Large sinkhole closes Oakland Zoo after major storm, California

Large sinkhole closes Oakland Zoo after major storm, California

A major sinkhole caused by a collapsed culvert formed under the vehicle entrance to the Oakland Zoo in California, U.S. after an unprecedented amount of rainfall hit the region over the past couple of days.

According to officials with the Oakland Zoo, the facility will ‘be unable to reopen until January 17, or possibly later, due to a major sinkhole caused by a collapsed culvert located under the vehicle entrance to the Zoo at Golf Links Road.’1

The culvert, overburdened by the historic and unprecedented amount of rainfall throughout the region over the past few days, connects Arroyo Viejo Creek under the entry road to the Zoo.

The sinkhole is approximately 3 m (10 feet) wide and approximately 3 m deep and is impassable to vehicles, prohibiting guests from entering the Zoo.

Engineers called to the site said that with additional rain expected in the next several days, the sinkhole could worsen.

Zoo officials are working with a local company specializing in engineering, design, and construction to repair the sinkhole as soon as possible, and were advised it may take an estimated 2 weeks or more for materials to arrive and the work to be completed.

In other areas of the Zoo, the volume and velocity of the water flowing across the Zoo grounds caused incredible soil erosion, eucalyptus trees to fall, flooding in various buildings, and overwhelmed drainage systems. Electricity went out at times and their internet and ticketing systems were intermittently working.

“All animals and staff are fine and remained safe during the extreme weather,” Zoo officials said. “While closed, Zoo staff will continue to be onsite to take care of the animals, provide maintenance needs, and conduct clean-ups from damage caused by the rain.”


1 Oakland Zoo press release – January 1, 2023

Featured image credit: Oakland Zoo


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