Mayor, Community Celebrates San Diego Zoo's Centennial

The world-famous San Diego Zoo was founded in 1916

The San Diego Zoo is now 100 years old and city leaders celebrated the centennial with a special proclamation Wednesday ahead of a community festival.

At a special ceremony at Plaza de Panama in Balboa Park, Mayor Kevin Faulconer presented a proclamation from the City of San Diego to San Diego Zoo Global officials, marking the landmark’s milestone birthday.

The ceremony was also attended by Chairman of the Board of San Diego Zoo Global Robert B. Horsman, San Diego Zoo Global President/CEO Douglas G. Myers and San Diego Zoo Global Ambassador Rick Schwartz -- plus, of course, a few zoo residents.

The city’s proclamation comes just days before the Centennial Community Event – the zoo’s big celebration set for 6 p.m. Saturday at Spreckels Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park.

According to organizers, the family-friendly party will include crafts, hands-on activities for the kids, live music, dancing and animal presentations by zookeepers. A live orchestra – including Tony and Grammy Award winner Heather Headly – is set to perform at Spreckels Organ Pavilion at 8 p.m.

During the event, several Balboa Park museums will offer free admission, including the San Diego Museum of Art and the Museum of Photographic Arts.

Attendees can also enjoy food that evening from a long lineup of gourmet food trucks including Seoul Man (Korean cuisine), Salt + Lime (Mexican food) and Totally Tasty (burgers), to name a few.

Organizers say the San Diego Zoo is not open that evening and all centennial events will take place at Balboa Park. Attendees can RSVP to the big bash ahead of time on the zoo’s centennial website.

San Diego Zoo Global – the non-profit that operates the San Diego Zoo, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park and the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research – was founded on Oct. 2, 1916, by Harry M. Wegeforth.

The award-winning, 100-acre San Diego Zoo sits on Balboa Park north of downtown San Diego and is home to more than 3,500 rare and endangered animals spanning more than 650 species and subspecies. The zoo is renowned for its panda habitat. It also houses more than 700,000 exotic plants.

According to the zoo’s website, San Diego Zoo Global is the largest zoological membership association in the world, with more than 250,000 adult member households and 130,000 child memberships.

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