Halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco you come across San Simeon where, in 1923, wealthy newspaper magnate William Hearst started the world’s largest private zoo: Hearst Garden of Comparative Zoology. Nestled on a hill overlooking the Pacific Ocean and Highway 1, Hearst Castle is now a monument and museum, open to public tours.
In 1935 Willem Oosting turns his parents' backyard into a 5-hectare zoo. Impressed with the thoughts of Carl Hagenbeck of Hamburg zoo, he becomes a fan of naturalistic enclosures. On the opening day the zoo - including a goat rock and a maze - attracts 5000 visitors.