The Friends of the Santa Ana Zoo targeted a number of significant upgrades to improve the zoo appearance, and attract more visitors to this regional zoo. These improvements included redesigning the existing main zoo entry, relocating and redesigning an expanded Children’s Petting Zoo, redesigning the existing children’s play areas, and creating a new Amazon exhibit area.

Improvements to the zoo entry provided expanded paving for group entry, graphics and signage, and new landscape plantings. The existing trellis structure was renovated and painted a brighter color, and new signage was used to highlight the ticket and entrance area. Plans for the area immediately inside the entrance were also prepared and included a small lake to be used for a Pink Flamingo exhibit, as well as expansion of outdoor seating for the existing restaurant.

The Crean Family Farm is a children’s petting zoo based on life in early Orange County. The storyline, created and written by R/Hdo for the Children’s Zoo is based on a family that moved to Orange County from Missouri in the late 1800’s. The original farm house, complete with white picket fence and rose borders, is the restroom building, the carriage house is the animal educational building, and the barn is the barn. Outdoor discovery and learning areas include a farm garden, which will also be used to produce food for animals in the zoo, and interactive exhibits related to baby chicks, turtles, goats, animals and their ability to see, weather, and termites. The design also incorporates the Zoo train that has developed into a major attraction and revenue producer for the Zoo. Future phases will expand the area, adding a “fairground” component that includes a carousel and pony ride area.

Location: City of Santa Ana, California

Role: Landscape Architect and Master Planner

Architect: Kip Craig and Associates

Owner: City of Santa Ana, Friends of the Santa Ana Zoo

Implementation Cost: $650,000

Date of Completion: 2004