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Palo Alto Junior Museum & Zoo reopens in new building at Rinconada Park

Palo Alto Junior Museum & Zoo reopens in new building at Rinconada Park
Photo: Courtesy of Facebook via City of Palo Alto
By Matt - Published on May 17, 2022.

The Palo Alto Junior Museum & Zoo hosted its official grand reopening this weekend, debuting at its new location at 1451 Middlefield Road — and event which was complete with free museum tours and an up-close chance to meet various wildlife.

After a ribbon-cutting ceremony with city staff and elected officials, the Palo Alto Junior Museum & Zoo (JMZ) grew into a community celebration. The Saturday festival was held to spotlight the recent renovations made to the JMZ, which was opened almost 90 years ago.

 

The historically significant children's museum now looks surprisingly different than when it first opened inside the Palo Alto Public Library’s main art room in July of 1934.

Situated inside Rinconada Park — which was also recently renovated to include a new playground, picnic area, and both outdoor elliptical machines and stationary bikes for public use — JMZ now features a 1-to-10-billion scale model of our solar system, as well as updated exotic animal enclosures. 

The new building where the JMZ has housed measures approximately 15,085 square feet, or nearly twice the size of the old building. The JMZ now houses a sprawling education building, an outdoor zoo, and an upgraded parking lot; the museum also offers hands-on science classes for approximately 18,000 students in about 60 local elementary schools, per Patch.

Museum-goers of all ages will also have the chance to hand-feed a wide array of exotic birds, like flamingos, hornbills, and spoonbills. There, too, will be chances to get close to JMZ’s resident bald eagle, sequoia; an African spurred tortoise can occasionally be seen walking the grounds for exercise and enrichment.

In 2023, the California Dinosaur Garden —  an immersive experience of the Cretaceous period in California that museum-goers can walk through and interact with — is expected to debut as JMZ's newest exhibit.

Tickets to the Palo Alto Junior Museum & Zoo are $10 for each person over 12 months of age; the museum's current hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.,
Tuesday through Sunday; visit paloaltozoo.org for more information, including how to purchase tickets and to find a complete map of the museum.