after the Panama-California Exposition was heard roaring by San Diego surgeon Dr. Harry Wegeforth, he quipped to his brother, “Wouldn’t it be splendid if San Diego had a zoo?” From such simple words, the “idea of the century” was born, and a 100-year revolution in animal care and worldwide wildlife conservation was launched. This is just one of many stories featured in The Lore Behind the Roar! 100 Years of the San Diego Zoo, opening Sunday, March 20, 2016 at the San Diego History Center, in the heart of Balboa Park. This new, family friendly exhibition tells the story of the San Diego Zoo’s humble beginnings and its evolution as a major tourist attraction and global conservation organization. Visitors to the San Diego History Center will gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of the Zoo’s role in the San Diego community, and its efforts to end extinction worldwide. The exhibition covers 5,500 square feet of gallery space and is filled with rare historic objects, one-of-a-kind photos and multimedia exhibits that tell the colorful stories of the people, events, animals and conservation efforts that have made the San Diego Zoo “world famous”—from its earliest days to the present. Visitors who wander the three halls that make up the exhibit will see remarkable historical photos, learn inside stories about the development and growth of the Zoo over the years, and explore innovations in “cage-free” exhibits, state-of-the-art veterinary care and wildlife conservation. Through the exhibits’ interactive elements, guests can hear stories from longtime zoo employees, experience the life of a zookeeper, explore the Zoo’s extensive animal and plant collection, and learn many fascinating facts about the world’s most popular zoo. In addition to the San Diego History Center, four other prominent Balboa Park institutions are collaborating with the San Diego Zoo to present animal-themed exhibitions: The Timken, the Museum of Photographic Art, the Museum of Art and the Natural History Museum. For details, exhibition hours and admission prices, visit sandiegohistory.org. Centennial Celebration for All of San Diego On May 14, 2016, we will host a joyous celebration of the San Diego Zoo and its San Diego supporters throughout the years, with a festival that everyone will be roaring about. Starting at 6 p.m. at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park, all of San Diego is invited to join the community celebration, with music, food, a Zoo-themed spectacle you’ll have to see to believe and a group who will create a “roar” that we hope will break records. Centennial Celebrations at the San Diego Zoo On the grounds at the San Diego Zoo, history is part of the daily Centennial Celebration show at Wegeforth Bowl. It opens with a film about 10 reasons to celebrate the San Diego Zoo’s 100th birthday—including our amazing animal collection and world-class Safari Park—then leads into an exciting new animal show that incorporates special video clips and features some of the Zoo’s most beloved creatures. During each show, a child will be chosen from the audience to participate and will receive a birthday cupcake for joining in. After the show at Wegeforth Bowl, a new costumed character experience designed especially for children will feature performances on a gigantic birthday cake stage in Centennial Plaza. Characters include Dr. Harry Lion, Bamboo Panda, Churchill P. Bear, Matilda Koala, Sydney Koala and Kylie Kangaroo. Kids will join in a rousing chorus of “You Belong in the Zoo” and will have the chance to dance with the characters. The celebration includes the opportunity to indulge in freshly baked birthday cupcakes. The centennial celebration is also incorporated into the San Diego Zoo guided bus tours. Before boarding, guests will enter the Centennial Theater to watch an uplifting multimedia presentation that highlights San Diego Zoo Global’s vision of leading the fight against extinction. While guests wait to board the bus, they may learn about San Diego Zoo Global’s efforts to save the endangered Hawaiian honeycreepers, the ʻakikiki, and the ‘akekeʻe; the long-term work to save India’s greater one-horned rhino; or our new initiative to help save the dwindling populations of African giraffes. There are three films that will rotate during the day, and each focuses on the vision of San Diego Zoo Global by sharing conservationists’ personal stories and sage insights.After guests have seen a movie in the Centennial Theater, the guided bus tour will continue to share details about the Zoo’s history and our ongoing efforts to end extinction by saving endangered wildlife, one species at a time. Bringing species back from the brink of extinction is the goal of San Diego Zoo Global. As a leader in conservation, the work of San Diego Zoo Global includes on-site wildlife conservation efforts (representing both plants and animals) at the San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, as well as international field programs on six continents. The work of these entities is inspiring children through the San Diego Zoo Kids network, reaching out through the Internet and in children’s hospitals nationwide. The work of San Diego Zoo Global is made possible by the San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy and is supported in part by the Foundation of San Diego Zoo Global.
The Lore Behind the Roar! 100 Years of the San Diego Zoo