The Amarillo Zoo, in beautiful Amarillo, Texas, is a fun and educational opportunity for the whole family. With over 150 different animals from nearly 90 different species, visitors should plan on spending the entire day with the animals located on the grounds.
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The zoo was founded in 1955, with just a duck pond. A few years later, in 1957, the storybook themed barnyard exhibits were added and the zoo as it is now known was born! Originally 2.5 acres, it eventually has expanded and now occupies over 14 acres and welcomes more than 200,000 guests ever year through its gates. The Amarillo Zoo plans to continue its expansion, adding a Children’s Zoo in the next few years as well.
Permanent Attractions and Habitats
Primarily, the main attractions at the Amarillo Zoo are the many different types of animals that are located there. In fact, the zoo boasts an impressive list of more than 150 different animals that come from 88 separate species from all over the world!
· Mammals- The mammals are the biggest draw of the animals at the zoo, mainly because they are so much fun to watch! Guests enjoy the big cats (African lions and Bengal Tigers), the small but feisty animals (Black-footed ferrets, grey foxes, and domestic rabbits), the monkey/apes (Black Handed Spider Monkeys and Ring-tailed lemurs), and other favorites (like the Bison, goats, and Texas Longhorns).
· Reptiles- The creepy crawly critters in the reptile category are another guest favorite. Check out the tortoises, turtles, and snakes (ball pythons, boas, and bull snakes) as well as other rarer reptiles like the crested gecko and the Uromastyx. The best part, for guests who may be squeamish about this type of animal, is that they are all safely enclosed.
· Birds- From the colorful to the talkative, the Amarillo Zoo offers a variety of beautiful and interesting birds for guests to see during their visit, like the African Grey Parrot, a collection of Macaws (Blue, Gold, and Green Winged) and more!
· Amphibians- Although not always the most excited animals at the zoo, the amphibians are not to be missed. See the toads and salamanders in all their glory!
· Invertebrates- The most controversial of the animals at the zoo are often the invertebrates, which guests seem to either love or hate. View the deadly black widow spider (safely behind glass), the emperor scorpion, and the tarantula all at no risk to guest safety. It may be a once in a lifetime opportunity!
Guests should make sure to check out the tips located on the Amarillo Zoo’s interactive website prior to their visit. Some of the helpful tips including bringing binoculars with during a visit, which lets children go on a fun “safari” while also making it much easier to see some of the animals that live in the larger habitats (like the Bison).
There also are suggested scavenger hunts for visitors to take part in and checking out the Zoofari Cart (located all over the zoo) which offer visitors a chance to get more interactive with their learning while at the zoo.
The Amarillo Zoo hosts a variety of special events on their premises. One of the family favorites is the annual egg hunt, called Easter Egg-citement, which is hosted around Easter every year. This event lets families enjoy the fun along with all the animals who call the zoo home.
There are enrichment activities including eggs for the animals, games, and crafts for the kids, and over 17,000 beautifully colored Easter eggs for the whole family to find! The event is included with general zoo admission and it is recommended for children to bring their own baskets to keep things “green”!
Also, although not a special “event,” the zoo is offering half price admission on Mondays. This allows guests on a budget to be able to see the zoo, while also helping provide revenue that helps the zoo expand.
Check the website to see if there are any other events offered during the days the visit is planned as they are always adding more exciting and different options!
Dining and Shopping
The Amarillo Zoo offers concessions for guests who get hungry during their visit. Grab some nachos, a slice of pizza, a hot dog, or even some ice cream to tame even the biggest appetite. They also offer a school lunch program for students to have a school lunch during their field trip. For visitors who want to bring home a souvenir, there is the wittily named Zoovenir stand with toys, books, stuffed animals, and artwork.
700 Comanchero Trail, Amarillo, TX, 79107, Phone: 806-381-7911