Mission Viejo, CA
1 Parents Love It!
1 Irvine Park Rd
Orange, CA 92869
HOURS: Open Daily: weekdays 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.; weekends 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Closed Dec. 25 and Jan. 1
The Orange County Zoo is a small 8-acre zoo located within the 477-acre Irvine Regional Park in the city of Orange, California, United States. The zoo is mainly home to animals and plants that are native to the Southwestern United States.HistoryThe current zoo is owned, staffed and operated by the County of Orange, and officially opened as the Irvine Park Zoo in 1985.However, there have been animals in captivity on the site since 1905, when red foxes were introduced and bred by J.A. Turner. In 1920, a small collection of animals featuring a pair of mule deer was started by Tustin rancher Sam Nau. Eventually Nau built a pen for the deer. The main attraction was an alligator exhibit until a bird exhibit including cockatoos, quail, doves, and parakeets was added in 1935.AnimalsAnimals at the zoo are primarily from the Southwestern United States, and include european bison, american black bears, mountain lions, bald eagles, island foxes, ocelots, red-tailed hawks, barn owls, great horned owls, porcupines, bighorn sheep, coyotes, mule deer turkey vultures, coati, and bobcats. The zoo accepts only animals that cannot be released back into the wild, and these animals help teach visitors about the animals they may encounter in the hill, canyons, and backyards of the area.