The Gladys Porter Zoo was created to educate the public about wildlife. To help educate the public, the zoo has signs around near the animal’s exhibits that contain a description of their background. The zoo was first opened to the public on September 3, 1971. Gladys Porter was a woman philanthropist, she had a big contribution to the project that was being created which was the zoo. She became greatly interested in the wildlife after traveling to many foreign countries including Africa and others. This had sparked her idea of helping and taking part in the construction and stocking of the zoo.
Though Gladys Porter Zoo has been open for years now they are still able to add new animals and exhibits. The newest exhibit to the zoo is the Otterbahn which had opened in August of 2020. This exhibit contains two North American river otters, one names Tallulah and the other named Imnaha. Some other exhibits they have also opened is the El Mundo Huasteco y Totonaco which has many rainforest animals. Lastly, another new addition is the Colobus Crossing with a skywalk for the Colobus monkeys. Gladys Porter Zoo is a part of the Association of Zoo’s and Aquariums which allow them to acquire new animals. They also partner up with different zoos to breed with their animals or to acquire the animals from the other zoos. Gladys Porter Zoo has also given other zoos animals for example they have given a gorilla to the Albuquerque Biopark Zoo. In fact, the publics’ favorite animal exhibit is the gorilla exhibit mostly because it is the first exhibit seen when entering the zoo. The exhibit has four generations of Gorillas and three of them are under the age of two. Also, when the zoo posts about the gorillas on social media they obtain the most attention, likes, and engagement.
The pandemic has greatly affected Gladys Porter Zoo, especially since they closed for 70 days during their peak season which affected them financially. The zoo had opened every single day to the public until the pandemic hit, which was the first time in 50 years they have closed. Due to the ongoing pandemic, most of their upcoming events will be a virtual, pick-up, or hybrid events. An event they will be celebrating soon is the zoo’s 50th anniversary in September but are unsure how they will celebrate it. An event/volunteer opportunity students are able to sign up for is the Summer Teen Program which is a service-learning program.
Gladys Porter Zoo can be located at 500 Ringgold Street in Brownsville, Tx 78520 and can be called at (956)546-7187. On Mondays through Fridays, the zoo will open from 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m., but on weekends they will be open from 9:00 a.m.-5:30 p.m.. The admission for adults (years 14-64) is $14.00, admission for children (years 2-13) is $8.50, and admission for seniors (65 and over) is $11.00. Also, children that are ages 1 and under will be let in for free. The zoo also provides many annual memberships available that prices vary.