Are you thinking of moving to the East Bay Area but wonder what fun things there are to do? In this episode of Hella Smart, we’re going to take you on a tour of the Oakland Zoo to explore just one of the East Bay Area’s many attractions. We’ll meet the animals, from flying foxes to chimpanzees, so you get a good idea of the fun you can have here.

A Day At The Oakland Zoo

If you’re anything like me, you’re hella tired of being holed up inside. The Oakland Zoo, which recently reopened after being shut down for the last few months, is a great place to enjoy the outdoors and see some wildlife. Did you know that the Oakland Zoo is home to more than 850 native and exotic animals and boasts a huge 17,000 square foot veterinary hospital?

In 2018, the Oakland Zoo expanded an open California trail section, which we’ll see on the aerial gondola ride. To move between the two biggest sections of the Oakland Zoo, you’ll need to take a ride on their all-electric aerial gondola. It can hold up to eight passengers and are ADA accessible.

The aerial gondola takes visitors between the main Zoo over the hills of Nolan Park and across to the California trail. The California trail doubled the size of the Oakland Zoo and features native animals and plant habitats. If you’re into eagles, condors, bison, or jaguars, you’ll find them here.

All About The Animals

We came to the Oakland Zoo to see some wildlife, but not just any animals—we want to see the hella scariest animals. Some people think lions, tigers, and bears (oh, my) are the scariest zoo residents. But at least they’re kind of cute as babies. Do you know what’s not cute? The Malayan flying fox.

They’re nowhere near as big as a lion, tiger, or bear, but there’s freaky about those faces. Their wingspan can get as big as six feet across, so they’re not exactly little, either. Fortunately, the Malayan flying fox only eats fruit, flowers, and other plant parts and isn’t dangerous to people. When they hang upside, though, they’re hella creepy.

Another awesome exhibit we visited is the smartest animal in the Oakland Zoo: the chimpanzee. How smart are chimpanzees? They’re one of the few mammals that both make and use tools. Unlike most animals, they can also recognize themselves in a mirror. That’s a sign of both emotional and intellectual intelligence. They can work in groups, learn to recognize numbers 1-9, and they have values of cooperation—which is more than I can say for some of my past coworkers.

When my kids were little, they used to love coming here and watching chimpanzees swing from their ropes like an apple, or carry toys in their feet, like you and I would hold them closely. It’s a sight to behold and is fascinating what the chimps are capable of doing.

The Children’s Zoo

Another great spot is the Wayne and Gladys Valley Children’s Zoo, home to lemurs, the Bug House, alligators, petting yard, and Guinea hogs, tortoises, and river otters. The Reptile and Amphibian room and Rabbit Hole Country allow kids to see the animals up close and persona.

It’s fun for kids of all ages—as well as adults. However, because of COVID restrictions, make sure to check their website first to see what’s open when you visit.

Take A Walk On The Wild Side

As you can see, there’s plenty to enjoy here at the Oakland Zoo. If you need more information or would like to purchase tickets, visit their website at

If you enjoy East Bay living as much as I do or want to learn more about the area, make sure to subscribe to my channel so you never miss an episode of Hella Smart. If you ever have any home loan questions, please reach out to me and I’ll be happy to connect!