Nik Dehejia, CEO of Oakland Zoo, Mayor Sheng Thao and district 7 councilmember Treva Reid with giraffes at the zoo on Feb. 8. Credit: Oakland Zoo

After a monthlong forced closure due to storm damages including a giant sinkhole at its main entrance, the Oakland Zoo reopened to the public on Feb. 3. The zoo shared more good news during a press conference at the park on Wednesday, where CEO Nik Dehejia, joined by Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao, District 7 Councilmember Treva Reid, and members of the Oakland Roots, announced the launch of its “Oaklanders Discount” program.

Starting immediately, Oakland residents will receive a 25% discount on admission.

The discount is being paid for by Measure Y, a parcel tax approved last November with 63% support from Oakland voters. The tax is expected to generate about $12 million per year for the zoo. The additional revenue is meant to increase community access and educational programs, and support facility improvements.

Measure Y will impose an annual tax of $68 on single-family and commercial parcels and $68 per unit on multi-family residential buildings for 20 years, starting in July 2023. The measure provides exemptions for some senior and low-income homeowners. 

“We are very grateful to our Town for their support in passing Measure Y; this enables and empowers us to dramatically increase our future impact with our Oakland community,” said Dehejia in a statement.

In addition to the 25% year-round admission discount, the zoo is committed to increasing the number of Oakland Unified School District students it provides with free field trips and bus rides, from 3,000 to 15,000. The park will also increase the number of free passes it gives to low-income Oaklanders annually, from 10,000 to 100,000.

The Oakland Zoo’s popular winter attraction, Glowfari, has also been extended through March 4. The resident discount does not apply to this event and other special events at the zoo, or to annual memberships. 

Residents can learn more about the discount and purchase tickets on the Oakland Zoo website.

Azucena Rasilla is a bilingual journalist from East Oakland reporting in Spanish and in English, and a longtime reporter on Oakland arts, culture and community. As an independent local journalist, she has reported for KQED Arts, The Bold Italic, Zora and The San Francisco Chronicle. She was a writer and social media editor for the East Bay Express, helping readers navigate Oakland’s rich artistic and creative landscapes through a wide range of innovative digital approaches.