When the San Antonio Zoo opened in 1914, they didn’t have many animals. From a few deer, elk, buffalo, monkeys and four bears, today the zoo is home to over 9,000 animals and 750 species. They were one of the first zoos in the country to create natural habitats for the animals, also known as a “cage-less” zoo. It’s also the only Zoo in the country to have a separate children’s Zoo area, Kronkosky’s Tiny Tot Nature Spot, designed for kids 5 and under.
In Kronsky’s Tiny Tot Nature Spot, the little ones can run off some of that extra energy, climb on a tortoise, get their feet wet in the riverbank, and swing like a monkey. While that’s a fun spot to play, Whistler could have spent the entire day playing with butterflies at the Butterflies! Caterpillar Flight School. This exhibit, open March-November, gave us time to interact with different species of butterflies for just a $1.50 fee.
Did you know butterflies have an average lifespan of 2-3 weeks? The San Antonio Zoo spends over $25,000 on butterflies each year, and charges $1.50 to re-stock the butterflies. We were really lucky and happened to arrive just when they were releasing a batch of newly received butterflies. Whistler laughed as they landed on his hands, arms and head. After spending nearly an hour learning about butterflies and caterpillars, we headed to Africa to see the hippos.
Well, not Africa exactly, but the Africa Live! exhibit, where we watched the “PooPooPotamus” as Whistler calls the hippopotamus, through an underwater viewing window.
The zoo’s newest exhibit, Africa Live 2, includes a giant aviary, colobus monkeys, okapi, wild hunting dogs and a walk through termite mound. The San Antonio Zoo also has one of the largest bird collections in the country.
As we meandered through the zoo, we spotted many of our favorite animals. Some of them even provided us with some giggles and laughs at their silly acts or cute mustaches.
Of course, another highly enjoyable spot for little boys is the Reptile House. From snakes to lizards, we had a blast getting up close and personal with each one.
Kids fascinated with trains will enjoy a ride on the San Antonio Zoo Eagle Train. The train has been running since 1956 and stops include the Kiddie Park, Witte Museum, and the Japanese Tea Gardens, also known as the Sunken Gardens.
I’d like to thank the San Antonio Convention and Visitor’s Bureau for providing Whistler and I complimentary admission to spend a day exploring here last month. It was a delightful day full of smiles and education. While the San Antonio Zoo is open 365 days a year from 9:00 a.m to 5 p.m. , the ideal time to visit is in the spring, before the Texas heat and humidity kick in, or early in the morning.