Frequently Asked Questions
How is the zoo funded?
The zoo is operated by the City of Eureka. Funding for all operational costs (animal food, vet care, keeper salaries, etc) is provided through the City’s general fund. Capital improvements such as the new Barnyard and Entry Pavilion facilities were funded entirely from private donations and grants. The Zoo Foundation is the fund-raising organization that supports the zoo, through Gift Shop and food sales, memberships, and other fundraising activities.
Why doesn’t our zoo have the big zoo animals like elephants and lions?
Our zoo is unique in its size – we are one of the smallest accredited zoos in the country. On only 5 acres, we have very limited space for large exhibits. Although zoos in the past may have displayed animals in small cages, this practice is no longer acceptable or desirable. Since large animals usually need large spaces (and large food budgets), we feel our best effort is to focus on a variety of smaller but equally interesting animals that we have the resources to accommodate, and ones that help convey important messages about nature and conservation.
How do the flamingos stay pink?
Wild flamingos eat small animals and plants that contain a naturally occurring pigment that turns some of the flamingos’ feathers pink. Our flamingos eat a specially formulated diet that contains the same pigment. Without it, the flamingos would look white!
Why are some of the animals hard to find?
The animal exhibits are designed so that animals have places to sleep and hide if they wish. Some animals are naturally less active during certain parts of the day. The birds are more active in the morning and late afternoons, as are some of the other animals in the zoo. They can almost always be seen at those times of the day.
Can I bring my pet to the zoo?
Please don’t! Zoo animals can become alarmed at the sight of strange animals. More importantly, your pet can transmit diseases to the zoo animals, and vice versa. It is for the safety of all the animals that we do not allow pets in the zoo.
Is food available at the zoo?
The Zoo Café is located inside the Entry Pavilion. Stop by for lunch or an afternoon snack, and help the zoo improve at the same time! If you prefer, you may bring in your own food and picnic. Catering services are also available for parties.
When are the animals fed?
Feeding times vary throughout the day, so it’s best to ask a staff member during your visit.
Will the zoo have prairie dogs again?
We hope so! The round Prairie dog exhibit was outdated and had to be removed during renovation in 2004. The zoo's new master plan includes a naturalistic Prairie dog habitat that will also feature endangered Black-footed ferrets, Burrowing owls, Badger, and other species that depend on Prairie dog towns. This phase of develoment is in our long-range plan.
When will the zoo get more animals?
If you haven’t been to the Zoo lately you will be pleased to discover many new additions to the Zoo family. We have ongoing projects and plans for new features at the zoo, including new animals and habitats. Each year we add new species. Check with the Zoo Attendant at the ticket booth for updates. These projects vary in size and scope – the smaller ones will be developed within the upcoming year, and larger projects may take a few years to accomplish. Please visit regularly to watch our progress!
What will the Zoo look like in the future?
Our facility master plan was revised in 2006 and the Zoo of the future will be amazing! Please read here for details.
Where does the zoo gets its animals?
The vast majority of our animals come from other zoos, many as part of a collaborative captive breeding effort among accredited zoos around the country. Most of our domestic animals are donated by private individuals or shelters, and some are wild animals from the Humboldt Wildlife Care Center that have sustained injuries that will not allow them to return to the wild. The zoo provides them a safe home where they can be ambassadors for their wild counterparts to teach visitors about caring for nature. A select few of the zoo's animals were born and raised right here at Sequoia Park Zoo.
Can I donate my animal to the zoo?
Probably not. The zoo can only accept animals that we have specific plans to exhibit, and we do not have the space or staff to adequately house extra animals. Sadly, we receive several calls each week from someone needing to place an unwanted pet. If you have an animal in need of a new home, please try our local and statewide rescue organizations that specialize in re-homing unwanted pets. Plans for a pet should always include care for its entire lifespan. Remember that exotic animals almost never make good pets, and most are illegal to keep in California.
What happened to Bill the chimpanzee?
Resident at the Sequoia Park Zoo for fifty years and one of the oldest chimpanzees in captivity, Bill was more than sixty years old when he passed away on June 26th, 2007 after an age-related illness.
His former exhibit has been converted to a tribute “garden” in honor of Bill and companion Ziggy. Two rock pillar fountains stand where their night quarters once were, with Bill’s bronze statue between them and Bill’s rope swing above. The paths are lined with bricks inscribed with special messages to Bill & Ziggy and to other loved ones in the community. Bill’s ashes were placed under these bricks. On the walls are the stories and photographs of the lives of these chimpanzees as well as the 100-year history of Sequoia Park Zoo. Bill’s Garden is a special corner of the Zoo in which to reflect and reminisce, and appreciate the story of these two animals who shared their lives with the community of Eureka.
Modern zoological practices recognize the intelligence and highly complex social structure of this species, and animal care standards ensure that chimpanzees in captivity will have enough natural space for a large social group to live together. It is therefore no longer appropriate to house chimpanzees or other great apes in a zoo with limited space and resources. Instead, Sequoia Park Zoo of the 21st century will focus on animal species that fit best with our size, staff resources and climate. You can learn more about our future exhibit themes by taking a look at the master plan layout also on display in Bill’s Garden. The Zoo staff is excited about this plan and enjoy sharing details with visitors. Please ask us!
We encourage college students to use our facilities to further their studies and research. Contact us in advance of your visit to schedule your free admission to the Zoo by calling our Zoo Attendants, (707) 441-4263.