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History

Historic black and white photo of children and adults at the Palo Alto Junior Museum

Palo Alto Junior Museum and Zoo logo

Junior Museum & Zoo

Cubberley Auditorium

4050 Middlefield Road
Palo Alto, CA 94303
Phone: 650-329-2111

Founded in 1934 by Josephine O’Hara in a local elementary school, the Junior Museum & Zoo was the first children’s museum west of the Mississippi and has been a local leader in children’s science education since its inception. 

Every couple of years, the Museum introduces a new interactive science exhibit that is developed and designed in-house. The exhibit pictured below, Clean Green Energy Machines, introduces children and their families to renewable forms of energy like water, solar, wind, and kid-power. The other current exhibit, Buzzzz, features the amazing lives of insects and spiders. 

Clean Green Energy Machines exhibits

In 1969, the Museum added a zoo that features more than 50 animals, including bobcats, bats, snakes, hedgehogs, ducks, ferrets, and raccoons. The Zoo’s small but diverse collection of wildlife helps children develop a deeper understanding of the natural world and the relationships between people and animals. A favorite since 1969—children love the Rainbow Bridge which crosses the duck pond.

Children standing on Rainbow Bridge at the Palo Alto Junior Museum and Zoo