Traveler Lifes

Browse Traveler lifes Travel to get information about the world's most popular places, tourist Attraction, holiday destinations, vacation spot, historical places, where to go, places to visit, things to do, best places to stay, top hotel and restaurant, Activities, adventure, tourism information, travel tips and travel guide with expert advice...

Friday, March 1, 2024

Exploring Wildlife Wonders at Folsom City Zoo Sanctuary

  Rajesh Kumar Rana       Friday, March 1, 2024

Nestled amidst the vibrant city of Folsom, California, lies a haven for animals unable to return to the wild - the Folsom City Zoo Sanctuary. Established in 1963 with a single bear cub named Smokey, the zoo has transformed into a sanctuary dedicated to providing exceptional care and comfortable homes for rescued animals. More than just a zoo, it's a place where empathy and compassion intertwine with education and conservation, creating a meaningful experience for visitors of all ages.

Folsom City Zoo Sanctuary

Folsom City Zoo Sanctuary Entrance
Entrance of Folsom City Zoo Sanctuary
 Source: Wikipedia

A Journey Through History

Embracing Humble Beginnings:

The story of the Folsom City Zoo Sanctuary commenced in 1963 when a small bear found refuge, marking the birth of this haven for wildlife. It all began when Gordon Brong, Folsom Park Superintendent, responded to a plea from the University of California at Davis Veterinary Department. A cub, orphaned and scarred by a forest fire, needed a secure home. In the spirit of compassion, the city rallied to provide space, and local service clubs constructed an enclosure. "Smokey," the bear, joined other animals, birthing what we now know as the Folsom Zoo.

Smokey's Fame and Legacy:

Smokey gained international recognition, especially when a U.S. government dispute arose over the name. The government contended that only the Smokey associated with forest fire prevention could bear the name. Yet, the community stood firmly behind Folsom's Smokey, drawing global attention. Ultimately, the government relented, and Smokey remained, leaving a legacy that lasted until his passing in 1984.

A Sanctuary of Second Chances:

Evolving into the Folsom City Zoo Sanctuary in 2002, the facility took on a broader mission — to care for animals unable to return to the wild. These creatures, whether former "pets," confiscated due to legality issues, or those with injuries hindering survival in the wild, find a permanent haven here. The sanctuary operates on the principle that once these animals arrive, they become lifelong commitments. No breeding, selling, or trading occurs, and the welfare of these beings is paramount.

Community, Growth, and Renowned Reputation:

Year after year, the Folsom City Zoo Sanctuary undergoes enhancements, supported by the city, staff, Friends of the Folsom Zoo Sanctuary, volunteers, and the community. The result is an internationally renowned haven, a source of pride for Folsom and neighboring communities.

Things you can do at the Folsom City Zoo Sanctuary:

  • Take a self-guided tour: Explore the zoo at your own pace and learn about the unique stories of each resident. There are over 100 animals to see, from bears and wolves to primates and reptiles. Each animal has a unique story, and informative signage throughout the zoo will help you learn more about them.
  • Bring the Zoo to You: Schedule a docent-led presentation for your classroom and embark on a virtual animal adventure. This program is perfect for schools and groups who can't make it to the zoo in person. Docents will bring the animals to you through interactive presentations and discussions.
  • Visit the gift shop: The zoo's gift shop has a variety of souvenirs, toys, and educational items for purchase. All proceeds from the gift shop go to support the care of the animals.
  • Ride the Folsom Valley Railway: Take a ride on the miniature steam train that circles through Folsom City Lions Park. This is a fun activity for the whole family, and it's a great way to see more of the park.

A Walk Through the Zoo

Personalized Tours

For a deeper understanding of the residents, personalized tours led by knowledgeable docents are available. These tours unravel the histories of the animals and the reasons they found a forever home at the sanctuary.

Visitor Considerations

Before setting foot in this wildlife sanctuary, there are essential considerations:

  • Feeding Policy: Respect the specific diets of the animals by refraining from feeding them.
  • Behavioral Respect: Avoid teasing, whistling, or yelling at the animals, and never throw food or objects into their exhibits.
  • Service Animals Only: In adherence to City of Folsom policies, only service animals are allowed on sanctuary grounds.
  • Photography and Video: Capture the memories but do so safely behind barriers and within public areas. For media-related inquiries, contact or (916) 461-6629.

Guided Tours for Educational Adventures

Docent-guided tours offer students a captivating educational experience, with one free chaperone per 10 paid students for school groups. These tours delve into the role of the Folsom Zoo Sanctuary in the community.

Bringing the Zoo Experience to You

For a unique educational experience, docent-led presentations bring the wonders of the animal kingdom into the classroom. To schedule a presentation, contact or (916) 496-2030.

Directions, Hours, and Admission

Zoo Hours

The sanctuary is open each week, excluding major holidays, with varying hours for different seasons:

Fall/Winter (October 1 through April 30):

Thursday through Sunday
10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Last admission at 3:30 p.m.)

Spring/Summer (May 1 through September 30):

Thursday through Sunday
9 a.m. to 3 p.m. (Last admission at 2:30 p.m.)

Restricted Holiday Hours (2023/2024)

  • Memorial Day (May 29): Open
  • Labor Day (September 4): Open
  • Decorating Day for Holiday Lights (November 4): Opens at 12 noon to 4 p.m.
  • Thanksgiving Day (November 23): Open 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Christmas Eve (December 24): Open 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Christmas Day (December 25): Closed
  • New Year's Eve (December 31): Open 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • New Year's Day (January 1): Closed

Admission Information

  • Non-Members: Tickets can be purchased online or at the gate for $7 per person for ages 2 and older. Children under 2 enter free.
  • Friends of the Folsom Zoo Sanctuary Members: Enjoy free admission with a valid membership card.

Contact Information

  • Address: Folsom City Zoo Sanctuary, 403 Stafford Street, Folsom, CA 95630
  • Ticket Booth: (916) 461-6629

  • Email:
  • Docent Tour Reservations: or (916) 461-6626
  • Zoo to You: or (916) 496-2030

Folsom City Zoo Sanctuary map
Map of Folsom City Zoo Sanctuary


The Folsom City Zoo Sanctuary stands as a testament to compassion and dedication. It's a place where rescued animals find solace, where visitors learn valuable lessons about empathy and conservation, and where the community comes together to support a worthy cause. So, plan your visit, explore the stories of the residents, and contribute to the sanctuary's mission of providing a haven for those in need. It's an experience that will touch your heart and leave a lasting impression.

You might also like:


Thanks for reading Exploring Wildlife Wonders at Folsom City Zoo Sanctuary

« Prev Post