In This Issue
Rufus Turns 20
Stump Garden and Front Entrance
Summer Class Schedule
Superfamily Sunday
Club JMZ Corner
Donor Spotlight
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 Rufus the Bobcat Turns 20!
On May 4th Club JMZ celebrated a milestone birthday for one
Rufus the Bobcat
of its oldest (and furriest) family members: Rufus the Bobcat!


Rufus not only turned 20, but it also marked the twentieth year that he's been with the JMZ. First brought to the JMZ at five weeks old, Rufus was acquired by the zoo to educate the public about wild cats after a series of mountain lion attacks in Southern California in 1994.


Rufus was bottled-fed and hand-raised by Zoo Director Rob Steele, often going home for the night with Rob and other zoo employees. For the first year and a half of his lifeRufus made the rounds to schools and community programs, educating students and families about bobcats (Felis rufus).


Nowadays, Rufus lives a leisurely life in a new bobcat habitat (built in 2010) with his partner of 12 years, Tule. The natural habitat is a comfortable setting for the cats, where they often supplement their specially-prepared diets with birds and mice that wander into the enclosure.


Rufus and Tule were both born in captivity at Lynx Lair in Tehachapi, California, and Rufus represents the third generation of his line born at the breeding center.


Although Rufus' actual birthday was on May 2nd, the belated May 4th celebration included a photo montage of Rufus and a special 'bobcat-only cake' made of ground meat, chicken hearts, quail wings and rat tails - a cake thoroughly enjoyed by the birthday boy!


Zookeeper L. Lee Harper and Rufus' birthday cake



Stump Garden and Front Entrance Facelift
Mixing mud for the cob bench


The JMZ's front entrance and Stump Garden are getting a facelift! Since February, Tina Keegan, Exhibits Director, has been working with volunteers to make the front of the museum and zoo more engaging and accessible.


One of the main projects has been the building of a cob bench - a bench made of mud - in front of the JMZ. Volunteers from all over the community, including Stanford football players and children and their parents, have helped to mix mud and build the seat and back of the bench. The cob bench and its roof should be complete by the end of May - stay tuned for updates!

We're also improving other areas of the entrance. These projects include: 

  • More stumps for the Stump Garden
  • A wheelchair accessible, decomposed granite pathway from the Stump Garden to Rinconada Park, plus wheelchair parking next to the Stump Garden
  • Additional bike parking! An additional twelve parking spots for bikes will be added thanks to a grant from Bay Area Air Quality Management District
  • New plants along the fence and Stump Garden

We're working hard to complete the entire facelift by the end of June. Stop by to see our progress - and of course, to check-out all of the fun exhibits and zoo animals.


Exhibits Director, Tina Keegan, and helpers making the cob bench



Summer Schedule of Classes

Summer 2014 Camps

The museum and zoo is offering fun, educational camps for the summer. For full camp descriptions, a list of all the camps, or to enroll, please visit, or inquire at the front desk of the JMZ. 


Camp Chronos

Time travel through science, from the dawn of time to the modern era. From early tools to modern inventions, explore great scientific discoveries from Cro-Magnons to Copernicus. Build tools, investigate historic clocks and calendars, create power with wind turbines and solar energy and learn how to creatively problem-solve with science.


5 classes$379R/$433NRStern Community Room16 maximum
10173rd-4th GradesM-F, 6/23-6/279am-2:30pm


Camp Oceana

Investigate the mysteries of the deep. Learn about underwater volcanoes and mountains, ocean creatures and plants, and things that sparkle in the darkest parts of the sea.


5 classes$379R/$433NRJMZ - Science Lab 116 maximum
2127K-2nd GradesM-F, 7/21-7/259am-2:30pm
2129K-2nd GradesM-F, 8/4-8/89am-2:30pm


Bay Camp

Come spend a week discovering our very own Salt Marsh! Each day we will have a different theme to explore though engaging activities. You will be a fisherman and a scientist, traverse Byxbee Park, and paddle the Baylands sloughs in canoes for a closer look at the plants and birds.


4 classes$308R/$351NRBaylands Nature Center16 maximum
1681K - 2nd GradesM-Th, 6/30-7/39am-2:30pm

No camp July 4th.


5 classes$373R/$427NRBaylands Nature Center16 maximum
16933rd-4th GradesM-F, 7/7-7/119am-2:30pm
1694K-2nd GradesM-F, 7/21-7/259am-2:30pm
16723rd-4th GradesM-F, 8/4-8/89am-2:30pm


To register, or to learn information about other summer camps, please inquire at the front desk of the Junior Museum & Zoo or visit






Superfamily Sunday

Club JMZ Corner: Event Recap
A great time was had by all at Club JMZ's latest event, Wild Mothers: An Event Celebrating the Nature of Nurturing.


Highlights from this fun-filled event on May 4th include:


Young naturalists watch a bearded dragon
  • Visits from turtles, snakes, frogs, lizards and more from the Bay Area Animal Rescue Society (BAARS) and the California Turtle and Tortoise Club


  • An extra special visit from a mother sheep and lamb, which kids were able to to pet and hold


  • A celebration of the Rufus the Bobcat's 20th birthday! While Rufus got his own 'cake' made of chicken hearts, quail wings and rat-tails, guests enjoyed a cake of the human variety


  • A breakfast provided by our wonderful sponsors: Lucky's, Hobee's Restaurants, Izzy's Brooklyn Bagels and Peet's Coffee & Tea on Homer Ave.


  • Flowers for children to share with the moms in their life and special Rufus coloring sheets to take home  
Our visiting sheep make new friends

Donor Spotlight

Founded in 1962, Friends of the Palo Alto Junior Museum and Zoo is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting and enhancing the Palo Alto Junior Museum and Zoo. Our public/private partnership with the City of Palo Alto provides family with a creative and nurturing environment for kids to learn about science. Thank you for your continued support!



Board of Directors, Friends of the Palo Alto Junior Museum & Zoo