The San Antonio Zoo

A Brief History of the San Antonio Zoo

The San Antonio Zoo is a non-profit organization that is run by the City of San Antonio. It is located in Brackenridge Park. The zoo has been accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) since 1980. It is home to over 3,500 animals representing 650 species.

The zoo first opened its doors to the public on Easter Sunday, April 27, 1914. It was originally known as the San Antonio TX Municipal Zoo and was open year-round. In those early days, the zoo only had a small number of animals on display including alligators, peacocks, deer, raccoons, owls, and squirrels.

In 1926, the zoo underwent a major expansion. More animals were added to the collection and new buildings were constructed. Among the new additions were lions, tigers, bears, and elephants. The zoo also built a new hospital and research laboratory.

The 1950s brought even more changes to the zoo. A new bird house was built and a primate area was added. A children’s petting zoo was also constructed during this time period. In 1956, the name of the zoo was changed to the San Antonio Zoological Gardens.

During the 1960s, Brackenridge Park underwent a renovation which resulted in the construction of a new entrance gate for the zoo as well as a parking garage. New exhibits were also added during this time including an aviary, reptile house, and amphibian house.
Panda exhibit in 1978 In 1978, the first giant panda ever born in captivity outside of China was born at the San Antonio Zoo. Her name was Ling-Ling and she quickly became one of the biggest attractions at the zoo.
Ling-Ling died in 1992 but her legacy lived on. In 2000, two more giant pandas arrived at the San Antonio Zoo from China – Bai Yun and her cub Xiao Liwu. They are still living at the zoo today along with two other pandas – Le Le and Ya Ya.
The San Antonio Zoo continues to grow and evolve. In recent years, new exhibits such as Africa Live! And Elephant Springs have been added. The future looks bright for this historic zoo!

The San Antonio Zoo has come a long way since it first opened its doors to the public back in 1914. What started out as a small collection of animals has grown into an expansive facility that is home to over 3,500 animals representing 650 species from all over the world. The next time you’re looking for something fun to do in San Antonio, be sure to check out this wonderful zoo!

Want to get out and become one with nature?  You could progress further along the oneness trail with a visit to the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park

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