Meet Clarence the 85 Year Old Galapagos Tortoise at Moorpark College's America's Teaching Zoo


The Exotic Animal Training and Management Program was established at Moorpark College in 1974. Since then, hundreds of students have graduated from the program. Over 150 wild, exotic animals now live on a five acre site overlooking Moorpark College in what is called "America's Teaching Zoo."

The Zoo is open every weekend from 11 am to 5 pm and admission is only $8 for adults, $6 for kids 2 and up and seniors (as of September 2015). Some of the animals you'll encounter are a water buffalo, reptiles, exotic birds, monkeys, lemurs, bobcats, baboons, hyenas, lions and much more.  You'll enjoy the animal shows led by zookeepers in training and live carnivore feeding demonstrations.

One of my family's favorites is Clarence the Galapagos Tortoise. The Galapagos Tortoise is the largest living tortoise, originating from the Galapagos Islands off the coast of South America. Clarence happily weighs in around 500 lbs and seems quite content living in Moorpark.  He is pretty friendly.

Here is an updated photo of Clarence at age 90 in 2015...looking good!

Here is an updated photo of Clarence at age 90 in 2015...looking good!

Clarence we discovered is about 85 years old and originally came to this country in 1928 on an expedition by C. H. Townsend, Director of the New York Aquarium, along with 107 of his buddies, in an effort to help save this critically endangered species. Clarence lived for awhile at the Houston Zoo and later moved to the L.A. Zoo. He has been on indefinite loan to America's Teaching Zoo since 2001. Amazingly, Clarence is expected to live another 100 years or so! (Must be his healthy vegan diet or something!)

So stop by and say hello to Clarence and his pals at America's Teaching Zoo. This is not a fancy zoo, but the students, faculty and staff of Ventura County's only zoo love what they do and you will enjoy checking it out, with or without the kids.

Clarence the Tortoise 2015 Close Up