For some locals, it might be difficult to imagine a full-fledged brewery operating in the Land Park area. But long before there were such destination places as William Land Park and the Sacramento Zoo, this then-rural area was home to the Sutterville Brewery.
This brewery, which was established just south of today’s zoo in a two-story, brick building with a basement in 1861, was originally owned by the Prussia-born Martin P. Arenz (1826-1949).
The brewery structure, which was constructed 160 years ago in what was then the town of Sutterville, was initially occupied by a grocery store owned Robert H. Vance of San Francisco.
Arenz purchased both the building and its property from Vance for $1,500 in August 1861.
According to The Sacramento Union, in its June 15, 1872 edition, the brewery building measured 62 feet by 62 feet and stood on a 160-foot by 180-foot lot.
Among the improvements made to the premises during Arenz’s ownership of the brewery was an addition of a new roof.
On May 28, 1867, the Sutterville Brewery was among several local breweries that had their lager beer delivery wagons seized by revenue officers during their deliveries.
According to the following day’s edition of The Union, it was charged that these breweries “did not properly cancel the stamps in the manner required by the revenue law, but so contrived matters as to make one (revenue) stamp answer the purpose of many, thereby depriving Uncle Sam of his just and lawful dues.”
Arenz remained the brewery’s proprietor until September 1868, when he sold the business to Patrick H. Lyman for about $8,000.
A biography regarding Captain Frank Ruhstaller in the 1890 book, “An Illustrated History of Sacramento County, California,” recognizes Ruhstaller and Joseph Bechler as having owned interests in the brewery.
And in following the sequence of events presented in the book, Ruhstaller purchased an interest in the brewery in mid-October 1869.
The book also notes that Ruhstaller “was in a partnership there (at the Sutterville Brewery) with Bechler for seven or eight months.”
Another biography about Ruhstaller in the 1913 book, “History of Sacramento County, California,” mentions the following: “(Ruhstaller) bought an interest in the Sutterville Brewery, where he carried on a partnership with Joseph Bechler for seven months until the high water forced all work to cease.”
Both biographies mention that Ruhstaller continued working with local breweries before returning to his Swiss homeland for a short period of time in 1873.
No other historic accounts regarding Ruhstaller and Bechler holding interests in the Sutterville Brewery were discovered during research for this article, and there is no firm indication, based on research for this article, that Lyman was not involved in the ownership of the business from 1868 until the sale of the business in 1873.
A fire occurred at the brewery on Jan. 27, 1871. Flames were spotted on the roof of the drying room in the malt house.
The Union, in its Jan. 30, 1871 edition, noted: “Part of the Sutterville Brewery was discovered on fire, but which, by dint of strenuous efforts of the proprietor, Patrick Lyman, and his neighbors, was extinguished before much damage had occurred.”
In 1873, Fritz Futterer and Nicholas “Nick” Thielen became the new proprietors of the brewery.
In regard to this new ownership, The Union, on July 12, 1873, ran the following advertisement: “READ THIS! SUTTERVILLE BREWERY. This well-known brewery was purchased a few months ago by the undersigned, two experienced German brewers, and many improvements added thereto, and they are now able to supply the old customers, as well as new ones, and their friends generally, with the very best of beer in this market, in quantities to suit. THIELEN & FUTTERER.”
This partnership continued until February 1877, when Futterer sold his interest in the brewery to Thielen.
But well before this business change, half of the ownership of the brewery was offered for sale through an advertisement in editions of The Union in April and May 1876.
In part, the advertisement read: “One-half interest in the SUTTERVILLE BREWERY, finely improved and a well established business. Will be sold cheap. For full information, inquire of NICK THIELEN.”
Various non-brewery meetings were held at the brewery, including an April 25, 1878 meeting of residents of Swamp Land District No. 1. The purpose of the meeting was to make nominations for levee commissioner.
In being that a portion of Sacramento, including part of that district, experienced a major flood in 1878, several other very timely, levee-related meetings were held at the brewery around that time.
The 1880 book, History of Sacramento County, California, refers to the brewery, as follows: “This brewery is eighty-two feet long by forty-two feet wide (which are different dimensions than those given in the aforementioned 1872 Union article); employs four men, and has a capacity of fifteen barrels per day. Nicholas Thielen is the proprietor.”
The Union, in its Oct. 17, 1883 edition, reported the following: “Saturday evening (Oct. 13, 1883), a large party of ladies and gentlemen from Sacramento gave a surprise party to Nicholas Thielen, proprietor of the Sutterville Brewery. They were finely entertained. There was dancing and feasting until near morning.”
The operation of the Sutterville Brewery was only about a 22-year venture.
From Nov. 12 through Dec. 31, 1883, The Union ran the following advertisement: “FOR SALE – ON ACCOUNT OF THE removal of the brewery business of the Sutterville Brewery, the buildings and property of same are offered for sale on reasonable terms. Inquire of N. THIELEN, proprietor, or of CADWALADER & PARSONS.”
