Friday, October 22, 2010

Day at the Zoo!

So, who knew that I would actually enjoy going to the zoo in Tyler, Texas! Right downtown is Caldwell Zoo and boy, is it well kept!

First opened in 1953 as the Caldwell Children's Zoo, the zoo was a development of the Child Development Laboratory, operated by the Hogg Foundation and the American Association of University Women of Tyler. It was run by Mr. and Mrs. David King Caldwell, who had brought in many animals for the enjoyment of the children and eventually established into an official zoo.

David King CaldwellBy 1967 the zoo featured over 500 animals from 87 different species. In 1970, the zoo was broken into, and several animals were killed. This prompted the children of the area to collect money to help restore things. Enough money was raised for the zoo to acquire an African elephant and was the catalyst to modernize the entire zoo. The city granted them 40 acres (160,000 m2) of more land in 1976, and a large, long-term expansion project was undertaken. A new elephant enclosure was built, and giraffes were added in 1978. In 1983 a 15-acre (61,000 m2) native Texas area was opened, and in 1984 reptile and aquarium sections were opened. In 1987 major reconstruction of the African exhibits was completed, creating large pasture areas and an overlook. Throughout the 90s, more improvements were added. In 2002 a new veterinary hospital was completed, along with brooding areas, and a quarantine facility. The zoo now houses a "Wild Bird Walkabout" featuring over 400 parakeets and cockatiels. Bird, otter and penguin presentations have also expanded, allowing for the further education of the public.

Plans are also in action to expand into the unused land surrounding the current zoo, including a new glass-enclosed aviary and improved habitats for animals. There will be several new animal additions accompanying these expansions including a colony of meerkats.

The Caldwell Zoo also houses the largest African elephant in North America.

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