Putting the Wild in Your Life

Written by Randy Watson

The San Antonio Zoo is sponsoring a petting zoo that will be running until early 2008.  This exhibit is a barnyard-themed affair, with plenty of seating, assistance, and lots of \"hands-on\" experience. It\'s a great, educational exhibit for children of all ages can come into contact strange and exciting animals, such as an Africal Pygmy goat. The petting zoo is open from 9 AM-6PM.

The San Antonio Zoo began under fairly non-descript circumstances, with Col. George W. Brackenridge showing a few animals in San Pedro Park in 1914.  He eventually deeded to the city the land now known as Brackenridge Park, and the zoo was soon built.  From these humble beginnings, the zoo has prospered into a fine center for education, enjoyment, and conservation.  Not only is the zoo a place to enjoy seeing rare animals, but the zoo itself features innovative ideas on how to keep animals confined without bars. . .the Barless Bear Terraces, and the Primate Paradise are examples of this innovation.

The Hixon Bird House, opened in 1966, features a recreated tropical rain forest, as well as free-flying birds.  The bird collection here is one of the largest and diverse in the world.  Here one can see Ostriches, Chilean flamingos, Egyptian geese, Australian wood ducks, Congo peacocks, Malayan peacock pheasant, Inca terns, and Hyacinth macaws, just to name a very few.

For those interested in amphibians and reptiles, San Antonio Zoo features a vast array of animals both from here in south Texas, and around the world.  Turtle and snake lovers will be especially interested in visiting the aquarium to catch glimpses of such fascinating animals as the African bush viper, Kenya horned viper, East African green mamba, Angolan python, Crocodile monitor, Red Spitting Cobra, Mexican alligator lizard, Malaysian painted terrapin, and Komodo dragon.

The Zoo is set up with exhibits based on certain natural areas found in the world.  African Plains is built around the idea of the watering hole, and shows how animals congregate around the common need for water.  Here the visitor is likely to see zebra, giraffes, antelope, ducks, and gazelles.  Amazonia is patterned after the huge tropical forest of the Americas, and features many monkeys, small cats, sloths, anteaters, reptiles, and birds.  Many rare tropical plants that have been confiscated from smugglers are on display here.

For sheer beauty and tranquility, a trip to see Butterflies! should not be missed.  There are around 20 species of butterflies on display in the garden and many visitors are delighted to find that these beautiful, inquisitive creatures will land on their hands or shirts.  These fragile creatures are indeed nature’s works of art!  The Gibbon Forest is a chance to see and learn about gibbons, the link between lesser apes and chimps and gorillas.  These interesting creatures are endangered, and this display explains how the zoo is taking part in conserving these beautiful creatures.

The San Antonio Zoo is open 365 days a year, in the summer from 9AM-6PM, and in the winter from 9AM-5PM.

Admission pricing is:

Members: FREE
Adults: $9.00
Military Discount $1 Off
Senior Citizens 62 and over: $7.00
Children 3 - 11 yrs: $7.00
Children ages 2 and under: FREE
Handicapped 3 -14 yrs: $4.50
Handicapped 15 yrs and up: $6.00
Parking: FREE