Nearly four months later, The Union, reported details regarding an auction, as follows: “REAL ESTATE AT AUCTION – Bell & Co. will sell at auction Tuesday, March 18, (1884), on the premises, at 11 a.m., the property of N. Thielen, known as the Sutterville Brewery, and about five acres of good land connected therewith. It includes the brick and frame buildings, barns, sheds, windmill, pump, tank with capacity of 4,500 gallons; underground pipes connecting with frame and brick buildings; large lot of fruit trees and shrubbery, etc. Sale positive. Terms, 10 percent on day of sale; balance when deed is made. Buildings open for inspection until the day of sale.”
The brewery auction, which The Union noted “should receive more than ordinary attention,” was postponed until the following Saturday.
However, for some reason, the auction did not occur until July 19, 1884, when Sheriff Alfred H. Estell sold at auction the brewery property and its buildings to the Germania Building and Loan Association of 1011 4th St. for $2,200. The brewery’s machinery was not included in the sale.
A grand opening for a new business, the Sutterville Garden, owned by William Emerson at the old brewery site, was held on Saturday evening, July 14, 1884. The event, which was free to the public, included music and dancing.
The property changed hands once again in 1890 and was reopened as the Mount View House. Owned by J. P. Melchior, who had previously owned a saloon at the southeast corner of 10th and S streets at the present day site of the Old Ironsides bar, the business advertised itself as featuring “the finest wines, liquors and cigars.”
In the Jan. 27, 1899 edition of The Union, it was noted that George Gray, who resided on Riverside Road (today’s Riverside Boulevard) “is now proprietor of the old Sutterville Brewery on the lane between Sutterville and Freeport Road.”
The two-story, brick Sutterville Brewery building was demolished in 1952, and occupying the site today is the Land Park Business Center at 1250 Sutterville Road.
For some locals, it might be difficult to imagine a full-fledged brewery operating in the Land Park area. But long before there were such destination places as William Land Park and the Sacramento Zoo, this then-rural area was home to the Sutterville Brewery.
CJ – Born March 3, 2013
Bahagia – Born November 27, 2000
CJ is Bahagia’s fifth living offspring and latest cub. Currently both are spending time off-exhibit while CJ learns what it means to be a tiger. Almost all of his teeth have grown in and he is starting to follow mom around and plays with her every chance he gets (he loves pouncing on her tail). Bahagia is a very patient mother who has always been playful with her cubs. Sometimes you will even find her initiating playtime with CJ, but when she has had enough she will gently put her paw on CJ’s head and push him away.
Mimi and Baby
Wolf’s Guenon (monkeys)
Baby – Born January 26, 2013
Mimi – Born July 12, 2007
Mimi and mate Eddie are amazing first time parents. They have both been very protective of their little one. When the baby was less mobile Mimi would use one of the planters in the exhibit as a playpen, it allowed her to take a break while still keeping an eye on the little one. Because they are so protective veterinarians and keepers have not been able to get close enough to determine the sex of the baby. However, the Zoo has started a naming contest for the little one with gender neutral names. The final name will be announced May 10th.
Brazilian Rainbow Boa
Mom – Born in 1987
Pantanal – Born July 12, 2009
July 12, 1009, the Sacramento Zoo’s female Brazilian Rainbow Boa gave birth to a clutch of three through parthenogenesis. This means that a male was not involved in the making of the young ones, mom did all the work. After birth, as with most reptiles, mom provided no parental care. Currently one of her offspring, Pantanal, lives in the Zoo’s Interpretive Center where she can be seen in shows and at school visits. Pantanal has iridescent scales that look like a rainbow in the sun and she will continue to grow her entire life. Mom can be seen in the Zoo’s Reptile House.
Catherina and Natasha
Catherina – Born April 19, 2009
Natasha – Born March 30, 2012
The Sacramento Zoo is home to a family of three Mongoose Lemurs. Mom and daughter, Catherina and Natasha are quite the pair. Mongoose Lemurs are matriarchal, a viewer can often identify the male lemur by looking for the one who is constantly pushed out of the way or has food taken from him by Catherina and his daughter Natasha. When Natasha was first born she would cling to her mom’s belly so that she could easily be protected and carried from place to place. In Madagascar nectar is part of the mongoose lemurs’ diet; this makes them important pollinators in their native eco-system.
Note: This is part three in a series regarding past and present details about the Sacramento Zoo.
As referred to in the last article of this series, the Sacramento Zoo has experienced many changes throughout the years.
The zoo became a much different looking place in the 1960s.
On July 26, 1960, The Sacramento Bee presented a proposed layout of the zoo under a major modernization and expansion project that had been then-recently approved by the city council.
