Thanks to the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Tourism Board for providing tickets to visit the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo. All opinions are 100% my own.
During our recent trip to Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, our family decided to visit the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo. Now, this little zoo has some amazing facts about it that I will share with you in this post, but I have to just share with you right off the bat how much fun our family had here.
First off, this zoo is completely handicap accessible which was great for us since Janice (Stephen’s mom) can’t do a lot of walking. They have complimentary wheelchairs and if you have kids, they have wagons you can rent too.
After getting her situated and into her chair, we started out on our trek to see all these wonderful animals.
The Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo is called “The Little Zoo That Could” because of all the times the hurricanes have hit and tried to close this zoo down. However, they keep on keeping on. In fact, Wikipedia says this —
In July 1997, Hurricane Danny hit Gulf Shores. Then in 1998, Hurricane Georges hit, causing more flood damage. The zoo evacuated all of its animals in both cases, transporting them 15 miles (24 km) inland to higher ground and becoming the first zoo to have a full scale evacuation during a hurricane.
These expensive evacuations, and the repairs following the hurricanes, almost caused the zoo to close in 1999, but fund raising efforts were successful in raising enough money to keep it open.
Hurricane Ivan in 2004 caused $500,000 in damage, forcing another evacuation and closing the zoo for 14 months. Several animals were not caught during this evacuation, and were lost. More evacuations resulted from Dennis and Katrina in 2005, but the zoo was able to reopen fairly quickly in October 2005.
The flurry of activity around the zoo attracted media attention during Hurricane Ivan, and the zoo was approached about doing a series for Animal Planet.
Shooting for the series started in 2005, and the first of thirteen episodes of “The Little Zoo that Could” aired in February 2006. The series focused on the zoo’s efforts to reopen after being battered by three major hurricanes in 2004 and 2005: Hurricane Ivan, Hurricane Dennis, and Hurricane Katrina.
One of the cool things that I LOVE about this zoo is the live encounters they have that you can be a part of. There is the Lemur encounter which we did, The joey kangaroo encounter, and the baby tiger encounter. These do cost an extra fee, but they are SO worth it!
The Lemur encounter was my favorite because they are SO active! We walked in and sat down on the bench and those little guys just come right up to you and start playing with you. They were SO sweet!
Their hands are SO soft. They are like people hands 🙂 When we go back next year, Kayla and I are doing the baby tiger encounter.
After playing with the lemurs, we headed over to the deers, goats, and other animals. My mother-in-law used to live on a farm when she was a little girl so this was her favorite. We bought cups of food at the beginning to feed the animals with, so she was pretty excited.
This one goat in particular had a crush on my daughter though. He followed her from one end of the gate to the other.
No matter where she went, he would run, jump on the gate and stare at her. At first, I thought it was a fluke, BUT —
Then when she would talk, he would turn his head like he was really listening to everything she was saying. it was CRAZY!
Then he got as close to her as he could and we all just busted out laughing!
After spending time with this goat, we had to go visit the Capuchin monkeys. This is Kayla’s favorite animal of all time and I captured this photo of her the moment their eyes locked.
We really had a great time at the zoo and I encourage ANYONE visiting Gulf Shores to take a few hours and go and hang out with the staff and animals at the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo.
Connect with Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo
Have you ever been here? What ere your thoughts of this amazing little Zoo that Could?
For more fun and adventure in Gulf Shores, be sure to check out my page with the Ultimate Guide to Gulf Shores filled with tons of places to stay, play, and eat.