The community is invited to celebrate the milestone through various events and fundraising campaign

Staff Report

SANTA BARBARA — The Santa Barbara Zoo has announced plans for its 60th Anniversary, which will be celebrated throughout the year. The zoo has also launched a fundraising campaign in honor of the milestone, and to help support the next 60 years to come.

In August 1963, the Santa Barbara Zoo opened its doors to the public, and for six decades now, it has been dedicated to the preservation, conservation, and enhancement of the natural world and its living treasures, and has been a beloved destination for generations of families, tourists, and locals alike.

“The Santa Barbara Zoo is unlike any other place in the world, where guests are transported into sprawling landscapes and ecosystems full of amazing wildlife and get one-of-a-kind experiences where stories of nature and conservation come to life,” said Rich Block, president and CEO of the Santa Barbara Zoo.“The future of our natural world depends on how we, as people, choose to act. By supporting the zoo, you are taking an excellent first step. We thank you for your continued support over the past 60 years, and we hope with each future visit you have the chance to reconnect with the animals and continue your commitment to the conservation of these wonderful animals.”

Today, the Santa Barbara Zoo is home to vital conservation efforts, with more than 400 individual animals from more than 100 species, and a lush botanical collection features formal gardens and lawns, native plants and trees, cacti and succulents, ornamentals, exotic species, and plantings arranged throughout the park to recreate natural habitats. 

Known as one of the world’s most beautiful zoos, its located on 30 acres of lush botanic gardens overlooking the Pacific Ocean, Andree Clark Bird Refuge, and the Santa Ynez Mountains. The zoo welcomes roughly half a million guests each year, providing an ideal setting for visitors to connect with nature and wildlife, while supporting conservation efforts worldwide. 

Over the past six decades, the Santa Barbara Zoo has played a crucial role in the conservation of species ranging from California condors and island foxes to snowy plovers, and more. With its diverse world-class habitats, including the new Australian Walkabout, there is no other place like the Santa Barbara Zoo.

“The past 60 years have been a remarkable journey for the Santa Barbara Zoo,” said Derek Shue, Santa Barbara Zoo Board chair. “Today, we’re home to hundreds of animals and are continually paving the path for the future of endangered species. The zoo team is working at the forefront of conservation from right here in our own backyard, leading collaborative research projects and actively supporting local and national conservation partners. 

“The Santa Barbara Zoo was also the first zoo on the West Coast to be designated a Certified Autism Center in 2018, and in 2022, the zoo’s ‘Early Explorers’ program became the first licensed outdoor preschool in California, providing one of the most unique educational experiences available. As we look ahead to the next sixty years, we hope to continue to lead the way in the preservation and conservation of the natural world, and inspire future generations to be stewards of our planet and its natural resources.”

As part of the 60th anniversary celebration, the Santa Barbara Zoo will be hosting a variety of special events and activities throughout the year. From animal encounters and behind-the-scenes tours to giveaways, and special 60th anniversary merchandise for sale, there will be something for everyone to enjoy. Additionally, the zoo is launching a 60th anniversary fundraising campaign, “To Another 60 Years,” to raise funds in support of the zoo’s mission and to ensure its here to enjoy for many generations to come. The community is encouraged to make one-time or monthly donations of $6,000, $600, $60, or $6 to commemorate this special milestone by clicking here:

The zoo is open daily from 9 a.m. for members and 9:30 a.m. for general admission until 5 p.m.; general admission is $25 for adults, $15 for children 2-12, and free for children under 2. Parking is $11. The Santa Barbara Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). AZA zoos are dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great visitor experience, and a better future for all living things. With more than 200 accredited members, AZA is a leader in global wildlife conservation and is the public’s link to helping animals in their native habitats. For more information, visit