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San Antonio Zoo Celebrates 100 Years

San Antonio Zoo Celebrates 100 Years

In 1914, Woodrow Wilson was the president of the United States, popular music was ragtime, jazz, and the blues, and we drove around in a “Tin Lizzie,” a Ford Model T touring car. 1914 was an exciting year in many regards, but it would come to be a monumental year for the San Antonio Zoo.  That year, Colonel George W. Brackenridge deeded a scenic plot of land to the City of San Antonio for the public viewing of elk, buffalo, deer, several monkeys, two lions, and four bears.  Thanks to the visionaries of that era, that small plot of land has grown to 56 acres and is home to over 9,000 animals of 750 species.  They did well to preserve all that nature and the good will of Colonel Brackenridge had to offer.


     The San Antonio Zoo has experienced many exciting groundbreaking opportunities in its’ first 100 years.  Just after the San Antonio Zoological Society was formed in 1928, the introduction of revolutionary cageless exhibits and rare animals quickly transformed the San Antonio Zoo into one of the leading zoos in the nation; a position it proudly maintains to this day.

The zoo is a place where families come to relax and enjoy themselves, where memories are made, and where imaginations run wild. Where else can you see the world’s largest reptiles, hear the haunting calls of gibbons swinging high in the sky, watch an okapi pluck leaves with its foot-long tongue, or meet a hippo face to face?


     From its work with whooping cranes that began in the 1950s, to a partnership with Texas Parks & Wildlife in supporting the endangered Attwater’s prairie chicken in the 1990s, the zoo has an established history of Texas conservation.

Overall, the zoo participates in over 230 endangered species programs and plays a major role in breeding endangered animals worldwide.


     Today, new exhibits are just as groundbreaking as those unveiled in the 1920s. Consider the underwater viewing and immersive experience of Africa Live! Phase I, the lush vegetation and sky-high aviary of Africa Live! Phase II, or the spacious and natural habitat of Gibbon Forest. This year the Zoo launches Zootennial Plaza, which includes a one-of-a-kind, 50-foot carousel that displays meticulously hand-painted animal figurines, such as a whooping crane, horned lizard, and even a Texas Jackelope.  The plaza also boasts a beautiful, state-of-the-art restaurant, complete with an Executive Chef, a first for the San Antonio Zoo, and an elegant VIP room.


     One hundred years later and looking into the future, the San Antonio Zoo provides the highest standard of care for its animal and plant collection, a diverse educational and high quality recreational experience, and all the resources at its disposal for conservation of the Earth’s flora and fauna.

  For more information, visit the San Antonio Zoo online at


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