The 21 sections shown on the illustrated layout were birds, aquatic birds, seals, small animals, otter, orangutan and gorilla, monkeys, gibbons, chimpanzee, open air grottos for tigers, lions and bears, cat cages, monkey island, field animals, alligators, reptile house, penguins, flamingos and non-flying tropical birds, bird house, entrance and concessions and new rose garden.
The initial phase of the zoo’s building project included the entrance structure and concessions building, a flamingo pond, five moat enclosed animal confinement areas and new animal cages.
The project’s second phase, which would be completed at a cost of about $90,000, included confinement areas for penguins and alligators and cages for monkeys, gorillas, reptiles and small animals.
Prior to the 1960-61 project, many animals were housed in wooden cages that had been constructed by Works Progress Administration laborers during the Depression.
Assisting with the reptile house, which would exhibit the zoo’s first snakes, was Kenneth C. Johnson.
In addition to serving as the director of the Sacramento Civil Defense Area, Johnson was one of the region’s most notable reptile experts and owned one of Northern California’s most extensive private collections of snakes.
The monkey island exhibit, which would be constructed by John F. Otto, Inc. (today’s Otto Construction), would allow zoo visitors to obtain a full view of its monkeys.
Among the monkeys that were transferred to monkey island upon its completion was Spooky, who had been a resident of the zoo since its opening in 1927.
In an update about the project, The Bee reported on Aug. 7, 1960 that $200,000 had been allocated by the city, while an additional $100,000 in contributions was being sought from the public. The latter sum would be used to modernize the old portion of the zoo.
It was also mentioned in the same Bee article that Emil A. Bahnfleth, president of the Sacramento Zoological Society at that time, announced that individuals donating $100 or more would have their names placed on special donors plaques at the zoo’s entrance.
Anyone donating $5 to $99 would receive an Honorary Z-B (“Zoo Builder”) certificate.
As for Bahnfleth, whose name was later memorialized through the naming of Emil Bahnfleth Park at 950 Seamas Ave., he never witnessed the opening of the expanded zoo, as he died at the age of 70 on March 30, 1961.
With the new, spacious zoo only two months away from the completion of its initial phase, The Sacramento Union, on April 9, 1961, ran an article, which included the following words: “The sumptuous new quarters are designed with an eye to convenience and animal comfort, and are a combination of sweeping, curved architectural lines, sharp, straight lines and blended landscaping that brings the creatures virtually into their natural setting and provides zoo visitors with a walk through the park.”
The article also noted that the society’s campaign to raise $100,000 had reached the $41,000 mark.
While anticipating the opening of the newly improved zoo, which was designed by architect Douglas M. Kelt, the zoo’s superintendent, Anthony A. “Hank” Spencer said, “People don’t know what this means to me. I’m the kind of guy who is lucky enough to have his hobby and his work all wrapped up in one job. And think what it will mean to the animals. Oh, it’s a wonderful thing.”
In preparation for its reopening, the zoo was closed for the 10 days prior to its June 11, 1961 dedication, which would be directed by the city and the zoological society.
During that time, the animals were moved to their new locations.
The reopening of the zoo was a grand occasion that drew thousands of people, including special guests, state Senator Albert S. Rodda; Assemblymen W. A. “Jimmie” Hicks and Edwin L. Z’berg; Leslie E. Wood, chairman of the county board of supervisors; Milton Schwartz, chairman of the city board of education; Maj. Gen. Robert B. Landry, commander of the Sacramento Air Materiel Area at McClellan Air Force Base; Brig. Gen. Norman Callish, commander of Mather Air Force Base; and Col. Leo Tamamian of the Sacramento Signal Depot (later renamed the Sacramento Army Depot).
To present more people with the opportunity to visit the zoo during its reopening week and to bring awareness to the $100,000 Zoo Builders campaign, Mayor James B. McKinney proclaimed the week as Zoo Builders Week, and the zoo maintained longer hours, as it remained open until 7 p.m.
Later changes for the zoo during the 1960s included the redesigning and rearranging of animal enclosures.
A new master plan for continued improvements and another expansion of the zoo was approved by the city council on July 9, 1970. The master plan was the first of its kind in the zoo’s then-43-year-history.
A month later, the Sacramento Zoological Society adopted its docent program. The program has since grown to include about 1,400 volunteers, who donate about 34,000 hours of their time to the zoo each year.
In September 1971, the zoo experienced a major change, as William “Bill” Meeker replaced Spencer as the zoo’s superintendent.
Four years later, the zoo received accreditation by the American Association of Zoological Parks and Aquariums – today’s Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
The zoo became a participant in the International Species Inventory System in 1979. The mission of ISIS is “to facilitate international collaboration in the collection and sharing of knowledge on animals and their environments for zoos, aquariums and related conservation organizations to serve institutional, regional and global animal management and conservation goals.”
