The Oakland Zoo offers a different experience than the larger San Francisco Zoo across the bay. For small children, the Oakland Zoo offers a more manageable experience since the exhibits are smaller and closer together. For example, the giraffes at the Oakland Zoo are confined to a large dirt lot instead of the gigantic savanna. The children see the giraffes without having to walk through a giant exhibit. I don’t know how the giraffes feel about it.
Like the San Francisco Zoo, the Oakland Zoo is a zoo in transition with some older exhibits and some more recent ones. The newer children’s zoo offers shows and interactive exhibits. You will have a wonderful time at either zoo.