New Children’s Zoo Brings Farm Experience to Santa Ana

Santa Ana Zoo officials and about 2,000 onlookers gathered Wednesday morning at a groundbreaking ceremony for a children’s zoo.

The Children’s Zoo/Crean Family Farm will be a two-acre facility built to look and feel like a vintage Orange County farm. Zoo officials said it will be a tribute to the county’s agricultural roots. The area also will feature interactive play structures for children and an educational center.

“The kids can be the animals. There will be turtle shells, made of fiberglass, where they can get it and move around . . . eggs they can get into and pop out of,” said Leslie Perovich, executive director of the Friends of the Santa Ana Zoo.

“It’s more fun to learn while you are playing. That’s why this is important,” she said. “That’s the role of a zoo, to help the public better understand animals.”


Construction is to begin mid-summer. The zoo, scheduled to be completed in spring 2002, will focus on rare breed varieties of typical farm animals. The farm will feature Spanish and Oberhasli goats, turkeys, sheep and special fowl, known as Anocona and Dominique chickens.

The $3-million facility is being funded by the nonprofit Friends of the Santa Ana Zoo, with donations from residents and businesses. Orange County philanthropists John and Donna Crean donated the lead gift for the project.