The San Antonio Zoo


The San Antonio Zoo, located inside the beautiful Brackenridge Park, has been one of the city's top attractions for just over 100 years. The not-for-profit zoo is home to over 9,000 animals in 750 species, and it undertakes many animal conservancy efforts. It's also ideal for children, even featuring the nation's first separate kids-only zoo (Kronkosky's Tiny Tot Nature Spot), plus a kid-friendly butterfly garden, train and carousel.

Best and worst time to go to the San Antonio Zoo
The San Antonio Zoo is open 365 days a year, rain or shine. It's particularly crowded during spring break (mid-March), throughout the summer and on holiday weekends. Aim to visit on a weekday, during the colder months or as soon as the zoo opens (9 a.m.) to bypass the worst of the crowds.

Must see at San Antonio Zoo
Families love the interactive Lory Landing, a rainforest environment featuring hundreds of colorful and lively lorikeet birds. For under $2, you can purchase nectar to feed the birds while they sit on your shoulder or hand.

Don't miss Africa Live! which recreates the spirit and habitat of Africa. Feel like you're on a safari as you watch crocodiles, hippos, and other African wildlife up-close through underwater viewing windows.

If you feel like monkeying around, visit the Gibbon Forest. In this nature-like enclosure, get a close look at these endangered apes through glass panels and watch them play and vocalize.

Admission to San Antonio Zoo
Admission to the San Antonio ranges from free to just over $14 depending on your age. Children under two enter free, and senior citizens and military members enjoy a discount. If you want to ride the San Antonio Zoo Eagle train, which makes several stops throughout Brackenridge Park, it's a few dollars per person (or free for children under 3).

Parking at San Antonio Zoo
Parking at the San Antonio Zoo is free if you park near the train depot or in the lot off Tuleta under Highway 281. Parking can get full at peak times, so arrive early to ensure you snag a spot. If the lots are full, you can find other free spots in the area, though you may have to pay to park.

Public Transportation to San Antonio Zoo
Most zoo visitors drive and park in the free lots, but if you prefer to take a bus, several routes stop next to the zoo. One route is bus seven, the Sightseer Special. Use the VIA Trip Planner to find the route most convenient for you.

Food at San Antonio Zoo
Outside food and drinks aren't allowed (other than bottled water and small snacks) so those needing a meal must eat here. The primary restaurant is the Baraza Cafe, but the zoo offers a handful of other food stops with meals and snacks for both adults and kids. The menus mostly feature burgers, hot dogs, nachos, popcorn and ice cream, and other typical concessions. Most entrees range from $4-9, with snacks in the $2-4 range.

Insider tip for visitors to San Antonio Zoo
You can find discounts on zoo admission on RetailMeNot.com and on SanAntonioAttractions.com. If you plan to visit the zoo more than a few times in one year, buying a membership can also save you big bucks.

Author's bio: Emily Starbuck Crone is a native Texan and freelance writer based in San Antonio