Our zoo was established in 1955 by Charles Paddock, a county park ranger who nursed wild animals back to health. His reputation for rehabilitating animals soon spread throughout the area and Mr. Paddock’s animal menagerie increased to over 125 wild birds and mammals by 1959. By 1963, the zoo was moved from the county animal shelter to its present site and became known as Atascadero Children’s Zoo. In 1979, the City of Atascadero was incorporated and the city took over management of the zoo. The zoo took on the official name of “The Charles Paddock Zoo” in 1980, in memory of its founder. Over the years, the Charles Paddock Zoo has grown and improved into a fully accredited zoo, exhibiting over 100 animals on 5 park-like acres within beautiful Atascadero Lake Park.
The Charles Paddock Zoo is the California Central Coast’s ONLY zoo accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
The Charles Paddock Zoo is home to hundreds of animal species from around the world. Many of the zoo residents are part of globally managed programs to preserve animals and their habitats. The Charles Paddock Zoo is truly dedicated to the conservation of local and exotic species. If you want to engage with some of the rarest animals in the world in a safe and respectful environment then you will surely want to visit our Zoo.
The Charles Paddock Zoo is located on 5 wooded acres. Depending on your pace, guests may walk through the zoo in an hour, or spend the entire day. Although the animal collections are always changing, our zoo features several unique species not often seen in facilities of our size, including fossa, red pandas, Malayan tiger, lemurs and meerkats, as well as many other exciting and interesting mammals, birds, reptiles and insects.
The Zoo is family friendly with the opportunity for children and adults to experience animals up close. Unique gifts, as well as refreshments and strollers are available at the newly opened zoo gift shop. Adjacent to the Atascadero Lake park, the zoo is the perfect destination for a day of fun, education and relaxation. There is something for everyone at the Charles Paddock Zoo