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The Sacramento zoo opened in 1927 as the William Land Park Zoo under the management of the City of Sacramento. The 4.2-acre property had been home to an original collection of over forty animals which include deer, birds, raccoons, and monkeys. In the 1960?s, the property had been enlarged to its present size of 14.3 acres. In 1970, it was renamed as the Sacramento Zoo.

In 1956, the Sacramento Zoological Society had been formed to raise money for the zoo and in 1997, the non-profit organization took over the zoo?s management in an alliance agreement with the local government.

The zoo had enjoyed several popular additions in the 1990s. The Rare Feline Center include snow leopard and golden-headed lion tamarind exhibits. At the Lake Victoria complex, visitors may also enjoy viewing waterfowls and flamingos.

In 2004, the Lost World exhibit had opened, showcasing giant anteaters and black-and-white ruffed lemurs. In 2005, construction of the Dr. Murray E. Fowler Veterinary Hospital was completed.
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