Cameron Park Zoo – Waco

Cameron Park Zoo is dedicated to the promotion of wildlife education and appreciation.

The zoo, as it is now, was established in 1993. It sits on a 52-acre land and showcases more than 1,700 animals from 300 species. The animals are placed in 15 exhibit locations in the zoo. People of all ages can enjoy the park zoo on tour and view decks, picnic areas, and playgrounds.

Waco Cameron Park Zoo - Texas View
The entrance to Cameron Park Zoo in Waco, Texas. © 2008 Larry D. Moore. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

All About Cameron Park Zoo

The zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums, so it’s no wonder it is an award-winning establishment.

Cameron Park Zoo’s priority is the animals under its care, but the zoo has various features for kids and adults alike. There are playgrounds and picnic areas where families can rest and eat as they admire nature and everything it offers.

It has programs for schools and other groups interested in educational opportunities related to wildlife appreciation and conservation. In addition, Cameron Park Zoo is open to holding events and volunteering and donation opportunities.

  • Fifteen (15) animal exhibits in 10 locations
  • Seven (7) educational programs
  • Special events
  • Volunteering opportunities
  • Support and donation opportunities

Ultimately, Cameron Park Zoo hopes that visitors and guests will be able to appreciate wildlife conservation efforts and participate in them.

Best time to visit the zoo

The zoo is busiest on weekends and when there are scheduled trips from large groups. Usually, April and May are the busiest months for field trips. You may call Cameron Park Zoo at 254-750-8400 to check about this.

Holiday Opening

The zoo is open all year round but is closed on holidays such as Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, and Thanksgiving Day. There are also days when some animals may not be available for exhibit due to weather and temperature.

Bringing food and Drink

Bringing outside food to the zoo is allowed. However, some items are not allowed on zoo premises, such as alcohol, glass containers, or utensils made of plastic. It’s also not allowed to feed the animals.

Parking Charges

No, Cameron Park Zoo does not charge for parking.

Adult Jaguar In Waco Texas Cameron Park Zoo. - Texas View
Adult Jaguar In Waco Texas Cameron Park Zoo. - Texas View

History of the Cameron Park Zoo

The history of Cameron Park Zoo began in the 1950s. A group of local wildlife enthusiasts organized a collection of animals for the appreciation and education of the public in central Texas.

The animals were initially showcased at the Heart O’ Texas Fair. It drew attention and became popular among the locals. The initiative’s support allowed the animal collection to continue through the years.

In the late 1970s, the animal collection was moving from place to place in Waco. Because the collection was growing and public support was continuous, the zoo had to be moved to a more permanent location in the city.

The zoo administration recognized Cameron Park as a suitable place for the zoo. It has 416 acres (168 ha) of land and is located at the Bosque River and the Brazos River intersection.

In 1983, a vote was passed to move the zoo to Cameron Park, and what is now known as Cameron Park Zoo opened On July 18, 1993, on 52 acres (21 ha) of land.

It is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

Giraffe At Cameron Zoo. - Texas View
Giraffe At Cameron Zoo. - Texas View

Animal Exploration at Cameron Park Zoo

From a collection of only a few animals for education and appreciation, Cameron Park Zoo now has more than 1,700 animals from among 300 species. The Zoo has several activities that are open for exploration to those who are interested.

 What it isGoals
Animal Exhibits15 exhibits in 10 locationsPublic education and appreciation of conservation efforts
EnrichmentThe zoo has a list of items that people can donate for the animals’ enjoymentCall for donations for the physical and psychological enrichment of the animals.
ConservationCameron Park Zoo’s efforts for animal conservationEncourage donation and participation in worldwide conservation efforts
Species Survival Plan (SSP)Efforts to ensure the survival of selected species. Some animals in the zoo are in this program.Public education and call for support.
Animal Conservation and Goal at Waco Zoo

These are the various ways that Cameron Park Zoo’s animal collection can be explored for education and appreciation and cooperation with their conservation efforts.

Animal Exhibits

Cameron Park Zoo has 15 animal exhibits in ten locations. These exhibits can be seen through an organized tour. The zoo has a map that guests can follow.

The zoo also has designated spaces for viewing, such as view decks and picnic areas. There are also playgrounds like Grammy Nell’s where kids can play and explore.

