Houston Zoo, A Great Place to Spend the Afternoon

Houston residents take pride in the revitalized Houston Zoo. Tourists and residents alike enjoy viewing the wide assortment of animals in natural-appearing habitats. The Houston Zoo is a great place to spend the afternoon strolling along the well landscaped paths while observing the animals and plant life.

In 1922, the city of Houston fenced in an area of Herman Park to house a bison, named Earl, which was donated by a traveling circus. An assortment of alligators, birds and snakes were soon added. The city named the menagerie Herman Park Zoo. Patrons were not charged to view the animal exhibits until revitalization began in 1989.

Hans Nagel was the first zookeeper and later became director of the zoo. He purchased the first Asian elephant in 1925 and soon began performing with the elephant to the delight of zoo patrons. In the tradition of a true Texan, the zookeeper died in a gun fight on zoo grounds with his boots on in November, 1941.

The zoo increased to 30 acres during the 1930's. An aviary was added which included a flamingo and stork exhibit with concrete formed trees. A lion house, elephant house, reptile exhibit, primate house, hippo pool, feline house, sea lion pool, concession area and other additions have been constructed over the years. The zoo has passed down through several directors over the years, increased in size to a total of 55 acres and added a children's zoo. Today, the zoo employs approximately 350 people with an annual budget of over 26 million dollars.

The Houston Zoo animals receive excellent care. Visitors are entertained by the exercise wheel installed by zoo volunteers to assure the skunk populations stays properly fit. Many new babies are born each year. A video camera has been installed in several of the exhibits for people to view animal movements online. Directions, parking and ticket prices are available on the website



*Photo courtesy of Houston Zoo by Pro Shot Image at Flickr's Creative Commons.

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A traveler at heart, the writer enjoys traveling all over the south and hopes to one day expand his destinations.


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