Our kids are growing up to become quite the animal lovers. They enjoy observing and learning the science about animals, and we try to work that into all the travels we can. Most of the time, we’ll bypass the local zoo to try to find local animals in their natural habitats. But the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo in Gulf Shores is an experience I’m very glad we sought out.
Deemed “The Little Zoo That Could,” the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo isn’t as large as the zoos we are used to. But it offers a unique and intimate look at the animals it cares for. They call these experiences “encounters,” and you are able to touch, feel and hold the animals in the encounter. They offer encounters with kangaroos, lemurs and reptiles.
The baby tiger encounter was not opened during our visit. In speaking with the zookeeper, I found that the zoo raises the baby tigers and offers the encounters. Then when the tigers reach breeding age, they send them back to the breeding facility and receive another batch of babies. It is popular with the visitors, and the tiger encounters book up quickly.
Each encounter is an additional amount on top of your zoo admission. The kangaroo, lemur and reptile encounter tickets can be bought when you buy your admission ticket and range from $5 – 10 a person.
I’ve never been this close to animals! The lemurs jumped on my head and I held a baby kangaroo. At one point, there was a large snake wrapped around my son. It was really, really cool. If the beaches weren’t enough to pull me to this area again and again, this zoo would sell me on the idea.
The kids loved all the encounters, but they really enjoyed the kangaroos the best. The lemurs got a little close for Claire’s comfort, but Luke enjoyed every moment of it.
They also enjoyed feeding the animals they were able to hand feed. While they’ve hand fed animals before, they enjoyed the ability to feed animals you wouldn’t normally be able to in a petting zoo setting.
Website : Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo
Hours : 9 – 4
Admission : $10 Adults, $7 kids (2 and under free), animal encounters are an additional amount.
Directions : The zoo was a little hard to find. There didn’t seem to be a clearly marked sign on the main road.
Follow the map though. It’s there, I promise!
Disclosure : During our visit, we were guests of the Gulf Coast Zoo and Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism. All the opinions, excitement and smiles are ours alone!