The Abilene Zoological Gardens is located at 2070 Zoo Lane, in Abilene, Texas. The Abilene Zoo observes five guiding principles; education, recreation, research, culture and economics. Abilene Zoological Gardens strives to combine enjoyment and leisure time with education about animals and the world in which they live. The zoo seeks to provide visitors with a "natural classroom,'' which allows guests to appreciate and learn about wildlife in an unstructured environment.
In 2007, approximately 152,693 people visited the Abilene Zoo, which is a marked increase of 25% over the prior year. Abilene Zoological Gardens is home to more than 500 different animals that represent over 200 species. The zoo has a collection of both plants and animals, with the plants surrounding the exhibits being native to the state of Texas.
The signature exhibit of the zoo is a bridge that crosses over the top of the giraffe habitat. Here guests are invited to observe the zoo's giraffe family in a naturally staged environment. The exhibit is one of the first of its kind in the United States and visitors are allowed to feed and pet the giraffes.
The Abilene Zoological Gardens participates in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Reciprocal Admissions Program. The program allows members to receive free or reduced admissions fees at many other zoos across the United States. The zoo is opened daily and is closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and New Years Eve.
The zoo contains many exhibits featuring a wide array of animals displayed in modern areas that simulate a natural environment. The zoo has Central American Spider Monkeys, Black Rhinoceros, American Black Bears, American Bison, Ringtailed Lemurs, American Alligators, Maned Wolves, Jaguars, Spotted Hyenas and many other animals. Entertaining exhibits at the zoo include; the Turtle Pool, the Waterfowl Pool, The Creepy Crawly Center, a Wetland Area and Outdoor and Indoor Aviaries. The Elm Creek Backyard area houses locally found animals such as armadillos, river otters and skunks.
The zoo participates in an Adopt-an-Animal Program, which allows visitors to show support for conservation and wildlife preservation. The adoption process is simple and designed to allay the costs of maintenance and daily care for animals of the zoo. Funds are used towards improvement projects, habitat enrichment and any necessary repairs.
The Abilene Zoological Gardens is one of the five largest zoos in the state of Texas and is located inside Nelson Park. The zoo is committed to providing guests with both a rich educational and entertaining experience. Each year the zoo hosts many events and programs, designed to raise public awareness and understanding about the delicate environment in which animals live. Guests are invited to tour the facility, enjoy the many exhibits and spend the day learning about the animals, nature and conservation.