Zootennial Plaza — Photo courtesy of San Antonio Zoo
San Antonio Zoo in San Antonio, Texas, is celebrating its centennial this year, and they're making sure it's a year to remember! There are multiple new and exciting additions to explore, whether you've been here once or a hundred times.
“We’re really excited about turning 100 years old,” says Debbie Rios-Vanskike, the zoo’s marketing and public affairs assistant manager, “That in itself means a lot. Because we’re a non-profit, every single dollar we make goes back into the zoo and helps us to continue so that we can be here another 100 years.”
In honor of their 100th birthday, they've even constructed a brand new plaza called Zootennial Plaza. The gem of this new space is a beautifully enchanting carousel.
The plaza is also home to the new Zootennial restaurant. Forget about hot dogs! Now, you can enjoy a chef-prepared meal that's not only scrumptious but also made wiith seasonal ingredients. You can expect some traditional fun foods like burgers and fries, but the dishes will now be a bit more elevated. Executive Chef Doug Wallen, a South Texas native, is honored to be the first chef to join the team at the San Antonio Zoo.
Zoo lovers will also be excited to learn about the upcoming event known as Zoo-la-la, which is so much fun it's in its 19th year. This yearly "Feast with the Beasts" will be held this year on Friday, May 9, 2014, from 7:00 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.
This special adults-only party will transform the zoo into a Hawaiian paradise, featuring delectable cuisine from the Zootennial restaurant and some of San Antonio's favorite restaurants! Enjoy live music by Texas Tide and the Jonathan Garcia Band as well as keeper chats and a great Zoo Pool with fantastic prizes.
If you're lucky enough to be in town, this event is not to be missed! Visit SAZoo.org to purchase tickets online.
Phoenix, the baby komodo dragon — Photo courtesy of San Antonio Zoo
While all of these new additions are amazing, perhaps the (soon-to-be) biggest and best is the birth of Phoenix, the zoo's new baby komodo dragon. Phoenix's story is one of survival. His mother, a 15-year-old female komodo dragon named Scatha, died as a result of an unfortunate fire in December 2013. The mother left behind several eggs, but only one survived.
Phoenix hatched on April 4th and is now currently on exhibit in the Reptile House. While Phoenix is currently small enough to fit in a human hand, before long, he will reach gigantic proportions by reptilian standards. Komodo dragons have been known to reach up to 10 feet long and 150 pounds.
Even if you've been to the San Antonio Zoo before, there's always something new to see. Other favorites include the butterfly exhibit and the new tiger cubs. The zoo is also right next to Brackenridge Park, where you can enjoy some beautiful sightseeing and the infamous mini train.