Part of
the Pride

Inspired by the San Diego Zoo’s 100th celebration, five prominent Balboa Park institutions are collaborating to bring you a menagerie of animal-themed exhibitions in 2016. Come celebrate animals and nature with us!

The San Diego History Center

The Lore Behind the Roar! 100 Years of the San Diego Zoo
March 19 - December 2016

This several-gallery exhibition tells the amazing story of the world-famous San Diego Zoo—from its humble origins as a rag-tag collection of animals leftover from the 1915 Panama-California Exposition to its evolution as one of the world’s leading zoos and global conservation organizations. Featuring hands-on interactives, a vintage imagery, oral histories, videos, word clouds, and activities for all ages in our ROAR! Family Den, this is an exhibition you won’t want to miss.

Look back at 100 Years of the San Diego Zoo at the San Diego History Center in the heart of Balboa Park.

Museum of Photographic Arts

Beauty and the Beast: The Animal in Photography
May 21 – September 25, 2016

An examination of animals in photography, inspired by the San Diego Zoo Centennial. Showcasing a diverse range of photographers, the exhibition highlights the many ways animals are featured from portraits to supporting subjects.

San Diego Natural History Museum

Whales: Giants of the Deep
March 19 – September 6, 2016

Interactive, immersive, and featuring the latest in international cetacean research, Whales: Giants of the Deep brings visitors eye to eye with some of the world’s most elusive creatures. Learn about whale biology, view life-size and scale models of whales, and even crawl through a life-size replica of the heart of a blue whale, the Earth’s largest living creature. Developed and presented by the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.

The Machine Inside: Biomechanics
October 8, 2016 – January 1, 2017

Have you ever wondered how some creatures can fly for miles without resting, leap the length of a football field, or crush over 8,000 pounds in one bite? From the inside out, every living thing—including humans—is a machine built to survive, move, and discover. Now you can try your hand at “flying,” feel how hard a giraffe’s heart works to pump blood, and investigate the other marvels of natural engineering in The Machine Inside: Biomechanics. Discover how evolution is Earth’s greatest innovator, only at theNAT.

San Diego Museum of Art

Ferocious Bronze: The Animal Sculptures of Arthur Putnam
March 26, 2016 – October 11, 2016

A collection of vibrant animal bronzes, rendered with great vitality and expressiveness, by Arthur Putnam (1873–1930). During his lifetime, Arthur Putnam was hailed as the greatest sculptor of California, the "American Rodin." Putnam’s restless nature and aversion to academics led him to spend a great deal of time outdoors where he developed a passionate interest in wildlife that prepared him to become one of the greatest animaliers in America. Largely self-taught, Putnam learned to depict animals by observing and sketching them in the wild and in zoos, and by working briefly in a slaughterhouse. His natural talent was nurtured through contact with artists including fellow avid outdoorsman Frederic Remington, Gutzon Borglum, who later would carve Mount Rushmore, and Edward Kemeys, best known for creating the Art Institute of Chicago's iconic bronze lions.

He had just begun to achieve a national reputation with these bronzes when his career was tragically curtailed at age 38 by a brain tumor that left him paralyzed on the left side. Supported by artist friends and patrons including Alma de Bretteville Spreckels, Putnam was able to win a gold medal at San Francisco's 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition for casts of earlier work but he was never again able to bring to life the ferocious beasts that he so admired.


Jan Brueghel the Elder - The Entry Of The Animals Into Noah's Ark
September 23 – December 13, 2016

A profusion of animals fills the earth and sky. Fighting, playing, climbing, flying, and swimming, they are shepherded by Noah toward the ark in the far distance. All species of animals are portrayed, from large lumbering elephants to tiny turtles and hamsters in the foreground. Bats and birds soar across the sky, receding into the background where brighter skies hold promise of a future.

The story of Noah's ark provided a subject well suited to Jan Brueghel the Elder's descriptive abilities. Overcome by the wickedness of the human race, God resolved to cleanse the earth with a great flood. He spared only the lives of the family of Noah, the sole just man. God instructed Noah to build an ark and to take on board a male and a female of every species of bird and beast.

In 1609 Brueghel was appointed court painter to Archduke Albert and the Infanta Isabella, who had collected exotic and unusual animals from across the world, creating a menagerie in Brussels. Brueghel studied and drew many of these animals from life. With the discovery of the New World in the 1600s came an increased curiosity about natural history. This interest led many European rulers, who had in the past collected stuffed animals, shells, and other natural objects, to form menageries of rare live animals.

Images of San Diego Zoo Centennial commemorative pins. ShopZoo: Your one-stop shop for Centennial commemoratives, gear, and more!