When Andrea Blomberg became executive director of The Texas Zoo a couple of years ago, she was disappointed that it took her only 20 minutes to walk around and see all the exhibits. After those 20 minutes, the zoo experience was basically over.
“I knew something needed to be done to improve the visitor experience at The Texas Zoo, so improvements have already been made and will continue to be made,” Blomberg says. “Now we have become a little zoo with lots to do.”
The zoo added a Lion exhibit in 2010, as well as a redesigned the Animal Kingdom building that provides up-close viewing of a large array of reptiles, birds and small mammals. There is also a paleontology dig site inside the Animal Kingdom building where parents can first download worksheets from the zoo’s website, then the kids can get involved in scavenger hunts and other activities. Other new additions include a Birds of Prey exhibit, a small pirmate exhibit, scheduled zookeeper chats, repitle shows and a petting zoo where children can get in and engage with the animals instead of just feeding them from outside an enclosure.
The zoo serves the entire Golden Crescent area, but we are also starting to draw people from Houston, San Antonio, Corpus Christi and other parts of Texas.
Conservation, Education Remain the Focus
The Texas Zoo was officially established in 1976 on six acres of Riverside Park along the Guadalupe River. In 1984, the Texas Legislature recognized the zoo's contributions to wildlife conservation and proclaimed it “The National Zoo of Texas,” and today it houses a wide variety of animals that are native to Texas as well as exotic species from around the world. The South Texas Zoological Society oversees operations of The Texas Zoo and their board advocates conservation and education.
“We connect people with wildlife and inspire caring for nature,” Blomberg says. “Have you touched a snake or held a bear's skull in your hands? You can here. There is much to do at The Texas Zoo.”
In total, there are 150 animals on display and visitors can easily view all of the animals, as opposed to many larger zoos that don't have convenient visitor access points.
“We have animals such as the armadillo, river otter, prairie dog, alligators and many varieties of snakes, plus endangered species like the red wolf and ocelots,” Blomberg says. “We also have exotic animals that include Bengal tigers of Asia, Hamadryas baboons of Africa, cotton-top tamarins from South America and lemurs of Madagascar.”
Admission to The Texas Zoo is $4.50 for seniors 55 and above; $6 for adults 13 and above; $5 children 12 and under; $5 active/retired military with ID; and free admission for toddlers 2 and under. Hours are daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas and New Year's Day.)
Read about more fun things to do in Victoria, TX.