The Austin Zoo

Actually it is called the Austin Zoo and Sanctuary, with a heavy emphasis on the sanctuary.  If you are used to a big elaborate zoo, as I am having grown up near the one in Detroit, then you need to adjust your expectations.  Many of the animals are on in their years.  Picture blind tigers, balding monkeys, lots of farm animals and birds, a train, small enclosures, and dirt pathways.  All that said, you may be surprised to hear I LOVE the Austin Zoo and here’s why . . .

The Good:  Unlike other zoos where it can be sad to see animals in their prime confined within their exhibits, at the Austin Zoo you see old, sometimes ailing, animals enjoying a cushy retirement.  You see tigers that would probably have died if still in the wild but instead are served daily buckets of raw meat which they can digest as they laze beneath the shade of a tree.  And, of course, the whole zoo isn’t a senior citizen home, last year they welcomed rescued baby bears!  In short, the zoo is small and charming … and young kids don’t notice the difference anyway.  Plus instead of being a whole day excursion like the big zoos, you can see the Austin Zoo in a couple hours.

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The Not-So-Good:  If your expectations are for a big flashy zoo, you will be out of luck.  Also if you have a specific animal you want to see, the Austin Zoo, being as small as it is, may not have it.

Overall:  The Austin Zoo is very Austin-y – quaint, quirky, and has lots of personality.

Website:  http://austinzoo.org/

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