The little zoo that could grew

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After years of planning and fundraising and two years of construction, the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo is open for business in its new larger home located 4 miles inland. The 25-acre animal park has been designed to be more than just a zoo. This new facility has been designed with sustainability, events, education and family in mind.

The community displayed their support during the ribbon cutting March 12. The parking lot was full, cars made their own spaces and parked down both sides of the entrance drive. An overflow parking lot was opened at The One Club and a shuttle bus delivered guests to the front gate.

Located at 20499 Oak Road East in Gulf Shores, The Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo is currently open 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Monday through Sunday. Due to COVID-19, the zoo has suspended animal encounters and activities that create a concentration of guests in tight spaces. All indoor exhibit spaces, to include the reptile building and the butterfly outpost will be closed until further notice. Hourly presentations on the outdoor stage will take place, as weather permits, presenting animals and information to our guests. This will allow staff to be on the stage, separated from the guests, and allow the guests to self-separate as they feel necessary on the lawn. Check the zoo website for information regarding changes during this time.

The Safari Club Gulf Shores is the first “Green Certified” restaurant in the state of Alabama. The innovative menu created by executive chef Greg Buschmohle has been designed to take you around the World. The view of the zoo from the dinning room and outdoor patio are great and you don’t have to pay admission to enjoy the restaurtant. Dinning is open to the public and hours vary seven days a week. Reservations can be made on the website as well.

The 25-acre zoo has been laid out to allow guest to explore and spread out. The new petting zoo barn allows guest to walk through or around and feed the animals. A playground it set amongst the trees and a large lawn with stage anchor the area. It’s a perfect area to let the littlest zoo explorer run or ride the train.

Paths and boardwalks lead you around the park through shady treed areas where you will find the baby kangaroos and Boodah the American Black bear to the sunny spaces where you will find a lion sunning or a tiger swimming. The paths are wheelchair and stroller friendly and wide enough to accommodate the crowds.

Chuckie can be found at his new escape proof enclosure next to the reptile house. The large retile house is full of giant snakes, lizards and turtles but there’s room for more creepy crawlies.

The highlight of the new zoo happens to be the two giraffes, Benjamin and Akayla are the tallest addition to the zoo and were the first animals to move into the new facility. Visitors can get eye level and feed the giraffes (check the zoo website for times) daily.

If you are looking for a unique venue for a birthday party wedding, family reunion or corporate event the zoo can help. The facilities were designed with events in mind. More information is available on the zoo website.

With over 600 animals, there’s a lot to see and the added amusement attractions make for a full day of fun for the whole family.

Admission prices range from $19.95 (adults), $16.95 (seniors), $14.95 (children 3-12). Group rates available for groups of 15 or more. Visit www.alabamagulfcoastzoo.com for more information, membership options and up to date information.

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