Applegate Park is the oldest park in Merced, purchased in part with a bequest by Lewis H. Applegate for the citizens and visitors of Merced in the 1920's. Birds and other animals were donated to the City over the years and cages were built in the park to house them. By 1960, the Recreation and Parks Commission and the City of Merced saw the need to construct better facilities for the welfare of the animals. Applegate Park Zoo was constructed at its current location in 1961-62, providing new and improved accommodations for the ever-expanding collection of birds, mammals, and reptiles.
Applegate Park Zoo has been home to many wild animals which, due to injuries or other conditions, could not be released to the wild or were surplus animals from other zoos. A regional theme has been adopted by the zoo, focusing on native species of animals and plants of the Central San Joaquin Valley and the nearby Sierra Nevada Mountains.
The master plan for our zoo's future provides for increasing the number of exhibits as well as the development of each exhibit to replicate the natural habitats of the native birds, mammals, and reptiles that live here at the zoo. The Merced Garden Club, local 4H Clubs and others assist the zoo by planting and maintaining very attractive landscaping in several locations around the zoo. The Rossotti Ed-Zoo-Cation Center was opened in August 2009 to provide a venue for a variety of educational programs.
Providing a home for recused animals whose lives were in danger and are unable to be released back into the wild.
The zoo is a non-profit organization in which most donations (of any type) are tax deductible. Find out more about donations by clicking here.
We provide behind the scenes tours in which guests may be able to feed our bears, raccoons and monkeys. You may also play with our bobcats with a peacock feather.
We are always seeking help from our community with volunteers. Volunteers have an important role in our zoo’s success. If you would like to join our team or want more information please click here.
The zoo is one of the most visited locations in Merced, California. We want to ensure our visitors have a positive and educational visit that create memories that last a lifetime.
The Merced Zoo periodically holds community events such as Lights Before Christmas, Zoo Boo, Pirates and Princesses and so much more. You can check out our events by clicking here.
The zoo has an amazing gift shop to remember your experience with us! Come on by and see our inexpensive items including: key-chains, bumper stickers, shirts, toys, and more!