Hoping to avoid the Spring Break crowds at the San Antonio Zoo next week, the kids and I headed there yesterday after school for our first glimpse of Zootennial Plaza. It’s gorgeous and well worth the wait!
But, before I show you how lovely Zootennial Plaza is, I’ve got to share our celebrity siting. We weren’t the only ones visiting the Zoo on this momentous occasion.
El Rey Feo 2014, Jimmy Green, strolled the grounds with his entourage close by his side. He graciously took a moment for a photo with us (thanks to Libby Castillo, the Zoo’s talented marketing coordinator, for taking the pic). Fiesta is just around the corner, y’all! He gave us each a medal so we’re already ahead of that game.
Now, on to our tour of Zootennial Plaza. Almost mid-way through the Zoo, as you pass the jaguar exhibit on your left and head towards Africa Live, to your right you’ll catch your first look at this latest section of the San Antonio Zoo.
The carousel is obviously the highlight.
Tickets are $2.50 each, a little steep for just one ride, but it brought my kiddos so much joy that it was worth the price. If you ever want to see magic cross a child’s eyes, watch him as he carefully selects the animal, among all others, upon which he’ll sit to let his imagination soar.
After our ride ended, we walked around the carousel, marveling at the dazzling and colorful array of animals and creatures. There’s even a bird’s nest you can sit inside and spin around in (like a Madhatter’s tea cup) while the carousel turns. The kids were sad to have missed it but that’s something we can look forward to next time.
A walkway between the carousel and the river area leads to the brand new Zootennial Restaurant.
The Zoo website describes it as an “upscale” restaurant and it’s definitely the nicest indoor, air conditioned dining facility at the Zoo. But the food is still typical park fare (pizza, chicken tenders, hamburgers, fries, hot dogs, etc.). I’d love to see salads, fruit, grilled chicken or fish, and other healthy options added to the menu one day.
This new area of the Zoo is circled by bird exhibits. You can get up close to see many of these exotic creatures (and some funny, tightrope-walking ducks).
Zootennial Plaza with its carousel; pretty new restaurant; surrounding grounds with plenty of benches and tables; space for kids to run; and areas overlooking birds of all shapes and sizes; is a beautiful addition to our already favorite Zoo.
Happy 100th birthday, San Antonio Zoo!