Traveling the winding ranch road to Hearst Castle, guests once passed through fenced fields populated with many species of exotic wild animals freely roaming over the hillsides as though they were native to this land. It was an amazing sight, featuring an ever-changing collection of animals—like American bison, Rocky Mountain elk and zebras.
At the time, William Randolph Hearst owned the largest private zoo in the world. In a letter to the estate’s architect Julia Morgan, Hearst stated that he wanted his guests to feel as though they were driving through an area populated by exotic animals in their natural state, not a zoo.
Today, zebras can still be seen grazing on the castle's land from Highway 1.
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