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About the Zoo

Located in the coastal town of Gulf Shores, world-renowned for its beautiful white-sand beaches, the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo is one of the most popular family attractions in the region. Also known as the "Little Zoo" for its starring role in the 2006 hit documentary series, The Little Zoo That Could on Animal Planet, this non-profit zoological park is not just a little community zoo; it's home to over 600 animals, consisting of 199 species, 31 sub-species, and haven to 8 endangered species.

The zoo is about a mile from the beach and sits adjacent to a protected nature reserve. Tucked just off the main highway, visitors feel like they have entered a tropical urban oasis filled with intriguing sounds from our rich diversity of exotic animals. Whether it's the distinctive call from our peacocks, chatter from our monkeys or the occasional roar from one of our lions, you are instantly transported out of life's hustle and bustle into our peaceable kingdom.

Spread out over seven and a half acres with wide pathways, yet providing close-up views of our exhibits, the zoo also has shaded picnic areas, rest stops and benches, a seasonal concession stand, and a gift shop filled with awesome animal-themed "merch". We are ideally suited for all ages and levels of mobility, from moms pushing strollers to seniors leisurely strolling. We are also disability accessible and provide free parking!

Voted the "#1 Zoo in Alabama" for two years running, we offer more than your typical zoo experience...

Whether you're parents looking for leisurely stroller outing with toddlers, want a fun, educational animal experience for older kids, or even want to take a family time-out from the beach, we've gotcha covered...

Got an hour for lunch? Skip the pricey restaurant meal, brown-bag it, and take a picnic break with some of our very curious big birds like Frazier Crane, or even practice your mindfulness meditation with our American Black bear, Boodah...

Or if you're a senior looking for a unique place to hang out with your friends, chat, relax, get a little extra love, then we're definitely the right place...

And if you really want something extra unforgettable, stop in for a one-on-one, up-close experience with a few of our friendliest friends at our Animal Encounters!

Voted the "#1 Zoo in Alabama" for two years running, the AGCZ received the "Best of Bama Award" in Alabama magazine's Annual Readers' Poll.

Exhibits & Attractions

Open Since 1989

The Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo opened in June 1989 as Zooland Animal Park. It was founded as a private enterprise by Gulf Shores entrepreneur Joey Ward. In 1991, the Ward family formed The Zoo Foundation, Inc., to operate the park as a non-profit 501(c)(3) charitable organization, and in 2000, it was renamed the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo.

Patti Hall became the Zoo Director in 1997. While striving to put the zoo on its successful path as a professionally-run, accredited zoological facility, it was thrust into the limelight in 2004. It became the first US zoo to evacuate its animals during a natural disaster when Hurricane Ivan struck the Alabama Gulf Coast. Patti and her staff’s daring rescue mission garnered worldwide attention, but the zoo itself was destroyed by the storm.

Attempting a comeback, the zoo’s story was turned into a hit documentary TV series called The Little Zoo That Could that aired on Animal Planet in 2006-2007. The resulting success from the series ultimately contributed to the zoo’s new path today - the construction of The Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo 2.0.

Sources of Revenue

As a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo relies solely on admissions, memberships and contributions to remain in business. The local community and businesses have been generous in donating money, building supplies and services in years past. Substantial on-going fundraising through sponsorships, grants, and endowments from major corporations did not exist before 1998. These additional sources of revenue are actively pursued along with other philanthropic sources to ensure the zoo's longevity.

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Safety First

The safety of every zoo visitor, our staff, and our animals have precedence over everything at the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo. We follow every safety protocol as required by law, and receive 100% compliance by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the federal agency that annually inspects our facility. We maintain ongoing safety training procedures in the handling of our animals by our keepers, and stay vigilant in keeping our facility structures secure. We take great pride in our constant efforts to provide the safest and most secure environment we can for your family when you come to visit ours.

Mission Statement

The mission of the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo is to create compelling experiences that connect people and community with wildlife, and inspire personal responsibility for conservation of the natural world. Education. Conservation. Adventure. Community.