Jun 23

Austin Zoo – Texas

Bear enclosure
Austin Zoo is not your typical zoo and would be more suitably called a sanctuary.  It takes in unwanted exotic animals and gives them a place to live.  We have been to other animal sanctuaries and support them in what they do.  However, when I tell my 5-year-old we are going to a zoo she expects a certain type of visit. Unfortunately, I did not know enough about the Austin Zoo to fully explain to my family what we were about to see on our visit.
Feeding the AnimalsYou might be wondering what is the difference between an animal sanctuary and a zoo.  Well in my experience a zoo especially the more modern up to date ones try to have natural enclosures. Try to provide bar-less viewing of their animals.     Of course, they are more able to do this through a variety of public and private funding.  An animal sanctuary tends to take in unwanted exotic animals and take care of them the best they can.  Most are just privately funded and have old fashioned chain link and bar enclosures.
Shell to shell
Animal sanctuaries fulfill a real need due to peoples selfishness.  A tiger cub is real cute until it becomes too expensive, dangerous, or too large to keep.   Then many times that leads to abusive conditions for the animal so a place like the Austin Zoo becomes the animals last chance at refuge.  I applaud the work that they do.  I just wish they would call themselves something different, to me they are not a zoo.
Little Monkey
Overall, our visit started out a little disappointing, but once figuring out what the Austin Zoo is all about we enjoyed our trip.  My wife and I more than our little girls.  Mainly because we understood the mission behind the place.  It is now home to 300 animals from 100 different species.  Many retired from other facilities due to age, health or other issues, unwanted exotic pets, and retired lab animals. Here they get a chance at some quality care and a better life. Like I said the people running the Austin Zoo are doing good work.
Austin Zoo
At the time of our visit the Austin Zoo was comprised of 15 acres with 34 main enclosures. Among its collection is a variety of small primates, birds, and reptiles.  As well as big exotic animals like lions, tigers, and bears.  My children’s favorite zone was their farm area where they had the opportunity to feed a variety of animals.  The zoo has additional 40 acres of space with the plans to keep growing.
Little Ducky
Keep in mind the mission behind the Austin Zoo when visiting.  State of the art million dollar enclosures and not going to be found at this zoo.  What will be seen is a second chance at life for some animals, many of whom did not have much of one to begin with.

To see our reviews of other Texas attractions, click here

Austin Zoo
Located at 10807 Rawhide Trl, Austin, Texas
Hours of Operation Daily 9:30 to 6:00 closes 30 minutes earlier during Nov, Dec, and Jan
Cost as of this Posting Adults 13 to 59 $11, Seniors 60 and over $10 and Children 2 to 12 $8
For more information visit their website at http://austinzoo.org/

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