Welcome to the Frank Buck Zoo, located in Gainesville, Texas, just West of I35 or about an hour north of the DFW Metroplex. I highly recommend this small zoo for a low entrance fee ($4.50 to $6.50), about an hour’s walk of beautiful animals, and a wonderful park with elaborate wood play equipment located across the street. Food is not available in the zoo’s guest shop, other than snacks and drinks, but memorabilia of Frank Buck is interesting for all ages. There are fast food restaurants just east of I35 on California including McDonalds, Taco Bell, Taco Casa, Sonic, Braums and Arby’s. The park has many picnic tables under shady trees, cookouts, a pavilion, clean facilities and a community pool is open during the summer. Train rides around the park cost $1.50 per person.
Frank Buck was a colorful character whose nickname was “Bring-Em Back Alive.” He was born in Gainesville and made his first expedition to South America in 1911. From this date, he crossed the Pacific Ocean forty-five times and traveled the globe twelve times collecting animals for zoo collections around the world. After a devastating fire destroyed most of the Gainesville Community Circus equipment in 1954, the circus disbanded and the Frank Buck Zoo became home to these animals. It now has over 150 animals from four continents around the world.
Perhaps your child’s favorite feature at the zoo would be feeding a giraffe which is offered at 10:30 daily from an elevated walkway overlooking the savannah. A piece of long-leaf lettuce costs $1.00. There is a covered area with picnic tables and cold drink machines on the Savanna walk where you can listen to African music while viewing zebras, ostriches, deer, giraffes, a camel, guineas, turtles, and a pond of fish. The zoo also has monkeys, buffalo, bears, fox, kangaroos, a sloth, lemurs, flamingos and many other exotic and native birds, as well as a Farm Exhibit. Moose and goats can be fed by purchasing nuggets from machines for $.25 using correct change.
The Frank Buck Zoo is not large but can be comfortably completed in a circular walk taking about an hour. This would be a fun stop for children needing a break from the car. If there isn’t time for the zoo, then enjoy the free parking and park perhaps having a picnic or train ride for a break. Texas is very hot during the summer so taking drinks on your zoo walk and wearing sunscreen is recommended.
For more information visit the Frank Buck Zoo web at: http://www.frankbuckzoo.com/