We visited the San Antonio Zoo for the first time yesterday. We got there at opening time (very necessary if you want to see most of the animals active) and didn't have to worry about crowds for the first hour or so.
It's got a very nice layout, and although not the largest zoo, it makes very good use of the space to showcase a lot of animals without feeling cramped. Due to construction and expansion, one can definitely see that there's the "new" section and there the "old" section. The Africa Live project is really nice.
Of particular interest to my wife and I are the bear exhibits. Side by Side, we are treated to the Spectacled Bear, the American Black Bear, and the Grizzly Bear. They are usually most active in the mornings (again, it pays to get there early), but we got a very animated performance from the Grizzly for about 10 minutes or so around the 3:00pm hour.
There is a full list of the animals on the website. But here's why this is a great outing in San Antonio.
1. It has a great walking layout. You get some exercise and San Antonio Weather is nice enough most days to make for a good zoo day.
2. They are open 365 days a year.
3. Parking is free.
4. Admission is only $10 and if you look around, you can usually find a $1 or $2 coupon good for your entire party.
5. Food and drink prices are exceptionally reasonable.
6. If you are only visiting San Antonio, you can see the entire zoo if you go faster than just a leisurely stroll. There's plenty of time for other activities for that day.
We were so impressed, we decided to purchase season tickets and apply our day's admission to that cost. $65 for an annual family pass is a great deal.
This is one of the best zoos. Also, the surrounding areas are beautiful, especially Brackenridge Park, the Sunken Gardens (a Japanese-style rock and flower garden with huge goldfish), and the San Antonio River. The river originates at springs nearby.
Brackenridge Park, near the San Antonio Zoo, is a lovely urban park where you can see the headwaters of the San Antonio River. The river begins at a small spring. Another favorite attraction is the cable cars, which take the visitor across the park, affording a spectacular view of the city skyline and surrounding areas. Of course, it's also the perfect spot for a picnic, and for the kids to play.
The San Antonio zoo seems to be a more intimate zoo than most. While relatively large, the animals are close; so close, in fact, there is more than one opportunity to reach out and touch an animal or feed one (against the rules).
One of the several highlights of the zoo is the rhino area. They may stink, but they seem to be pretty domesticated and willing to get close. They also appear to be willing to eat from the hands of zoo visitors.
The main attraction, however, is the wide assortment of birds at the zoo. In one area, near the "peak" of the zoo, there is an environment perfect for birds to fly freely, and the netted-in setting allows for the feeling of the woods or jungle. Be careful; the birds will dive bomb mercilessly...just be aware of where you are sitting.
Zoo is located in Brackenridge Park, just north of the downtown CBD.
A great way to pass the morning, or the whole day. The childrens zoo area has been redone and is geared towards families with children under 5 yrs old. One of the best chlidrens areas I've ever seen at a zoo.
Gen Admission $8 per adult
A nice sized zoo that is in the process of being up-dated and up-graded. They have a section where Australian lorries (a species of parrot) fly free and for $1 you can buy a small cup of nectar. You go into the enclosure, open the cup, and, Viola! there are half dozen lorries on your hand, arm, head, etc. looking for a drink.
There is also a butterfly enclosure.
Admission: Adults $8, children 3-11, $6.
And there is a $1 off p/person coupon you can download from their website.
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