Halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco is a small zoo in Atascadero Lake Park on California Highway 41.
There is a shop behind the ticket office. There, I find out that ranger Charles Paddock came up with the injured raccoon that starts it all in 1955. The animal rescue center becomes known as Atascadero Children's Zoo and moved to its current location in 1963. In 1979, the municipality of Atascadero takes over management, and the name changes to Charles Paddock Zoo the following year. The garden is reported to be one of the recognized zoos/aquariums in the United States and Canada. The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) issues such a certificate for 5 years after an inspection.
Set on 2 hectares of park-like grounds full of animal enclosures, the zoo offers three paths after entering to walk past 45 species of animals. Left to the walk-in aviary, straight on past the monkeys, and right between Chinese tiger, turkey vulture, and farm animals. Somewhere you can read: divided into 5 landscaped areas. Then you know, the glass is half full in Atascadero. The zoo features no catering facilities but just like the adjacent park, there are plenty of picnic tables and benches.
Maps Charles Paddock Zoo Atascadero
- Species: 45
- Animals: 100
- 2 hectares
- Small zoo