The big city of classical trends and places, Texas, has always been famous for the natural heritage that has been here. Multiple zoos, parks, and scenic attractions are found in this state of United States where people from all over the world visit. Texas could be your next big stop as a tour destination.
If you ever visit Texas, make sure you visit the Abilene Zoo which is famous for the greenery and rare animals. Read the following article to learn more about the Abilene Zoo.
Overview – Abilene Zoological Gardens
The Abilene Zoological Garden is a small zoo located in Abilene district of Texas that was first opened to the public in 1966. It is built on a total area of 16 acres only. Although this may be very large for several states, it is small for Texas because Texas has a bigger zoo named the Cameron Zoo in the Waco district.
The Abilene Zoo has over 1000 animals of the 250 different species. In addition to that, it has more than 300,000 visitors every year. The Abilene Zoological Gardens have been a member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums from 1985. The Zoo has been funded by the Abilene Zoological Society under the City of Abilene.
History – Abilene Zoo
There was not much renovation or improvements in the Abilene Zoo before 2006. As a result, it had deteriorated much. One of the main reasons for this was the extra focus by the authorities over the Cameron Zoo in Texas. Nonetheless, in the year 2006, a $1.1 million was raised through a bond for the improvements of the Zoo. There were different types of renovations such as improvements in Parking, expansion in Giraffe Cage, Jogging Tracks, Boardwalk, and initiation of the Creepy Crawly Centre.
The Zoo faced a controversy in 2007 when an elephant died aged 49 years. It was alleged that the conditions at this zoo were not appropriate for elephants. As a result, the elephant exhibit was closed and an exhibit for black rhinoceroses was opened up. A further $3.7 million was invested in the Zoo for the Adventure Center. The wolf exhibit was opened up in 2008.
The post-2009 period is considered better for Abilene Zoo since this was the year when the majority of the issues at the Zoo were addressed such as lack of vets, medical facilities for animals, and quarantine centers. Most recently, there is a Caribbean Cove section opened in the zoo which has different types of reptiles and animals from Caribbean Countries.
Abilene Zoo Fees
Just like the Cameron Zoo in Waco, the Abilene Zoo has a fee structure divided among three different categories. The charges for Adults that are aged between 13 and 59 are charged a onetime fee of $8 for the whole day. The children category is for ages 3 to 12 and costs $7. The Abilene Zoo is free for all children aged below 2 years. Those who are not a resident of Abilene can easily get a discount voucher as well from the following link.
The Abilene Zoo Address is “2070 Zoo Ln, Abilene , Texas, 76902”. The timings of the zoo are 9am to 5pm daily but the last admission is at 4 pm. If you want to fully explore the zoo, you just need a bare one or two hours. In June, July, and August, the zoo is open on Thursdays between 9am to 9pm while the last admission is at 8.30 pm. Make sure that you don’t visit the zoo on special holidays such as Christmas, Thanksgiving, and New Year’s Day.
Exhibits to Visit
If you are a wildlife enthusiast, you would find it interesting to visit the Adventure Center. The administration is present over here. This is a place for the different types of educational programs and a store for zoo souvenirs. Wildlife Photographers can get a special permission from the Adventure Centre for professionally monitored close range photography.
The Giraffe Safari is also one of the coolest exhibits with the tallest animals on the planet. Some of the rare African breeds are also held here. There is a bridge over there where visitors can go and feed the giraffes as well. After the renovation, the Giraffe Exhibit was doubled in its original size.
The Reptile house is also another one of the great exhibits at the zoo and contains about 80 species of reptiles and amphibians. For those who are interested in wildlife, they will love this part.
Wetlands of America
There are Wetlands of America as well. This is an exhibit which allows the visitors to see the wetland exhibits at the zoo. There are a range of wetland animals that include alligators, flamingos, and Atwater’s Prairie Chicken. Nakuru Lagoon is also nearby which has more of the African birds. It has the yellow billed ducks as the center of attention for the visitors. This is a relatively newer exhibit which was made operational in March 2018.
Lastly, don’t miss out on the Caribbean Cove if you want to specially view the wildlife from South America such as Macaw Parrots, Monkeys, and different types of amphibians. The Caribbean Cove gives a look of its name with a large sand base area designed for kids to play around.
There is a proper seating available over here for the elders as well. If you want to view the other kind of birds, you need to visit The Tropical Aviary which is specially designed to suit the needs of different types of tropical birds. Multiple other bird gardens are also present at the Abilene zoo.
Facilities at the Zoo
For elderly, you can get yourself a wheelchair arranged but make sure that you come here early since these are allotted on a first-come, first-serve basis. There is a dedicated customer relation office at the zoo which is a single spot for all the customer queries. One can also find the Lost and Found section near to it. In case you are coming to the zoo for the first time, a map might come in handy
A gift shop is also present at the Adventure Centre. At different places of the zoo, there are eating spots where you can get snack items and enjoy your tour. However, feeding the wildlife except for Giraffes is strictly prohibited. Even the giraffes are fed their own food for the low charges of $5.
The Zoo also has a Safari Train for the children as well as adults that gives you a closer view of some of the best animals at the zoo while it also gives you an almost complete round of the zoo. The Watering Hole Concession stand is also an important point that many visitors visit for taking pictures against the view.
Special Events at the Zoo
At times of special national events such as Christmas, there are special events held at the zoo for a bare additional charge. The Christmas hallmark event is held usually a week before Christmas where the whole zoo’s theme is turned into a Christmas one. There is a professional ice sculpture show as well as Walk to Bethlehem with a live nativity that gives the authentic Christmas experience to the visitors. Decor such as the big Christmas tree is also upheld in the Zoo.
Over 25,000 lights are added to the zoo for this period. Moreover, there is a live music session throughout the night. Special winter beverages such as hot chocolate and coffee are also there.
When should I go to the Zoo?
For those who are coming with families, it is recommended to come along during the weekdays. This is because the weekends are often rushy and you might not be able to fully enjoy your experience owing to the rush. However, in case you plan for a weekend, it is recommended to go before 1pm since there is reduced rush. Those who want a high level of adventure and enjoyment should plan their visit in June, July, and August when the Zoo is open for 12 hours.
Important Things to Note
There are certain set of principles and guidelines which have to be followed else you might be barred from entry in the zoo. Firstly, pets of any kind are not allowed at the zoo for the safety of the visitors as well as the wildlife. Keeping them in the parking lot is also prohibited and may lead to impounding of your car. Other prohibited items include glass-based dishware, and alcohol as well. If you violate any of the mentioned principles, it could lead to a fine as well.
The Abilene Zoo is one of the best places you could visit in Texas. There are plenty of interesting activities that you can enjoy at this zoo. The best time to enjoy over here would be the upcoming month of December when the Christmas hallmark event will be held while the timings of the zoo might also be extended. We hope you enjoy your tour.
If you have a plan to visit a bigger zoo, you should visit the Dallas Zoo.