Main entrance to Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo in Gulf Shores, AL

The (NOT SO) Little Zoo That Could

In early 2020 the wildest spot along Alabama’s beaches will open the doors to its new, larger-than-life location.

Lions and tigers and lemurs…oh my! The Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo has been one of the most popular attractions for families in Gulf Shores for more than two decades. On its current seven and a half acres, the zoo houses more than 600 animals, shaded picnic areas, rest stops, a seasonal concession stand and a gift shop. In 2004, just days leading up to Hurricane Ivan, the zoo’s staff performed the first full-scale, off-site evacuation in the United States. It’s survival and comeback story were documented by Animal Planet in a documentary series called The Little Zoo That Could. Since that day, it has been the dream for the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo to relocate to a new, modern facility that would create a safer environment for the animals in the event of another natural disaster.

After many years of raising awareness and funds, as well as the tireless dedication of the zoo’s staff, the time has come for the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo to move to its not-so-little home. 

The new 25-acre Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo will be the first zoo in the United States to be built from the ground up since the late ‘90s.

Below are some of the most exciting things happening at Alabama’s NOT SO Little Zoo That Could:

Daring Displays & Adventurous Attractions

Alabama Gulf Coast ZooWith more than triple the amount of acreage as the former location and additional acres available for future growth, there is going to be a lot more room for the 600+ animals and future inhabitants at this new home. The additional acreage also allows for fresh exhibits including Big Cat Canyon for the felines, two lakes with three islands for the primates, and small wetlands for the wolves.  Also, new to the zoo will be the addition of attractions for the whole family such as a 130-foot zipline, climbing walls, bungee jumps, safari rides and a guest tram. All of the added space and attractions will also help the zoo place a greater focus on educational opportunities for groups of all ages.

Ferocious Food

At the current location, the zoo has a seasonal concession stand. At their new facility, there will be plenty of fresh, ferocious food throughout the park. The main dining area, Safari Club, will be the first green-certified restaurant in Alabama, focused on reducing energy and food waste. In fact, any food waste will be composted for use on the zoo’s on-site garden. The park will have a variety of areas that represent different regions of the world. Within those areas will be food trucks that feature cuisine found in those parts of the world. And, to keep with our island-wide initiative of going green, the zoo will not have plastic bottles, straws or Styrofoam on the property at all. Now, that’s something we can “roar” about! 

Exotic Event SpaceMain building at Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo

Looking for a colorful background for your wedding or other special events? Lucky for you, the zoo will house 12 special event venues throughout the park.  One of the largest venues on-site is Savannah Manor. The manor’s lawn seats as many as 250 people and tents are available to expand the space. Three additional rooms in the manor can accommodate up to 60 people.

Our hearts are full for our Little Zoo That Could and the memories that will continue to be made with their staff and animals for years to come at their new location. 

**Artist renderings provided by Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo.

Planning to come down and check it out? Order our 100-page 2020 Vacation Guide to learn more about all of the things to do, see and eat as well as where to stay in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. 

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