Photo: Nick Shockey

The Sacramento Zoo is officially relocating to Elk Grove

Discussions and plans for constructing a new haven for animals have been ongoing since 2021. Now, with a project cost of $302 million, with 57% funded by the city of Elk Grove, it is set to become a reality.

The new zoo will be situated in Elk Grove, approximately 16 miles off Highway 99. This is a significant milestone for both Elk Grove and the zoo itself, which has been located in the Land Park area of Sacramento for nearly a century, since 1927.

Spanning 63 acres of land, the new zoo will be more than four times the size of its predecessor. This is crucial considering the previous zoo occupied 14 and a half acres without parking, leading to challenges in animal care. Over the past two decades, many species such as hippos, grizzly bears, tigers, and others had to be let go.

According to Elk Grove Mayor Bobby Singh-Allen and Sacramento Zoo Executive Director Jason Jacobs one of the key aspects of the new zoo will be creating an atmosphere that fully immerses visitors into the animal kingdom. Visitors are expected to feel like real nature explorers, akin to being in Africa, as they share space with animals such as lions, giraffes, rhinos, and others.

Of particular interest is the idea of creating a safari lodge where visitors can enjoy dinner overlooking African scenery and watering holes.

Whether the new zoo will retain Sacramento in its name will be left to public opinion. However, if an investor willing to pay millions of dollars emerges, they would have naming rights. All of this is still under discussion.

The Sacramento Zoological Society hopes the new zoo will open by 2029.

In Sacramento, discussions are already underway regarding what changes locals would like to see in the space vacated by the zoo. Ideas include creating a community center or animal sanctuary, which will soon be presented to the city council for approval.

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