The first ZooZoom, the zoo’s annual 5k and 10k run fundraiser, was held at William Land Park in October 1980. This year, the event will be held at the park on April 14.
Other events that have attracted visitors to the zoo during its history include the California Celebration multicultural day (May), the King of Feasts food and wine luau (June), Zoo Camp (June through August), the “Boo at the Zoo” Halloween event (October) and Holiday Magic (December).
Another highlight of the zoo occurred in 1983, when the zoo became involved with AAZPA’s Species Survival Plan for Siberian tigers, Asian lions and Sumatran orangutans.
In 1987, the zoo celebrated its 60th anniversary and zoo guests, 60 years old or older, were admitted into the zoo free of charge for the entire month of March.
During the 1990s, the zoo opened its Lake Victoria exhibit, Rare Feline Center, gift shop and office space structure and concessions and conference facility.
It was also in the 1990s when the Sacramento Zoological Society assumed complete financial and daily operational management of the zoo.
Zoo highlights of this new century have included the opening of the on-site Murray E. Fowler Veterinary Hospital and the Red Panda Forest, Australian Outback and Tall Wonders giraffe exhibits, the debut of the Conservation Carousel, and the zoo’s first Sumatran tiger birth.
In its 85th year, the now 14.3-acre zoo continues to serve its visitors through its mission to “(inspire) appreciation, respect and a connection with wildlife and nature through education, recreation and conservation.”
Note: This is part two in a series regarding past and present details about the Sacramento Zoo.
The Sacramento Zoo has experienced many changes since Sacramento State College – today’s Sacramento State University – published Marvin Delfendahl’s official William Land Park Zoo guidebook in 1952.
One of the zoo’s most noticeable changes was its increase in size from its original 4.2 acres to its present 14.3 acres.
And with this increase in acreage, the zoo houses many more animals than it presented when Delfendahl created the guidebook as his thesis when the college, which was then located a short distance northeast of the zoo, was less than five years old.
One of the 1950s most notable highlights was the Aug. 21, 1956 founding of the Sacramento Zoological Society, which was formed to support and raise funds for the zoo.
Among the animals that became residents of the zoo during the 1950s were an elephant named Winky, a male giraffe, 12 white-faced gibbons from Thailand, a blue wildebeest and four penguins from Peru.
During the same decade, various publications boasted the quality of the zoo.
In the November 1951 edition of the Sacramento City Employee, for instance, the zoo was referred to as “one of the best (zoos) in the state.”
The publication also noted the following: “Zoo experts and the general public rate (the William Land Park Zoo) equal to or better than the Los Angeles Zoo, and trailing only the world-famed zoos in San Diego and San Francisco.”
An indication of the level of growth of the zoo from its inception to the 1950s was presented in an article in the Nov. 15, 1959 edition of The Sacramento Bee.
In the article, it was noted that at that time, the zoo had become “the envy of visitors from other cities twice the size of Sacramento, many of which (had) no zoo at all.”
Credited in the article for much of the zoo’s progress was Anthony A. “Hank” Spencer (1907-1972), the zoo’s longtime superintendent.
Spencer, who grew up in Sacramento around a variety of animals, including horses, dogs, cats, guinea pigs and squirrels and also rode the rodeo circuit during his youth, studied animal husbandry and veterinary science while he was a student at Sacramento High School in the 1920s, when the school was located at 18th and K streets.
After graduating from high school, Spencer studied animal husbandry, veterinary science, dairy industry, poultry and horticulture at the University of California, Berkeley’s University Farm – today’s University of California, Davis.
The 1959 article described the job of the zoo’s superintendent as a natural position for Spencer.
Spencer’s experience as a horse trader during his rodeo circuit days gave him a valuable advantage when it came to acquiring animals for the zoo.
With this skill, Spencer managed to complete many quality trades for a large number of animals, including kangaroos, lions, leopards and chimpanzees. And by 1959, the zoo’s animal collection was valued at $60,000.
In commenting about his skill in animal trading, Spencer told The Bee, “I’m getting paid for something I’d do as a hobby.”
During his three decades as superintendent of the zoo, Spencer built up the zoo from about 75 animals to hundreds of animals.
In November 1960, a 6-foot-long, 220-pound alligator named Alvin arrived at Mather Air Force Base and was then delivered to the zoo by Spencer in the back of his station wagon.
Two and a half years earlier, Alvin had been lifted out of a Florida swamp and brought to Stead Air Force Base, near Reno, to be viewed by aircrews touring Stead’s survival school wildlife museum.
The Bee noted in a November 23, 1960 article that Alvin had grown to such an extent that he “literally ate himself out of the Air Force,” as he was consistently eating five pounds of raw meat per day.
Alvin became the zoo’s fourth large alligator at that time. The zoo also housed three small alligators, which The Bee described as “so small they hardly count.”
