We were recently in Gulf Shores and had an opportunity to visit this zoo and I have to tell you that it was an incredible experience!
I agree with the other reviewers that this zoo is a not a large zoo, but what it lacks in size it more than makes up for in personality!
The zoo is home to monkeys, bears, tigers, leopards, snakes and much more. Peacocks and pelicans roam freely throughout the zoo and food is available for purchase so you can feed some of the animals (signs are posted that clearly tell what animal you can and cannot feed.) The staff is absolutely amazing, you can tell how much they love the animals in the zoo, we always saw the animals being loved on and fussed over by the people taking care of them.
Where the zoo really stands apart from all other zoos (including the large zoos) is their animal encounters. The zoo has continual animal encounters depending on what babies they have at the zoo. These encounters are actually affordable and give you full interaction with the animals, not just playing with them while they are in a cage like some other zoos, but actual physical contact with these animals, where you can actually pet and play with them. It is an incredible experience that you will be hard pressed to duplicate anywhere else.
When we were visiting there were encounters with the kangaroos, lemurs and tiger cubs. The kangaroo encounter was only $5 per person, the lemurs were $10 per person and the tiger cubs were $25 per child and $50 per adult. Tip: The tiger encounters sell out months ahead of time, so make sure that you are keeping up with the zoo’s Facebook page so that you don’t miss your opportunity for some tiger lovin’!
We had fun with the kangaroo encounter, but I have to say that our experience with the lemurs and tigers was beyond anything that I expected. We were able to spend close to 30 minutes with the lemurs because there was nobody else waiting for an encounter. They were playful and affectionate, one of them crawled into my 15 year old’s lap and camped there the entire time. The other 3 lemurs bounced between the rest of us, climbing on shoulders, hanging from the top of the enclosure and playing tag with each other. So fun!
We saved the best for last, the tiger encounter was an experience that we will never forget. Ever. For 30 minutes we cuddled, played tug o war and rolled around in the dirt with 2 tiger cubs. I don’t even know how to describe how amazing it was for all of us, but my children especially. I don’t know of any other zoo in the US that does this kind of encounter for this price. Seriously, this is something that you need to do at least once in your life!
We had a great time at this zoo, way better than at any other larger zoo. If you are in Gulf Shores you HAVE to make sure to visit this little zoo!
It was the smallest zoo we've ever been. Since it's close to the beach, it's kind a novelty thing to do. Other than that, nothing special. If you get bored at the beach, it might be a place to visit for your kids. When we visited, it wasn't paved all the way. So, watch out if you'd like to take your stroller.
We were in town visiting family and decided to take the little ones to the zoo. It is little but it is cute.
The one thing I really didn't understand is many of the actual exhibits you had to pay extra and it was quite a bit extra to be able to participate. I think the admission to the zoo should have been cheaper if you have to pay to do a majority of everything else.
I did like that you can pay at the beginning for the cup of animal food. That was a lot of fun for the kids and adults.
This is nicknamed "The Little Zoo that Could". They had such a hard time after a hurricane, but they are a wonderful zoo. It isn't huge true enough, but it is perfect for young kids and it is very clean! They have a wonderful show where they let you pet multiple animals. Some animals like peacocks etc. roam freely around you. Other animals are free roaming, but far enough to not be a nuisance. The goats can be fed, but they "steal" whole cups of food and are greedy so beware. There is a special area where you can hold a baby Joey in a pouch (bag) and learn about the animal while other animals roam around you. We didn't participate in this, but we watched. it was a little expensive and while my kids wanted to do it,I honestly didn't think it was worth it considering the price and the fact that I had 3 kids. The staff is friendly and very nice. The place is very well kept and the surrounding a beautiful.
The Gulf Coast Zoo is small and family friendly. Great for younger children since it is small and doesn't take all day to get through. They have a good variety of animals and it usually is not that crowded. They have a petting and feeding area that my son loved. Gets very hot in the summer so go early in the morning if you go in the summer.
I drove an hour to visit this zoo because my teen wanted to do the wolf encounter ($5 extra). When we arrived, I had to pay $27 for myself, my 17 year old, my 10 year old, and my 3 year old niece. I thought the price was a little steep, but I paid. Then we were told that they no longer have the wolf encounters (website still says that they offer them). We went in and found that several of the animal enclosures were situated so that you could barely see the animals. The wolf pen especially was set back very far from the fence, and located behind a huge tree. We could catch very small glimpses of the wolf, but not a good sighting. My teen was totally disappointed. Another problem is that the fence that runs in front of all the enclosures is a wood fence that is too high for a 3 year old to see over. I had to constantly lift her up to see anything. Then we walked all the way around the circle and found out how small the zoo really is. We spent 45 minutes total and then the kids were ready to go do something else. I was very annoyed that such a small zoo was so expensive. Overall it was a thoroughly disappointing experience. I've been to zoos all over the US, and this is the first time I've ever been so disappointed.
This is the zoo that was featured in the television show "The Little Zoo that Could" We drove the hour to this zoo today to try something new. The prices are reasonable but if you are used to a free zoo, they might seem pricey! The zoo is set up so you continue to walk and you will eventually circle around back to the beginning. It was a hot day (94 degrees!) so many of the animals were hiding out in their homes but the way the zoo is set up you could still see many of them. My kids loved the reptile room, the tigers, and the kangaroos. We did not purchase any zoo puffs for the animals but at the pens where they can be fed, the animals will come up to you to check you out! I loved the fact that all of the animals have names and they are written on the signs. Once we started reading the names, they wanted to know the names of everyone! My only complaint is that some of the animal cages/pens are set up kind of funky so that in some areas it is hard to see the animals...they are a little farther away from the walkways and angled funny compared to some of the other zoos we have been to.
I was hesitant when I pulled up to this "Zoo". We often visit the St. Louis Zoo (a free zoo) and when we pulled up in the gravel parking lot and had to PAY to enter I thought we might be disappointed. I'm SO GLAD we went. Our two year old had a blast. She was able to do a Kangaroo encounter (for $5) - she entered the pen with baby kangaroos and was able to hold the Kangaroo. The staff was great with my kid and the animals. Kids can feed the animals. Tiger show. Other animal encounters for a small fee. Lots of opportunities for such a little zoo.