Charles Paddock Zoo, located next to Atascadero Lake off Highway 41 at 9100 Morro Road in Atascadero, is the only zoo in San Luis Obispo County. Over the years, the zoo has adopted new animals – or new animals have been born. The zoo’s newest addition is a pair of female red panda cubs born at the zoo on June 26.
Their mom is Damini, born in 2001, and dad is Ruskan, born in 2009, both at other accredited zoos. The new cubs will only stay at Charles Paddock Zoo for about one year before they are assigned to other zoos to continue the ongoing red panda breeding program.
Variety of animals
The Charles Paddock Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. It has hundreds of animal species from around the world and many are part of globally-managed programs to preserve animals and their habitats.
The small zoo also has a variety of mammals, such as a Malayan tiger, fossa, porcupines, slender-tailed meerkat, lemurs, monkeys, red river hogs, foxes, long tailed chinchilla and more. Additionally, there are barnyard animals, amphibians, reptiles, and birds, such as ringed neck parakeets, Moluccan cockatoo, macaws, owls, ducks, flamingos and more.
Depending on your pace, it can take an hour or so to walk through the five-acre, wooded zoo that is adjacent to the lake park. The zoo is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas. The cost is $7 for those 12 and older, $5 for children 3 to 11, $6 for seniors 65 and older and free for children 2 and younger. For more information, go to www.charlespaddockzoo.org or call (805) 461-5080.
• Saturday, Nov. 15 – Armed Forces Day – military personnel and their immediate families (spouses and children) receive free admission to the zoo with valid military ID.
• Saturday, Dec. 20 – Annual Holiday Magic event, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. – animals receive special gifts and visits listen to educational talks by zookeepers as the animals open their presents.