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“Very Unpleasant Experience” 1 of 5 stars
Review of Austin Zoo

Austin Zoo
10807 Rawhide Trail, Austin, TX 78709
512 288 1490
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Ranked #47 of 143 Attractions in Austin
Type: Nature/ Wildlife Areas, Zoos & Aquariums
Activities: Leisure education, Hiking
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Attraction details
Owner description: Zoo in Austin featuring many animals.
Austin, Texas
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
“Very Unpleasant Experience”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed November 25, 2006

My family and I will never return to the Austin Zoo. First of all, this is not really a zoo but a privately owned "animal sanctuary." Until today we had made a point of going to the Austin Zoo 2-3 times a year despite the rather shabby conditions and truculent staff. However, the grounds today were completely swarming with bees. My family and I had brought a picnic and had intended on eating it in the picnic area. We couldn't because we were surrounded by 20-30 bees the minute the food hit the table. We spent 15 minutes trying to find a bee free area. The situation was more than a nuisance; it was dangerous. We went in and requested our money back. We were very rudely treated by the woman behind the counter and the upshot is that we we spent $19 to be chased by bees for 15 minutes. We weren't even given back the $1 for animal feed that we returned unopened.

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181 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
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English first
Round Rock, TX
1 review
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
“Noble cause, bad management”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed October 7, 2006

We took our children today for their first visit to the zoo. The grounds were in sad condition and the enclosures for the animals were tiny. We sympathized with the fact that this is a non profit rescue organization. However, our encounter with the director and associate director have left us unwilling to ever return. After our visit, we entered the gift shop to buy our kids souveniers. We were showing them the sounds that the stuffed toys make when the owner rudely informed us we were ruining the toys by using up all the sounds. When we tried to explain that we were showing them to our toddlers to see which interested them so we could buy their favorites she threw a sarcastic comment over her shoulder as she walked away. When I informed the Associate Director we would not be returning and would tell our friends about the treatment we received she told us that if we caused the facility to lose money by negative word of mouth, the deaths of the animals would be on our shoulders and she hoped we could sleep at night.

Was this review helpful? Yes 11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Austin, Texas
11 reviews 11 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
“Unrealistic Expectations”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 3, 2006

I realize that most of these reviews are several years old, but they still need to be addressed.

The Austin Zoo is a nice facility that has to refuse many requests to take in rescues due to lack of space and money. Regardless of this, they have added many very expansive habitats since I first went with my oldest son in June of 1999. These include multiple habitats for several lions (on my first visit, the lions and bears had to flip-flop habitats), 2 habitats for jaguars (again, they initially had to flip-flop with cougars), a wooded habitat for bobcats, a larger enclosure for bears, a hillside enclosure for wolves, and several smaller enclosures from animals such as bitterungs, caimans, servals, and large snakes. All of the large animal enclisures have appropriate "play" areas or items, and running water features.

In addition, the corrals and pony rides have been removed so that the area can be used for troops of rescued research monkeys (I think they are macaques, but I'm not sure).

The price of admission is reasonable given their non-profit status, they have inexpensive train rides throughout a lovely countryside that are also quite cheap, and they are actively attempting to erradicate the intrusive and invasive non-native cedar trees throughout the property. There is also a large picnic/party area that you can reserve, and you are always welcome to bring in picnic lunches.

Yes, it's hot in Texas. Yes it's dusty at the zoo. But if you come at the right time of day the animals are very active (particularly the tigers and the jaguars) and you can get closer to them than at any other zoo, large or small, that I've been to - and yes, I've been to many.

Most of the people with negative reviews seemed to think that the purpose of a zoo is entertainment. That may have been the case decades ago. Today the role of zoos is education and conservation, and visitors who expect the animals to be thrilled that the public is paying to see them will be dissappointed with their unrealistic expectations.

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“Give the Zoo a Break”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 30, 2003

Give the Austin Zoo a Break!!!! So it's not exactly a "metropolitan zoo". This places gives wild animals rescued from domestic homes a place to live out the rest of their lives in relative peace. This "Zoo" is not federally funded and does not receive money from the state to support it. It's a non-profit organization. This is an excellent place for your children to learn the importance of keeping animals wild.
Considering all of this, I believe people should praise the zoo for it's strides in helping animals and educating the public.

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austin, texas
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“"zoo" raises expectations”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed November 10, 2003

If they would change the name to animal sanctuary, I don't think people would be so appalled and shocked when they visit. If expectations are in line, it can be an enjoyable outing. Kids love feeding the animals and riding the train.

Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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