The Alabama Gulf Shores Zoo started is one of Gulf Shore’s hidden treasures. It was in 1989 by Joey Ward as a for profit enterprise in 1991 the Ward family converted the zoo to the non-profit it is today. The Gulf Coast zoo resides on 13 acres of land located less than 2 miles from the beach on Route 59.
On September 2, 2004 Hurricane Ivan slammed into Gulf Shores and placed the zoo under 10 feet of water. With news of the upcoming storm the zoo had to find a safe place to move the animals.
A heroic true story is how zoo director, Patti Hall, (image attached) and arranged to have the animals transported to her personal property located North of Gulf Shores.
Every tiger, monkey, wolf, bear and lemur was housed and fed at Patti’s home until repairs could be made to the zoo (photo lion in water). For this she will always be my hero.
The Gulf Shores zoo is small and intimate. It is a great place to take younger kids. Here’s a picture of two of my grand kids feeding the goats in the petting zoo area but the Gulf Shores zoo is a lot more than a petty zoo.
Believe it or not this zoo specializes in Bengal Tigers and, if your timing is right, has cubs that you can play with. Here is a YouTube video. I have had a chance to play with these cubs. They are soft and playful. IT’s really fun. You only get to do this while they are very young in a couple of months they become too strong.
My personal favorites are the Lemurs. I can watch these guys all day. (Photo attached). So if your looking for a diversion from the beach visit the Alabama Gulf Coast zoo. It is close and whether you are with children or not it is a lot of fun.