The zoo underwent many changes in the years of the late 1950s and early 1960s, including its expansion to a total of 10 acres.
With the 1960s came a major zoo renovation, which was an investment of $250,000.
A special dedication for the first of two phases of the improved zoo was held on June 11, 1961.
To introduce the new portion of the zoo, an untraditional ribbon cutting was held as Sacramento City Councilman Kneeland H. Lobner, with the “assistance of” a rose garlanded llama, cut a ribbon in front of the zoo.
Other attractions of the day included a speech by Sacramento Zoological Society President Albert W. Hellenthal, a concert by the Sacramento Symphonic Youth Band and, of course, opportunities to visit the newly renovated portion of the zoo.
The zoo’s new features included five, large, rock-walled moats for lions, bears and tigers, a monkey island, new cages for smaller cats and field animals, spacious walkways and new trees, shrubbery and flower beds.
One did not have to enter the zoo to observe a major change to the zoo at that time, as the zoo’s still present space-aged, Orbit gasoline station-esque-style entrance had been built along Land Park Drive in time for the 1961 ceremony. The former entrance was located south of the zoo’s present entrance, which was designed by architects Kenneth C. Rickey and Fred E. Brooks, whose offices were located at 2636 Fulton Ave.
Other not-yet-built portions of the project included cages for gorillas and orangutans, enclosures for flightless birds and a reptile house.
During his aforementioned speech at the ceremony, Hellenthal said, “Anyone comparing the old (zoo) with the new (zoo) will realize the work still to be done. When (that work) is accomplished, we will have one of the most attractive zoos in the country.”
Families bundled up on Saturday, Dec. 8 to enjoy the holiday season at the Zoo. The Zoofari Market was open for holiday shopping. And there was food and toy drive for Toys for Tots and the Sacramento Food Bank. Meanwhile, animals got special treats delivered to them and staff members were shared facts, secrets and answered questions. The Sacramento Zoo is located at 3930 West Land Park Dr. For ore information visit http://saczoo.org.
Sacramento Zoo Grieves the Loss of Elderly Chimpanzee and the Loss of Oldest Known Captive Spotted Hyena
At the estimated age of 48, Zoo veterinarians were treating Josie for a variety of age-related illnesses. Her condition worsened and after thoughtful discussion between animal care, Zoo administrators and veterinary staff, made the decision to euthanize Josie Thursday, Nov. 8 to prevent her suffering.
Brownie, as Zoo staff affectionately called her, had been under treatment for a variety of age-related illnesses. She passed away in her sleep on Monday, Nov. 12
Veterinarians and keepers had been keeping an eye on Brownie because of her age, but did not notice anything unusual. She spent much of the afternoon sunning in her exhibit, ate her dinner and went to sleep. Brownie surpassed all expectations, living to the age of 28.
“You can’t imagine how tough this decision was,” to euthanize Josie, Zoo Director Mary Healy said. “On one hand you have an amazing chimpanzee that has been a very special part of the Zoo for 26 years. On the other hand you see a friend who has been suffering and you have done everything feasible to make her better.”
As a longtime and charismatic member of the Sacramento community Josie will be missed.
A civilian in Fremont acquired her from Africa in the early 1960’s. A few years later she was donated to the Fresno Zoo, and then moved to Micke Grove Zoo and eventually joined the Sacramento Zoo’s group of chimpanzees in 1986.
Josie loved people watching and had a special fondness for interacting with young children. She would often raise her hand to the glass as a greeting to toddlers and babies and then kept an eye on them while they toured the chimpanzee area. Josie also loved to paint and often went through phases with the colors she used.
Josie was an integral part of the dynamic chimp group, and a stabilizing personality among the chimps. Josie will be greatly missed by Zoo staff, the other chimps and visitors alike and will always hold a special place in their hearts.
Chimpanzees come from the central belt of Africa where they live in forests, dry woodland savannas and tropical rain forests. In the wild they live up to 40 years and can live up to 60 years in captivity. They are endangered with their main predators being leopards, lions and humans.
By calling 808-8815, you can make donations in Josie’s memory. All donations will go towards the care of the other chimpanzees at the Sacramento Zoo.
Brownie was born in Kenya and shortly after was brought to U.C. Berkeley as part of a research program. She moved to the Sacramento Zoo in 1995 with a female companion from U.C. Berkley who passed away in 2006. Brownie was the oldest Spotted Hyena known in captivity in the United States.
Hyenas are matriarchal and very hierarchal, making it difficult to introduce new companions without significant stress. In order to fulfill her social needs, keepers spent a lot of time interacting with Brownie through protected contact training programs. Keepers also monitored closely her weight and became very creative in food variety and presentation.
While at U.C. Berkley, artists from Disney studied Brownie and her sister as models for Disney’s movie “The Lion King.”
