There’s a lot to see in this urban oasis nestled against the Pacific Ocean. The Zoo is home to a stunning and important botanical collection as well as more than 250 species of animals, many of which are highly endangered. From the smallest insect to the tallest giraffe, you’re sure to find a story that touches and inspires you. Browse through our pages of animals, exhibits, and plants to learn more about the wonderful things you can experience at the San Francisco Zoo.
The San Francisco Zoo was founded by banker and SF Parks Commission president Herbert Fleishhacker. Fleishhacker began planning for construction on a selected site in the southwest corner of San Francisco, adjacent to the Fleishhacker Pool, once the largest swimming pool in the United States. The area was also already home to a children’s playground, an original Michael Dentzel carousel, and the Mother’s Building, a haven for women and their children. Most of the exhibits were populated with animals transferred from Golden Gate Park, including two zebras, a cape buffalo, five rhesus monkeys, two spider monkeys, and three elephants (Virginia, Marjory, and Babe).