ELK GROVE, Calif. — The city of Elk Grove and the Sacramento Zoo have completed a six-month feasibility study about moving the zoo from its historic and iconic location in Land Park to a 100-acre lot off Highway 99, concluding the move "meets and exceeds" expectations for development, success, sustainability, and viability.
The city of Elk Grove previously identified a 100-acre plot of undeveloped land that is zoned and planned for such uses as a zoo on Lotz Parkway and Kammerer Road off Highway 99.
Now spanning 14.7 acres and housing 433 animals across 110 species, the Sacramento Zoo has been operating in its Land Park location since 1927. Despite having no dedicated parking lot, it draws half a million visitors per year.
But the zoo does not have the space to meet ever-evolving standards of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums accreditation guidelines, said Zoo Executive Director Jason Jacobs, meaning the loss of such iconic species as gorilla and hippo.
"Yes they are popular and iconic, but zoos have a vital role to play in the conservation of rare, endangered species," Jacobs said. "And the site here does not allow us to provide enough space for these animals and to properly serve this entire region."
The study envisions a gateway to the African Savannah in its first phase, with lions and zebras, among many other species, with unique zoo experiences like overnight stays.
Elk Grove Director of Economic Development Darrell Doan said an analysis firm showed a total economic impact of $233 million over five years and nearly 200 permanent jobs.
"The study, using what I think are still very conservative figures, show some pretty impressive economic impacts," Doan said.