Fun photos of San Diego Zoo Centennial Festival!

The San Diego Zoo is 100! And this evening, it celebrated with an amazing centennial festival in its home--Balboa Park!
The San Diego Zoo is 100! And this evening, it is celebrating with a big centennial festival in its beautiful home: Balboa Park!

Late this afternoon, I walked through Balboa Park to check out the beginning of the huge San Diego Zoo Centennial Festival! As you might’ve guessed, our world-famous zoo has turned a hundred years old!

The San Diego Zoo began when the 1915 Panama-California Exposition came to an end in 1916.  The exposition’s veterinarian, Harry Milton Wegeforth, heard the caged lions roar. He turned to his brother and said: “Wouldn’t it be splendid if San Diego had a zoo! You know…I think I’ll start one.”

The rest is history. A century of amazing history!

The big festival today featured all sorts of fun and educational stuff, as you’ll see in my photos. I can hardly believe the size of the crowd that turned out!

I went home before dark and missed a world-record attempt in the Spreckels Organ Pavilion–the most hand puppets performing at one time. Regrettably, I also missed the opening of the big mystery boxes–gifts from the zoo to the San Diego community. As of this moment–as I publish this post–they still haven’t been opened! I’ll provide an update when I learn what was inside!

UPDATE!

From what I read the following morning, the three huge gift boxes on stage contained a puppet elephant, a puppet condor, and an 11-foot-high puppet lion that roared at the conclusion of an epic evening performance!

I should’ve stayed to watch! Apparently the Broadway-style show was amazing, and featured Tony and Grammy Award-winning singer Heather Headley, lots of dancing, the performing puppets, and an inspiring light show. If you want to check out some pics, here are a bunch of good ones!

A huge crowd walks down El Prado in Balboa Park, enjoying exhibits and entertainment celebrating the world-famous San Diego Zoo.
A huge crowd walks down El Prado in Balboa Park, enjoying exhibits and entertainment celebrating the world-famous San Diego Zoo’s centennial.
People listen to live music in the Plaza de Panama. Many people wore hats or shirts decorated with animals.
People listen to live music in the Plaza de Panama. Many people wore hats or shirts decorated with animals.
Sign lists the various activities at the San Diego Zoo Centennial community celebration.
Sign lists the various activities at the San Diego Zoo Centennial community celebration.
Zoo staff and volunteers help kids create animal-themed art.
Zoo staff and volunteers help kids create animal-themed art.
These mariachis were almost ready to perform!
These mariachis were almost ready to perform!
Street magician excites a kid.
Street magician excites a kid.
Musicians were everywhere. It was a big party for San Diego.
Musicians were everywhere. It was a big party for San Diego.
A botanicals exhibit explained how the San Diego Zoo isn't merely saving endangered animal species, but saving rare plants, too! I'm going to blog about it shortly.
A botanicals exhibit explained how the San Diego Zoo isn’t merely saving endangered animal species, but saving rare plants, too! I’m going to blog about this shortly!
Look who I spotted giving an interview. The celebrated and much beloved zoo spokesperson Joan Embery!
Look who I spotted giving an interview. The celebrated and much-beloved zoo spokesperson Joan Embery!
Lots of cool zoo gifts and fun commemorative stuff for sale, of course!
Lots of cool zoo gifts and fun commemorative stuff was for sale, of course!
Another exhibit showed how the zoo helps wildlife researchers using modern digital recording technology in the field.
Another exhibit showed how the zoo helps wildlife researchers using modern digital recording technology in the field.
Several local high schools were having their proms tonight, and I spotted many fancy dresses throughout Balboa Park. I'm not sure about this photo shoot!
Several local high schools were having their proms tonight, and I spotted many fancy dresses throughout Balboa Park. I’m not sure about this photo shoot!
It's still an hour before the main programming begins, but people are already gathering in the Spreckels Organ Pavilion. There's the large mystery box on the left!
It’s still two hours before the main programming begins, but people are already gathering in the Spreckels Organ Pavilion. There are the large mystery boxes!
Zoo team member was super friendly and answered several of my questions. Every zoo representative I talked to was enthusiastic, knowledgeable and really nice.
This super friendly San Diego Zoo team member answered several of my questions. Every zoo representative I talked to was enthusiastic, knowledgeable and really nice.
Some dancing up on the stage. At eight o'clock, the main program would begin.
Some dancing up on the stage. At eight o’clock, the main program would begin.
A tiger roams through Balboa Park.
A tiger roams through Balboa Park.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Do you love Balboa Park? Follow my special blog which I call Beautiful Balboa Park!

Published by

Richard Schulte

Downtown San Diego has been my home for many years. My online activities reflect my love for writing, blogging, walking and photography.

6 thoughts on “Fun photos of San Diego Zoo Centennial Festival!”

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