© 2020 Texas Public Radio
Real. Reliable. Texas Public Radio.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

San Antonio Zoo Celebrates 100th Birthday With 90,000 Guests Over Spring Break

San Antonio Zoo
Zootennial carousel.

The San Antonio Zoo has hosted tens of thousands of visitors over spring break. One reason may be the newly-constructed Zootennial Plaza that has everyone talking. 

A hundred years ago, in 1914, San Antonio had a big hole in the ground where the zoo and Brackenridge Park are now located. San Antonio Zoo spokeswoman Debbie Vanskike said the area was a quarry, and the planners of the day were visionaries who were ahead of their time.

“They had a vision that include conservation, education and recreation,” Vanskike said.

And so the San Antonio Zoo was constructed, using the existing elements of the excavated rock walls as a dramatic backdrop for a more natural zoo environment that can mimic the animals’ own habitat.

“We have the Addax or the gazelles. And then we have the African Great Rift Valley area where the zebras are that looks like it’s in a lower setting with the natural quarry rock wall. I don’t know where else you could have that setting unless it’s in a natural area or out in the country.”

Zootennial Plaza has a professional chef in the new restaurant, and a brand new, unique 50-foot carousel, with 60 animals and two chariots.

“Some of the figurines on the carousel were specially made for the San Antonio Zoo. So no other carousel in the country has a whooping crane or a Texas jackalope or a Texas horned lizard,” she said.

Vanskike says the zoo hosted 90,000 people since March 8, about the same as in years past over spring break.