Ihave to admit being somewhat conflicted about zoos. On one hand, a good zoo can teach people a lot about animals and preserving the habitats necessary to support those animals. And most kids love zoos, at least for a certain age range. On the other hand, even a good zoo has the animals captive, and at best they live in an approximation of their natural habitats. In any event, Oakland has a pretty nice zoo.
The zoo has plans to expand. These aren't new plans; the zoo received permission from the city in 1998 and have been implementing pieces since then. However, the plans for the California! project, which will showcase California animals and plants, are pretty big. Ironically, the zoo has scaled back the plans somewhat, so they need to get city approval for the changes. The city planning commission approved the changes back in April, but opponents of the plan are fighting back -- their appeal is on tonight's city council agenda (I'm waiting for the #oakmtg to start as I write this post.) You can read more about the fight on A Better Oakland.
update: the city council voted unanimously to support the expansion.
The other zoo news is the their annual Walk in the Wild fundraiser. It's a somewhat expensive ($125-$150) event, but features food, beer and wine from Oakland, the East Bay and beyond, and is a fun opportunity to see some of the animals after hours. There are apparently still tickets available for the Saturday evening event. K and I went to this some years ago (I don't remember it being quite that expensive), and it was a lot of fun. This year's features a ton of yummy vendors, from Dashe Cellars to Plum.