BROWNSVILLE – Quack, quack. Just got back from the zoo and saw crowds watching a visiting mother duck and her little ducklings. For the past 40 years the zoo in Brownsville has been a place to play and learn, thanks to the generous donations of the Earl C. Sams Foundation.  The 31 acres, which make up the zoo, are filled with educational and fun exhibits.  During my recent visit, many were enjoying the gorillas, red-ruffed lemurs, African lions, zebras, and many other animals’ exhibits. 

Since the beginning the zoo has been expanding their exhibits and a popular new favorite is the Giraffe Landing, which opened in 2010.  For a fee, visitors are able to feed the giraffes a treat while getting an up close and personal look at the magnificent animals.  If you like being close to the animals, head over the Small World Petting Zoo.  There you will find kids walking around with the goats and brushing them if they can catch them.   

If you have kids, you should also head on over to the new playground. Be sure to bring their bathing suits and water shoes, although the rubberized playground floor stays cool even on the hottest days.  Here the kids can cool off in the spraying water or climb into the pirate’s ship.

The zoo is open 365 days a year, with longer hours for your visiting pleasure during the summer.  When you go, be sure to check out the different admission rates, with discounts given for AAA and Seniors.  If you are like me and love to visit zoos while traveling, the annual membership plans are a great deal.  Not only can you visit as often as you want during the year, you can also get discounts or free entrance at other zoos across the United States.

We know the summer is going to be a hot one so take advantage of the next cloudy day and head to the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville. 

For more details and tips, visit the Valley Town Crier website at

See you on the road next time!