Day Trips to Cameron Park Zoo
Day trips to the Cameron Park Zoo are one of our absolute favorite family activities in Waco. Our children are just the right age for it and the Cameron Park Zoo is truly a gem! It is the perfect size, easily walk-able and is visually beautiful!
I really love the size of this zoo too. In NYC, we had access to some amazing zoos, such as the Bronx Zoo, The Turtle Back Zoo in NJ and the iconic Central Park Zoo. All of them were overcrowded, overwhelming and stressful to try and cover with my small children. The size of the Cameron Park zoo is just right.
We immediately noted the elegant, bamboo landscape and peaceful walking paths. The layout of the zoo is intuitive and easy to navigate. Again, this is really helpful when experiencing the zoo with your little people!
Cameron Park Zoo Facts:
- Initially established in 1955, Cameron Park Zoo now stretches over 52 acres and is sweetly nestled inside Cameron Park, next to the Brazos River
- The zoo features over 300 species of animals from Europe, Africa, Asia, North and South America
- Exhibits include White-Handed Gibbons, an African Lion display (my favorite), a large reptile house (not my favorite) a 50,000 gallon saltwater reef aquarium, giraffes, rhinoceros, elephants, a bald eagle display, lemur island, the American black bear and more
- Endangered species on exhibit include the Orangutans (that just had a BABY!!), a Sumatran tiger and a Komodo dragon.
- They offer special events and activities throughout the year that you can learn more about here!
- There is a small playground area just past the entrance that is perfect for letting your littles run around or stop and have a picnic! During the summer months, there is a small splash pad too!
- They are open 7 days a week, Mon-Sat from 9 to 5pm and Sunday from 11am - 5pm
First, the White-Handed Gibbon
My little guys love this display and they always spend a lot of time eyeing these little jungle acrobats. The White-Handed Gibbons are the very first exhibit in the zoo and they live in a habitat across a small river that is full of life, notably turtles!
As you continue to walk, you will encounter a pair of cheeky macaws that actually say HELLO
The red fella will even squeal (read SCREAM) at you if you stand there long enough. My kids could have been entertained for hours just talking to them... and squealing at them to get them to squeal back. They have a pretty cool neighbor too - a bald eagle!
During the hotter months, our favorite displays tend to be indoor. The Marine Aquarium offers some sweet relief from the heat, and beautiful creatures too.
The African Lion habitat is my favorite. I could stare at these majestic creatures for days.
"At the beginning of the walkway leading to the African Savanna the visitor encounters the “King of Beasts,” the African lions. These large cats lounge in kopje habitat adjacent to termite mounds inhabited by ever vigilant meerkats." - Cameron Park Zoo
I would be remiss if I didn't mention the reptile exhibit, but it isn't my favorite! I get the heebie - jeebies in there! The boys love it and we even had the opportunity to see a large boa squeeze a rat, preparing to eat it for dinner! (eew)
A few more notables - giraffes, rhinos, bears, elephants and alligators!
One last favorite, some more big cats!
The beautiful cougar den and the jaguars are a MUST SEE. The jaguar is the friendliest (and maybe laziest) cat I've ever seen! You may even get a chance to hold hands - my kids (and little sister pictured below) are completely smitten!
A few more tips for those of you planning to visit:
1. Come early to beat the crowd and to beat the heat! You can do most of the zoo in a few hours, just in time to grab a bit to eat or bring a picnic lunch.
2. Invest in the push cart. They provide them at the gift shop for just $10 and it is SO worth it if you have multiple kiddos.
3. Consider a membership pass if you are local and plan to visit more than once. The membership prices are reasonable and you will see the value after just two visits.
For more information, visit www.cameronparkzoo.com
See you at the ZOO!