“Because hyenas are highly nocturnal, it was always a special treat for visitors when they got to see Brownie,” said Harrison Edell, General Curator at the Sacramento Zoo. “Brownie was a unique individual who lived a long life; her passing deeply affects visitors, volunteers and staff alike,” Edell said.
Spotted Hyenas, also known as Laughing Hyenas, come from African grasslands, savannas and plains. They live in matriarchal clans and are highly territorial. They have many vocal behaviors ranging from whoops, barks, groans, yells, grunts and whines. In the wild they live 10-12 years while in captivity they can live from 20-25 years.
The Sacramento Zoo’s giraffe herd has grown from four to five in the last month. “Shani” came to the Sacramento Zoo from the L.A. Zoo in mid-August and has completed quarantine. She is now exploring the exhibit and getting to know the Zoo’s three female Reticulated Giraffes and her new companion Chifu, a two-year-old male Masai Giraffe.
“Eventually Shani and Chifu will become the nucleus of a Masai Giraffe herd,” said Harrison Edell, General Curator. “As part of the Masai Giraffe Species Survival Plan, the creation of this new herd will support genetic diversity in the North American Masai Giraffe population.”
Born Aug. 30, 2010, Shani stands approximately 11 feet tall. When full grown, she is expected to reach between 16 and 19 feet, smaller than the male by a few feet. Shani’s name comes from the Swahili word for “wondrous.” Keepers have noted that she enjoys the presence of the other giraffes and is getting along well with Chifu.
The Masai Giraffe is the largest giraffe subspecies and is found in southern Kenya and Tanzania. In addition to a difference in size, Reticulated and Masai Giraffes tend to have slightly different spots. A Masai giraffe’s spots are usually darker and irregular in shape.
Shani and Chifu are two of fewer than 100 Masai Giraffes in institutions accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Giraffes in captivity have helped field researchers, such as those from the Wild Nature Institute, to recognize physical characteristics and social behaviors in the wild. The Wild Nature Institute is currently studying the demography of Masai Giraffes and the African Savannah ecosystem with photo recognition software. Through this methodology, researchers can follow the giraffes’ movements and reproduction habits in order to understand where and why they are declining in the wild. The study includes more than 1500 Masai Giraffes. The partnership between the Sacramento Zoo and the Wild Nature Institute is an example of research and education supporting conservation.
Located near the corner of Land Park Drive and Sutterville Road in William Land Park, the Zoo is wholly managed by the non-profit Sacramento Zoological Society. Open daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., general admission is $11.25; children ages 2-11 are $7.25 and one and under are admitted free. Parking is free throughout the park or ride Regional Transit bus No. 6. For information, call 916-808-5888 or visit saczoo.org.
Simon and Garfunkel once said, “It’s all happening at the zoo.”
That certainly seems to be the case at the Sacramento Zoo, which this year is celebrating its 85th anniversary with many new attractions.
The zoo’s main focus right now is on its capitol improvement project called Small Wonders, for which the zoo is currently working on construction plans and permits, according to director Mary Healy.
Healy says the new exhibit will be located across from the zoo’s giraffe exhibit, aptly named Tall Wonders, and will feature four new species of animals – a pair of African monkeys called Wolf’s Guenon, an African bat called a Straw-Colored Fruit Bat, an aardvark and a mongoose.
The zoo has already acquired the Wolf’s Guenon and will acquire the other animals as the project moves forward, Healy said.
Healy said the Small Wonders exhibit will help complete an area of the zoo where consistent improvements have been made to make the animals much more visible to guests.
She also said bringing in new species of animals provides new educational opportunities.
“We’ve never had any bats on exhibit,” Healy said. “We used to have one in the education department, but we’ve never had any on exhibit, and that’s going to be a fun opportunity. Kids like bats, they’re not intimidated by them. Some adults tend to still think they’re kind of creepy, so it’s kind of fun to bring in something like that that the kids are into.”
Although there is currently no opening date set yet for Small Wonders, Healy hopes the zoo will be able to give a timetable update to guests at the upcoming Wild Affair fund raising event on Oct. 6.
According to marketing coordinator Marisa Hicks, Wild Affair is the zoo’s annual black tie gala dinner and auction.
“It’s our grandest event focused on adults and just raising as much money as possible for the zoo, and this year that money is going toward Small Wonders,” she said.
During this year’s event, attendees will start the evening with appetizers and cocktails, plus the chance to take special behind-the-scenes tours of zoo exhibits.
“That includes behind-the-scenes in the primate area (and) the carnivore area, the lions and tigers,” Hicks said.
Wild Affair attendees will enjoy a plated dinner by Mulvaney’s B&L, a live auction hosted by Dave Bender from CBS13 and a show put on by zoo staff.
