City of San Diego Honors San Diego Zoo Centennial

Gift from San Diego Zoo Arrives in Balboa Park, To Be Opened at Community Event May 14

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer today (May 11, 2016) presented a proclamation to officers of the San Diego Zoo that declares, for and on behalf of the people of San Diego, that 2016 is “San Diego Zoo Year” in the city of San Diego—in honor of the Zoo’s centennial. Signed by the mayor and all of the San Diego City Council members, the document was presented during a press conference at Plaza de Panama in Balboa Park. San Diego Zoo Global President and CEO Douglas G. Myers and Chairman of the Board Robert B. Horsman accepted the proclamation on behalf of the Zoo.

The proclamation recognizes that the San Diego Zoo was founded in 1916 as a sanctuary for wildlife, after Dr. Harry Wegeforth heard the roar of a lion following the 1915 Panama-California Exposition and established the Zoological Society of San Diego (now San Diego Zoo Global) on Oct. 2, 1916. It now operates three world-class facilities, the San Diego Zoo, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park and the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, through which the organization is able to work on conservation projects in 80 countries on six continents. San Diego Zoo Global has recovered and re-introduced more than 30 species into native habitats—including the California condor, Caribbean iguana and mountain yellow-legged frog.

Before the press conference began, a large gift from San Diego Zoo Global was delivered to the Plaza de Panama that will be opened on Saturday, May 14, during a Centennial Community Celebration. To celebrate with all of San Diego, the Zoo is hosting a free-to-attend sight and sound spectacular in Balboa Park, at the Plaza de Panama and Spreckels Organ Pavilion. All of San Diego is invited to attend this joyous celebration that is a “thank you” to all of the Zoo’s supporters throughout the years.

Starting at 6 p.m., the Zoo has arranged for family fun crafts, face painting and animal presentations by San Diego Zoo Global ambassador Rick Schwartz. The Museum of Photographic Arts and the San Diego Museum of Art will be free to visit during the event, and the San Diego Zoo History Center, which features the exhibit The Lore Behind the Roar! 100 Years of the San Diego Zoo, will discount admission by $2. Guests will be invited to participate in a setting a Guinness World Record for the largest group of people performing with hand puppets, at 7 p.m.

Beginning at 8 p.m., on the Spreckels Organ Pavilion stage, the San Diego Zoo will present a magical, musical extravaganza featuring Tony and Grammy award winner Heather Headley, with a 50-piece orchestra and a 100-member choir. San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, Councilmember Todd Gloria and former San Diego Zoo ambassador Joan Embery will open the performance. To view the Zoo’s online historical timeline and get more details on centennial events, please visit

Prior to the Centennial Community Celebration, on Saturday, May 14, the San Diego Zoo will be open for its usual operating hours: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.