Great Zoos in the Darndest Places: Caldwell Zoo in Tyler Texas
Caldwell Zoo in Tyler, Texas
The inexpensive Caldwell Zoo features three continental regions, with its largest and most impressive being the East Africa savanna. This central grassland is grazed by zebras, warthogs, wildebeest, and other antelope. Elephants and giraffes have large attractive habitats nearby. Bongo antelope, colobus monkeys, leopards, jackals and blue monkeys live in unique multi- species habitats. Lions overlook their prey near the African Reptile/Aquarium building –which also houses African penguins. Black rhinos, cheetahs, and lemurs are also exhibited. The relaxing Chakula Café overlooks the entire area.
The Native Texas region, viewed from a boardwalk, displays an impressive collection of wildlife which are (or were) native to the Lone Star State. In the expansive Texas Plains, longhorn cattle and bison roam near an alligator swamp. Naturalistic rocky habitats display coatimundis, gray foxes, and river otters (with underwater viewing). Well-landscaped exhibits provide great viewing of four rare or extinct Texan felines, including jaguars and mountain lions. Harp wire aviaries hold owls, hawks, and eagles. The Texas Reptile/Aquarium complex features catfish and rattlesnakes.
A long, curving enclosure with giant anteaters, capybaras, and king vultures is South America's centerpiece. Smaller exhibits display tamarin monkeys, toucans, and other pretty birds. At the zoo's entrance, attractive islands display squirrel monkeys, flamingos, and pelicans. Children can feed over 400 parakeets and cockatiels in the Wild Bird Walkabout.
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Allen W. Nyhuis, father of four, has travelled extensively throughout the USA and Europe, visiting over 200 zoological institutions. Jon Wassner has worked as a zookeeper in three zoos, loves photographing animals, and hopes to someday design zoo exhibits for a living. Together, Allen and Jon wrote America's Best Zoos: A Travel Guide for Fans & Families (Intrepid Traveler, 2008). See AmericasBestZoos.com for more information.