City of San Diego celebrates San Diego Zoo centennial

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — The San Diego Zoo is celebrating 100 years. In a couple of days, there will be a big party at Balboa Park, but a special ceremony was held Wednesday by Mayor Kevin Faulconer.

It began with a road and it is still roaring forward. It’s the San Diego Zoo’s motto as the park turns 100.

"Dr. Harry Wegeforth, our founder, was driving through the area and animals that were left behind from the California Panama Expo in the 1915 where still here being cared for by the city.  They were trying to figure out what to do with them.  Well he heard that roar from those lions and go the idea to start the zoo," said Rick Schwartz, San Diego Zoo Global Ambassador.

It as the Zoological Society of San Diego, now called San Diego Global, when the walls were built and the doors officially opened in 1923, San Diegoans paid 10 cents to get in.

By the 1950s, zoo attendance passed one million.

Fast forward to today. The zoo has 4,000 individual animals, including "Rio," a beautiful exotic parrot.

Rio was present for Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s proclamation.

"I do hereby proclaim 2016, San Diego Zoo Year in the city of San Diego," he said. "What an amazing zoo that we have here in San Diego. People are proud of our zoo all over the country."

The San Diego Zoo is among the top 10 zoos in the world, not just because of all the animals and attractions inside, but also do to the education and conversation projects the zoo has. 

Categories: Local San Diego News