The Friends of Palo Alto Junior Museum & Zoo wants to keep you connected to all our activities, events, and special announcements. Check out our newsletters and events information to read about the latest buzz at the JMZ and how our community is involved with our work. Be sure to check back regularly to get our latest news updates.

ICYMI: Friends’ Spring Breakfast Supports Science at Schools
May 21, 2024
Today, the JMZ Science Outreach program funded by the Friends delivers 500+ hands-on, engaging science lessons every year to more than 3,000 elementary school students in underserved schools. Thanks to the generous support of our Spring Breakfast guests and donors, we have since raised more than $90,000 to bring this impactful educational program to even more students in our community and surrounding areas.

Explore the JMZ’s Canopy Tree Walk
April 23, 2024
The JMZ and Rinconada Park are home to a number of interesting trees. Learn more about the JMZ’s recently revamped Tree Walk, originally designed by Canopy. In this interview with Tina Keegan, read more about how trees around the JMZ connect to the new California Dinosaur Garden and the Cretaceous Period.

Program Spotlight: Friends’ Animal Encounters Program
March 29, 2024
In this conversation with Lee Harper, Friends Ambassador and JMZ Senior Animal Care Specialist, we discuss the exciting Friend’s Animal Encounters Program. Learn more about the unique zoo experiences this program offers and how it engages the curiosity of families.

Exploring a Lifetime of Curiosity at the JMZ
February 13, 2024
For many children, the JMZ ignites a passion for science that extends well into adulthood. In this month’s newsletter, we speak with Arad Kedar, JMZ Educator, who was introduced to the JMZ and its science lessons as a child, and is now a full-time JMZ educator, teaching Friends-funded JMZ Science Outreach lessons in the Ravenswood City School District.

Celebrating 25 Years of JMZ Science Outreach in East Palo Alto
January 16, 2024
The Friends celebrates 25 years of funding JMZ Science Outreach in East Palo Alto. In this newsletter, board member Aletha Coleman, who served as president of the Friends board from 2004 to 2021, shares how funding Science Outreach in underserved schools became a key priority for our organization, and how the initiative has expanded over the years.

Meet the JMZ’s Animal Ambassadors
December 12, 2023
The JMZ is home to hundreds of animals, many of which live behind the scenes and visit school programs. Learn about the JMZ’s animal ambassadors and when you can meet them in this interview with John Aikin, JMZ Executive Director.

Our June 2022 – July 2023 Annual Report
November 14, 2023
Thanks to the generosity of our supporters, the Friends has had an exciting last year. Read this newsletter and our Annual Report which share the exciting details of ours successes in enhancing the JMZ.

The California Dinosaur Garden Welcomes Visitors
October 10, 2023
The California Dinosaur Garden is now open! To learn more about this exhibit and its installation, read our latest newsletter, which interviews JMZ Exhibits Director, Tina Keegan.

JMZ Recognized with Award by the Kennedy Center
September 12, 2023
The JMZ was honored with the Community Asset Award by the Kennedy Center’s Leadership Exchange in Arts and Disability program. Learn more about the JMZ’s work and this award in this interview with Tina Keegan, JMZ Exhibits Director.

Friends’ Program Spotlight: Scholarships for JMZ Summer Camps
August 8, 2023
Access and Inclusion Committee Co-Chair, Evelyn Semenza, shares the importance of the JMZ’s summer camps for families and children. Learn more about the Friends’ scholarship program in this newsletter.

Exhibit Spotlight: Building Blocks Exhibit
July 12, 2023
Tina Keegan, JMZ Exhibits Director, highlights the inspiration for the block exhibit and new updates to be made this year. Don’t miss your chance to purchase a commemorative block at the JMZ! Also included is an update on the amazing dinosaur replicas to be included in the California Dinosaur Garden.

Behind the Scenes: California Dinosaur Garden Sneak Peak
June 13, 2023
JMZ Exhibits Director Tina Keegan shares a behind the scenes look at what to expect in the California Dinosaur Garden, opening this fall. Read about what goes into designing and developing an exhibit as well as the new exciting features of the garden!

