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, by 1959, Mr. Paddock’s animal menagerie increased to over 125 wild birds and mammals. 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 Zoo is currently renovating and upgrading the animal exhibits into more naturalistic habitats to assure the best care and well-being for our animals. Involved in several conservation and education programs, the Zoo has a commitment to wild animal propagation and management within the Zoo and in the wild, committed to be “Your Central Coast Conservation Center.” The Charles Paddock Zoo continues to be one of the best-valued, community supported, high quality, and family-oriented recreation destinations on the Central Coast.
Friends of the Charles Paddock Zoo
FRIENDS OF THE CHARLES PADDOCK ZOO (FCPZ) was formed in February 2012 as a dedicated partner of the Charles Paddock Zoo. FCPZ is committed to conservation, education and support of the Charles Paddock Zoo’s mission.
Our goals include:
- Fundraising for Charles Paddock Zoo
- Developing volunteerism
- Promoting public participation and awareness
- Enhancing the visitor experience
Friends of the Charles Paddock Zoo are focused on bringing awareness to the valuable cultural asset the Zoo is to our community. FCPZ is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit. Therefore, donations, contributions and sponsorships are tax deductible. Our Board of Directors is a 100% volunteer Board allowing us to dedicate funds directly to the Charles Paddock Zoo. Your support is greatly appreciated and will allow us to continue our mission.