San Francisco Zoo
Why We Like This Place
Visions of children, giraffes and kettle corn spring to mind when most of us imagine a city zoo, and you’ll certainly find all these things here. But the San Francisco Zoo is not just a great hangout for kids and animals. These days, the 75-year-old, 100-acre zoological park has developed a reputation as a charming and upscale location for a variety of special events—especially weddings!
Exposed wooden beams and a giant fireplace add a rustic, inviting quality to the Great Hall in the Education Center, the zoo’s most popular place to host cocktails or a sit-down dinner with dancing. Large pillars made of knotty logs support the high, peaked ceiling, while several smoked-glass chandeliers light up the space. Along the walls, brass lamp fixtures in the shape of koala bears are a fitting touch. The adjoining wetlands patio, which wraps around the building, offers a relaxing taste of nature. Cocktails are often served here, and guests can flow freely indoors and out. The patio also works well for small ceremonies.
If you have a large group and the sky’s the limit, consider hosting your event in the Event Tent. Peaked, white and spacious, it can be transformed into your very own wonderland.
For a fanciful pre-dinner cocktail reception, the historic Dentzel Carousel building is an inspired choice. The round, freestanding structure houses the recently restored Dentzel Carousel, a working merry-go-round with dozens of colorful hand-carved horses and a menagerie of other animals. Guests are encouraged to hop on and take a ride during an event, and the authentic calliope music adds to the whimsical atmosphere (you can also bring in your own CDs if you prefer).
If getting married in the great outdoors suits your fancy, the well-groomed grounds of the park provide a number of ceremony options. The most sought-after site is right in the middle of the expansive African Savanna, one of the zoo’s newer exhibits. Here, you not only have privacy after zoo hours, but your guests enjoy the company of zebra, kudu, ostrich and other African animals. Another, larger location is the broad Playfield Lawn, which stretches between the Children’s Zoo and playground. This wide-open space is bordered by trees and flowering bushes.
Would you like to socialize with some of the local residents? Request a private giraffe feeding (you get to hand-feed them!) or an “Animal Encounter,” a unique program that lets you get up close and personal with a selection of wildlife. Trained staff will bring owls, hawks, ferrets, snakes, baby alligators or other small critters to your festivities, giving your guests a chance to do something really “wild.” This is a great conversation starter and leaves a lasting impression.
Everyone will also be impressed with Taste of the Wild Catering Co., the exclusive on-site caterer behind every event at the San Francisco Zoo. They’ll design a celebration to match your needs, be it a BBQ buffet or an elegant dinner. Their creativity, excellent customer service and great food will ensure that your event makes the most out of this extraordinary setting.
Max. Seated Indoors: 250
Max. Seated Outdoors: 300
Max. Seated Indoors: 220
Max. Seated Outdoors: 320
Max. Standing Indoors: 300
Max. Standing Outdoors: 500
|Max. Seated: 300|
CEREMONY CAPACITY: The Zoo holds up to 300 guests seated indoors or outdoors.
EVENT/RECEPTION CAPACITY: Indoors, the Zoo accommodates up to 220 seated or 300 standing guests; outdoors up to 320 seated or 500 standing guests
MEETING CAPACITY: Meeting spaces hold up to 300 guests seated theater-style.
Fees & Deposits
50–100% of the facility rental fee is the deposit required to reserve your date. The balance is due 5 days prior to the event. Rental fees range $1,500–5,000 depending on the venue(s) selected and time rented. Meals range $32.50–65/person. Tax, alcohol and a 20% service charge are additional.
Year-round, daily, 8am–11pm (or until midnight for an extra fee).
BYO w/ Corkage Fee
Special Events, Parties
Wheelchair AccessWheelchair Accessible
Site ViewsForest/Wooded Area
Venue TypeBanquet Hall/Events Facility
Alcohol: provided or BYO with corkage fee
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