Meet Luna the Sloth!
May 16, 2023
JMZ Executive Director, John Aikin, shares the exciting news that Luna the Sloth has arrived at the JMZ. Learn more about sloths and their amazing adaptations in this newsletter.

“Loose in the Zoo” is Back!
April 11, 2023
In this interview with JMZ Executive Director, John Aikin, learn more about the “Loose in the Zoo” experience and new birds joining our flock soon.

Exhibit Spotlight: Inside the Vibrant World of the JMZ’s Fish Tank
March 7, 2023
Dive into the JMZ’s fish tank, home to over 25 different species of cichlids! Read more about these amazing fish and how their habitat is maintained in this newsletter.

Accessibility at the JMZ
February 7, 2023
Learn more about the accessibility features throughout the new Junior Museum & Zoo, including the resources that can be checked out from the front desk during your visit.

New Year, New Animals at the JMZ!
January 17, 2023
Meet the JMZ’s latest arrivals, including a Virginia opossum, a Western pond turtle, snapping turtles, and many more! We hope you are able to stop by and say hello to these new creatures soon.

Exchanging Ideas with the Bing Nursery School
December 6, 2022
Exciting news: birds are back at the JMZ! In this newsletter, we spoke with Friends board member Kelly Bavor about the recent tour Bing Nursery School Educators took of the JMZ and the unique opportunity this tour presented both institutions.

Highlighting Friends’ Work from the Past Year
November 9, 2022
In this newsletter, we spotlight the programs the Friends have funded over the past year with the support of our generous donors. Read more about these impactful initiatives in our latest annual report.

Protecting Birds at the JMZ and New Discovery Programs
October 4, 2022
We spoke with John Aikin, executive director of the Palo Alto Junior Museum & Zoo, to learn more about the avian flu pandemic, what the zoo is doing to keep its birds safe, and what you can do to help. Read more about new Discovery Programs that spotlight different animals at the JMZ in this newsletter.

Continuous Learning at the JMZ
September 6, 2022
The Friends is dedicated to constantly learning more about the communities served by the Palo Alto Junior Museum & Zoo (JMZ). Learn more about Friends funded initiatives in this newsletter highlighting DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) training for JMZ staff, as well as Friends’ staff and board members.

JMZ Science Outreach Program Spotlight
August 10, 2022
The Friends has funded the Junior Museum & Zoo’s Science Outreach Program in the Ravenswood City School District and East Palo Alto Charter School since 1999. Read more about this high-quality educational program and how it has evolved in this interview with Alex Hamilton, the JMZ’s Director of Education.

Friends Raises $300,000 for California Dinosaur GardenScience with a Twist Spotlight
July 5, 2022
We are excited to announce that the Friends reached our fundraising goal for the California Dinosaur Garden scheduled to open in 2023. Learn more about the Science with a Twist program at the Boys and Girls Club of the Peninsula in this interview with JMZ Director of Education, Alex Hamilton.

Explore the JMZ’s New Solar System Exhibit
June 7, 2022
Learn more about the JMZ’s newest exhibit, the Voyage Solar System Model, a 1 to 10-billion scale model of our Solar System installed in Rinconada Park.

JMZ Exhibit Preview – California Dinosaur Garden
May 3, 2022
Preview the California Dinosaur Garden exhibit opening at the JMZ in 2023, featuring an interview with JMZ Exhibits Director, Tina Keegan, who shares the inspiration behind this new exhibition.

Stanford Developmental Labs at the JMZ
April 7, 2022
Learn how families are contributing to science at the JMZ working with researchers at the Stanford Developmental Labs.

Rescue Animals at the JMZ
February 28, 2022
Meet three of the rescue animals at the JMZ. Learn about their interesting backgrounds.

Volunteering at the JMZ
January 27, 2022
Learn about the new volunteer program at the JMZ. Volunteers are educated in the JMZ’s “learn through play” model and how to facilitate STEM and STEAM programs.