Exhibit to ExploreLocationAnimals
Gibbon IslandUpon entrance to Cameron Park ZooWhite-handed gibbons
Bald Eagle HabitatAn aviary in the MeadowsAmerican bald eagle
Galapagos Tortoise HabitatAfter the Bald Eagle HabitatGalapagos tortoises: Gilligan, The Professor, and Skipper
South American ExhibitAcross Grammy Nell’sKing vulture, squirrel monkeys, capybaras, sun conures, two-toed sloths
Brazos River Country ExhibitAn establishment resembling a shipFish in a 50,000-gallon marine aquarium, alligators, black bears, cougars, jaguars, and animals indigenous to Texas
HerpetariumAfter the Brazos River CountryVarious snakes, reptiles, and amphibians
African Lion ExhibitWalkway leading to the African Savanna ExhibitAfrican lions with adjacent meerkats
African Savanna ExhibitWhere the elephant and white rhinos areElephants, white rhinos, giraffes, greater kudu, marabou storks, crowned cranes
Asian ForestLook for an abandoned Asian templeSumatran tigers, komodo dragons, koi fish, orangutans
Lemur IslandAcross the lake from Gibbon IslandRed-ruff lemurs, ring-tailed lemurs, Slater’s blue-eyed black lemurs
10 Locations at Waco Zoo and the Animals You Can See.

These are the 10 locations of the animal exhibits in Cameron Park Zoo. There are viewing decks and playgrounds around it where people can safely and comfortably admire the creatures.

Enrichment

The zoo involves the public caring for the animals, which is their utmost priority. The animals sometimes need items for their physical and psychological enrichment. This prevents them from getting stressed.

Sometimes these items may look like trash inside the animals’ enclosures, but these are the remains of items they use or play with.

Cameron Park Zoo has a list of items that the animals may need for their enrichment. Visitors and guests may get involved by donating some items on the list.

Conservation

As an active involvement in wildlife conservation, Cameron Park Zoo has a space where they educate the public on what they can do to contribute.

This time, the zoo educates about the dangers of processed palm oil to animals such as orangutans and Sumatran tigers. They may be healthy for humans, but this healthy oil appears dangerous to some animals.

So Cameron Park Zoo is joining the call for making sustainably produced palm oil.

Young Lion At Cameron Zoo. - Texas View
Young Lion At Cameron Zoo. - Texas View

Education at Cameron Park Zoo

Aside from animal and wildlife conservation, Cameron Park Zoo supports education and knowledge-sharing, especially among the younger generation. The following are three of their education programs.

  1. Onsite Programs
  2. Zoo To You Programs
  3. Zoo School

Onsite Programs

Cameron Park Zoo offers three onsite programs: Zoo Scavenger Hunt, Animal Presentations, and Behind-the-Scenes Tour.

These offer fun and educational opportunities for small and big groups at the zoo.

Zoo To You Programs

These are programs that the zoo offers outside of zoo premises. Cameron Park Zoo takes some animals to schools or other learning institutes. However, these are strictly done indoors under the supervision of animal experts to ensure the safety of the animals.

Zoo School

This program is offered to elementary school children, where they can have a zoo session once a month for five months.

During these times, children take a zoo tour and hold classes from 9 am to noon.

Rhino At Cameron Zoo. - Texas View
Rhino At Cameron Zoo. - Texas View

Waco/Cameron Park Zoo FAQs

What items are not allowed in the zoo?

Cameron Park Zoo discourages guests from bringing balloons to ensure the safety of the animals. People are also discouraged from bringing wheel-based items such as bikes, scooters, remote-controlled cars, etc.

Can a membership card from another zoo be used for Cameron Park Zoo?

Some zoos participate in a reciprocal program with Cameron Park Zoo. If this is the case, you may just present your membership card from this reciprocal zoo and you will be given a discount on your general admission ticket at Cameron Park Zoo. The zoo has a list of reciprocal institutions that you can check.

Does the zoo allow pets in?

For safety reasons, Cameron Park Zoo does not allow pets inside zoo premises, except for service dogs. Service dogs must also be on a leash at all times.For your information and the safety of your animals, pets cannot be left inside your vehicles when you tour the zoo. It’s best not to take them with you when you’re going to Cameron Park Zoo.

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