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San Diego Zoo Centennial: 1916-2016

San Diego Zoo Centennial: 1916-2016

Our 100th Birthday

The San Diego Zoo will have a wide variety of amazing programs in 2016 to celebrate the centennial. They include:

  • Centennial Celebration
  • Centennial Theater and Bus Experience
  • The Lore Behind the Roar exhibit at the San Diego History Center
  • Centennial Community Celebration in Balboa Park
  • Nighttime Zoo

Centennial Celebration

The birthday celebration begins with a film that shares the 10 reasons to celebrate the San Diego Zoo’s 100th birthday which leads into an exciting, brand-new animal show that incorporates special video clips and features some of the Zoo’s most beloved creatures. After the show, a new character revue will feature performances of costume characters, including Dr. Harry Lion and Bamboo Bear, on a gigantic birthday cake stage in Centennial Plaza. Guests will join in a rousing chorus of “You Belong in the Zoo” and will have the chance to dance with the characters. The celebration includes photo opportunities and a chance to indulge in freshly baked birthday cupcakes.

Centennial Theater and Bus Experience

The enhancements to the San Diego Zoo’s bus tour for the centennial include new queue graphics that feature historical and conservation panels as well as inspirational conservation quotes, a short film in the Centennial Theater, and a centennial-themed bus tour. Along with welcoming guests to the Zoo, the uplifting theater feature underscores San Diego Zoo Global’s vision of leading the fight to end extinction.

The Lore Behind the Roar: San Diego History Center

The San Diego Zoo’s 100 years will be highlighted in an extraordinary exhibition at the San Diego History Center in Balboa Park in 2016. The exhibition is the first of its kind and showcases a unique collaboration between the History Center and the world-famous San Diego Zoo. This will be the largest exhibition in the center’s 72-year history, at nearly 8,000 square feet—and it will be featured for nine months, from March 19, 2016 to January 1, 2017. The Lore Behind the Roar will tell the story of San Diego Zoo’s past, present, and future using engaging, informative displays and interactive activities.

Centennial Community Event: May 14, 2016

The exciting global kick-off to the San Diego Zoo’s centennial celebration will create a “Roar Heard ‘Round the World,” with the help of the families of San Diego. The evening event will feature an amazing program, fun activities, food, and entertainment. The evening’s show at Spreckels Organ Pavilion, featuring a 50-piece orchestra and a 100-member choir, will end with everyone in attendance having the opportunity to set a Guinness World Record. Starting at 6 p.m. May 14, the Nighttime Zoo crew and street performers will begin preshow entertainment in Balboa Park in anticipation of the program. The evening will include:

  • Booths featuring a variety of activities for children, including face painting, souvenir photos, and crafts
  • Food trucks and other local vendors selling their wares along the main thoroughfare
  • A San Diego Zoo souvenir booth selling Zoo centennial merchandise.

Nighttime Zoo: Shake, Rattle, and Roar!

During the summer, the Zoo will move to a variety of different beats during our Nighttime Zoo centennial celebration. Guests of all ages will be able to “Shake, Rattle, and Roar” with a variety of live music performances and fun activities. On most Saturdays during the summer, we will celebrate a different animal’s birthday—including lion, jaguar, grizzly bear, tiger, gorilla, rhino, orangutan, and polar bear birthdays. There will be special activities for children at each party. There will also be plenty of toe-tapping, body-moving music in a variety of sounds and styles—including rock tunes through the decades, a brass band, and more! And this year, each evening will culminate in a centennial spectacular, featuring an amazing musical processional that highlights some of the most beloved animals in the Zoo’s history.

To learn more about the San Diego Zoo’s Centennial Celebration, including how to share your Zoo memories and how to download the centennial game, visit: sandiegozoo100.org