Super Family Sundays Are Back
December 4, 2021
Super Family Sundays are free events when the JMZ is open exclusively to families with children who have disabilities. Children with all disabilities are welcome, as well as parents, siblings and grandparents.

New Ball Exhibits at the JMZ
October 8, 2021
New Ball Exhibits at the JMZ Whether rolling balls or bouncing balls, balls are irresistible fun to kids! That’s why the original ball machine was such a popular and memorable feature of the old museum.

Exhibit Spotlight: The Treehouse
July 8, 2021
One of the most exciting features of the new Junior Museum & Zoo will undoubtedly be the new state-of-the-art treehouse. The JMZ’s Executive Director, John Aikin, and Exhibits Director, Tina Keegan, gave the Friends the inside scoop on all that went into designing this amazing new outdoor feature. Read on to learn more about what will surely.

Admissions Fee Update 2
June 24, 2021
We are pleased to share that last night the Palo Alto City Council adopted the Finance Committee’s recommendation and lowered the JMZ admission fee from $18 to $10. Over the past year, the Friends have worked tirelessly to ensure that the JMZ reopens with a ticket price that makes the JMZ as affordable and accessible.

JMZ Exhibits
May 24, 2021
Exhibit ideas come from many places. Developers and designers find inspiration at other museums, zoos, parks and public places, in books, from nature, and from creative people such as artists, scientists, teachers, friends and of course, our visitors. We spend time watching children play and explore. We observe how caregivers interact with children and support.

The Junior Museum Goes Virtual
April 1, 2021
Since 1999, the Friends of the Palo Alto Junior Museum and Zoo has addressed inequality in education through our Science Outreach Program.  Through this program the Friends provide funding to JMZ educators to go into elementary schools in East Palo Alto and eastern Menlo Park to teach the same STEM science lessons they teach in Palo Alto.

Flamingos at the New Junior Museum & Zoo
February 1, 2021
As we shared at the end of last year, our flamingos are settling nicely into their new home at the Palo Alto Junior Museum & Zoo.This month, JMZ Executive Director John Aikin takes us behind-the-scenes to teach us even more about these unique animals! Go Behind-the-Scenes We can’t wait to share the new JMZ with you.

Sneak Peak into the New Junior Museum & Zoo
December 1, 2020
If you have driven by the Junior Museum & Zoo recently, you have probably wondered what’s been going with construction of the new museum and zoo! We are lucky that we’ve been able to push along construction, even with all of the obstacles that COVID-19 brings.

Tickled Pink
October 1, 2020
I recall the first time that I hand-fed a flamingo because it was an extraordinary experience. As I stepped into the flamingo enclosure at the San Diego Zoo, I was struck by how impressively tall the birds were as they stood right next to me – my heart fluttered. I was handed a clear plastic cup of water.

Interview with Zookeeper Lee
September 1, 2020
The CZU Lightning Complex wildfires have had a profound impact on the lives of Bay Area residents, especially those who were forced to evacuate. The evacuation orders affected not only people but also their animals, including large animals such as horses, donkeys, and llamas. Our Animal Ambassador, Lee Harper, has spent the past few weeks sheltered.



Upgraded facility provides sensory experience for people of all abilities
November 15, 2021
The $33 million facility includes an expanded zoo and a hands-on science museum for kids.

It’s back! Expanded Junior Museum and Zoo to reopen on Nov. 12
October 29, 2021
Upgraded facility provides sensory experience for people of all abilities.

Palo Alto City Council Green Lights Construction of the New Palo Alto Junior Museum & Zoo
February 6, 2018
Palo Alto City Council has approved the construction of the new JMZ facility, including approving a construction management agreement between the City of Palo Alto and the Friends of the Palo Alto Junior Museum & Zoo (Friends).

The Peery Foundation and Local Community Raise $25 Million to Build a new Palo Alto Junior Museum & Zoo Junior
February 9, 2017
The Palo Alto Junior Museum & Zoo (JMZ) will be re-imagined and rebuilt, thanks to a $15 million matching grant from the Peery Foundation and $10 million in private donations from local donors.