“The show is put on by the very same staff that has done tours, so somebody who was just showing you behind-the-scenes in the primate area may now be on stage in costume,” Hicks said. “There is no end to what our passionate zoo staff will do to raise money for our exhibits here.”
For the community
In addition to Wild Affair, the zoo has a number of events coming up to help benefit its surrounding community.
For example, now until the end of August, zoo guests can bring in a new, unwrapped school supply for a school supply drive and receive $1 off general admission.
Hicks said the supplies will be donated to a school in need in the local community. In November and December, patrons can bring in a donation for either Toys for Tots or the Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services and again receive $1 off general admission.
In October, the zoo’s popular Boo at the Zoo will return for two days, Oct. 30 and 31. Here kids can come in costume, visit 17 different candy stations and take rides on the “spooky” train and “creepy” carousel.
“Generally what people do on Halloween is they come to Boo at the Zoo and then they go out into Land Park and do the rest of their trick-or-treating, so it’s a real fun night,” Hicks said.
Additionally, the zoo has been hosting a number of nonprofits through different programming. For example, each night of the zoo’s summer Twilight Thursdays series gave a different nonprofit an opportunity to share its information with patrons.
Healy feels it’s important for the zoo to help out their fellow community nonprofits.
“We’re in kind of a unique position since we do get a half-million visitors to our zoo and we feel that we are in a position, kind of like the big brother, to help out some of the other organizations,” she said. “We just try to be a good partner and feel like we’re all in this together and a lot of the nonprofits are struggling.”
The next 85
As the Sacramento Zoo celebrates its 85th birthday, what’s in store for the next 85 years?
Healy says part of it will be focusing on offering more intimate experiences for zoo patrons.
“We know we’re limited with the 14 acre site (and) we want to make sure when people come here, they can see the animals up close and have interactions,” she said.
The zoo has already been moving in that direction with the all-glass river otter exhibit that allows kids to come “nose-to-nose” with the animals, the Tall Wonders giraffe exhibit that features supervised feedings twice a day and a window in the tiger exhibit where guests can sit next to the tigers.
“We just want to keep creating those kinds of special, up close experiences that make our zoo unique,” Healy said.
And Hicks says the zoo will continue to work on its main mission, which is to educate the next generation on conservation.
“They’re not going to conserve what they have today without being educated on what there is,” she said. “All of our programs (are) aimed toward engaging our audience and getting them to pay attention to conservation and observing that education so they carry it with them. And hopefully we’re creating that connection with wildlife that a lot of urban city kids don’t have.”
He may be short, he may be slow, and his fading grey is a tell-tale sign of his age, but what do you expect … he is an 85-year-old, 20-pound tortoise.
As the Sacramento Zoo celebrated its 85th anniversary on July 28, Herkimer the tortoise also celebrated his 85th year of life.
“A desert tortoise can live to over 120 years old,” said Brooke Coe, Sacramento Zoo education specialist. “He lives in our Interpretive Center where he participates in stage shows and goes out with the ‘Zoomobile’ to schools and is involved in other education programs.”
Because there are no official records as to Herkimer’s real birth date, the Sacramento Zoo has designated July 28 as his official/unofficial birthday and therefore threw him a birthday party, coinciding with the zoo’s 85th anniversary.
In 90-degree heat, nearly 2,000 people roamed around Sacramento Zoo, celebrating the 28th annual Ice Cream Safari.
With all-you-can-eat Baskin Robbins ice cream and Coca-Cola beverages, kids and adults were crawling all over the 14-acre zoo.
This family-fun event wasn’t just about the sugary treats. There were plenty of other fun activities, including animal spotlights, face painting and zoo games. All of the Sacramento Zoo’s animals were on display throughout the event.
While members celebrated the Zoo’s 85th birthday with ice cream and cake, Herkimer celebrated in his own style – with his favorite treat of dandelion flowers.
“Sometimes you will see zoo keepers kicking dandelion seed heads on zoo grounds so that we can grow more for him,” Coe said. “This is probably the only place you will find someone actually trying to grow dandelions.”
A tortoise’s journey
Zoo officials say Herkimer’s life probably began as someone’s household pet in Southern California during World War I. During that time, Herkimer traveled across the country to the East Coast, living in a little shoebox.
This could explain his name, Herkimer. During the war, the tanks were made and brought overseas from Herkimer, New York.
Eventually Herkimer the tortoise trekked back again to Northern California by the mid-1960s.
“The original owners had him for a very long time and after 40 years of living with the same family, they believed it was time to retire him and brought him here to the Sacramento Zoo,” Coe said. “Because of his size and approximate time when his owners took him from the wild, we were able to make an educated guess on his age.”
Herkimer did travel to the Sacramento Zoo with his wife, ‘Grandma,’ who passed away 10 years ago at the ripe age of 90. Herkimer’s son still lives at the zoo with him. Together they move slowly, in sync.
