The Sacramento Zoo May Move and It’s Eyeing the Area Around the Kings’ Former Arena

SACRAMENTO -- The director of the Sacramento City Zoo says he now knows exactly what he wants when it comes to the zoo and exactly where he wants it to go as he envisions the Kings’ former arena as a suitable space for a brand-new zoo.

“We are looking at out of the box ideas to make it a zoo that has the right business plan to support it,” said Jason Jacobs, the zoo’s director. “A natural site that kept coming up was the Sleep Train/ Arco Arena site in Natomas.”

With 180 acres of space at the Sacramento Kings’ old home, compared to the 14.7 acres the zoo sits on in Land Park, Jacobs imagines a zoo that’s home to a safari-type area, a lodge for guests and the possibility of Disney-style tram.

The dream though, would be costly, between $128 and $150 million just to start, but Jacobs also believes annual attendance would double, from 500 thousand to about a million guests.

“It goes back to that we want to help make this region a destination,” said Jacobs.

The issue for the zoo in Land Park isn’t just lack of space to grow, but also extremely limited parking.

Jacobs says the Sleep Train area solves both of those issues and can even be enhanced with a light rail extension to Natomas in the future.

The idea is in its early stages, but for Jacobs, leaving Land Park needs to happen to make a better zoo and experience for guests.

“At this point it doesn’t matter where the zoo goes, it needs to go,  we need to grow,” stated Jacobs.