Coe believes tortoises are long-lived because they are vegetarians, they move slowly and are gentle.
“I expect he’ll be around for at least another 20-plus years,” she said.
The evening event was a little late for Herkimer to be out, but people were still drawn to many of the bigger, more active exhibits.
“Pretty popular are the black and white lemurs, the giraffes, because they are so big, and the large cats,” said zoo spokeswoman Tonja Swank. “But some people are also are drawn to the exotic birds or reptiles.”
Strolling past the flamingos, lions, tigers and giraffes, some said the event was a great family bonding experience.
“It helps keep the kids active and away from the TV,” said Bay Area resident Tainisha Errico. “This is the first time we’ve been here.”
Young dad Xavier Ynostroza said he plans to make zoo visits a family honored tradition.
“My parents use to bring me here all the time growing up and I loved it,” Ynostroza said. “I know the boys will too. It makes people want to engage more with their kids’ learning experience.”
According to staff, nearly 400 volunteers were on hand at the event, hundreds of them scooping out nearly 1,000 gallons of ice cream.
All proceeds from Ice Cream Safari benefited the general maintenance, conservation programs, education and animal care at the zoo, which is home to more than 450 native, rare and endangered animals.
Open since 1927, the Sacramento Zoo, located near the corner of Land Park Drive and Sutterville Road in William Land Park, is managed by the non-profit Sacramento Zoological Society.
It’s hard to walk into Parkside Pharmacy in Sacramento without sampling a body lotion or perusing the many cards made by local artists.
Now open for two and a half years, Parkside was formally known as Land Park Pharmacy. Ted and Georgia Econome opened the pharmacy in 1953 and are now retired. Current owner John Ortego worked for Land Park Pharmacy three years before the Econome’s retired. When the pharmacy closed, Ortego saw the perfect opportunity to remodel it based on an idea he and his wife Michelle had discussed.
John graduated from the University of Pacific and had a vision of running a compound pharmacy. Compounding is the mixing of drugs by a compounding pharmacist to fit the unique needs of a patient. This may be done for medically necessary reasons, such as to change the form of the medication from a solid pill to a liquid, to avoid a non-essential ingredient that the patient is allergic to, or to obtain the exact dose needed. It may also be done for voluntary reasons, such as adding favorite flavors to a medication.
John wanted to run an independent, whole wellness pharmacy that included a spa.
“John entered a nationwide competition with the idea of having a whole wellness pharmacy that included the compounding pharmacy, boutique and skincare and won,” Michelle said. “He received a lot of recognition for his idea.”
In addition to servicing the local community, he also makes compound medications for his neighbor, the Sacramento Zoo. Compound medications make it easier to treat the animals there.
John hired Gary Thomas to help him run the pharmacy. Thomas previously ran the Land Park Pharmacy for 35 years.
“Gary is a celebrity,” Michelle said. “He reminds me of the old-fashioned doctors, who used to make house calls.”
Michelle wanted a boutique where people could purchase jewelry, paintings and cards made by local artists.
“Our cards are provided mostly by Papyrus and a local artist known as Artey Mas,” Michelle said. “Artey Mas is owned by Marisa Gutierrez, who happens to be my cousin.”
Gutierrez also brings in featured paintings by local artists in the area.
Michelle said another popular item in the boutique is hand-stitched baby booties, made by a woman who lives in Land Park.
“Our biggest hit in the boutique is the jewelry, which is from all over the world and very unique,” Michelle said. “We have a variety of price ranges too.”
With a medical background in skin care, Michelle wanted to make sure the spa had a medically trained aesthetician on hand.
Michelle has over 10 years experience working with dermatologists. She bought a medical grade machine for the microdermabrasion treatments and said it took her a while to find a good aesthetician.
“Everyone loves Marla, our aesthetician, and we even have Arden Park residents coming in for spa treatments,” Michelle said. “I eventually want to add a massage therapist.”
Michelle said her goal for the new pharmacy was pulling in the newer generation with the spa and cosmetics. With more light coming into the building now, it appears larger and warmly inviting.
Michelle promotes local business to the visitors who come to her store. She thinks it is important to support the local economy and said it is a big deal to her.
The store is set up with the compounding pharmacy located in the back and the boutique and spa in the front. Parkside has a website with a calendar listing their monthly events. A book signing at the store in early December delighted Wayne Thiebaud fans. Children recently had the opportunity to pose with Santa. Parkside is also presenting the “12 days of Christmas” that include spa specials.
An email is sent every second Saturday with daily specials to Parkside’s email listing. Michelle said this has become quite popular.
Both John and Michelle say that running the Parkside Pharmacy has been a lot of work, but also a lot of fun in the making.
Parkside Pharmacy is located 4404 Del Rio Road in Sacramento. Call (916) 452-2200 or visit www.myparksidepharmacy.com.