Did You Know The El Paso Zoo Was Originally A Roadside Snake Show?
The Zoo that we know and love today grew from a very humble beginning 83 years ago.
The El Paso Zoo wasn't always the almost 40 acre animal sanctuary that we visit today to see a myriad of exotic and domestic animals. When it was founded in 1940, it doesn't sound like the El Paso Zoo even took up 1 acre.
It was basically a roadside tourist trap where peeps could stop and see some snakes and lizards. From there, step by step, inch by inch, it became the beautiful facility it is today.
According to the El Paso Zoo Facebook page,
Well in case you didn’t know, the El Paso Zoo was established in 1940, and began its existence as a reptile house and roadside attraction. Today, the El Paso Zoo is a modern institution dedicated to the standards of the American Zoo and Aquarium Association (AZA). The establishment of the Zoo as a recognized zoological institution began in the late 1950’s and we have been building on it ever since.
Here's a quick timeline:
- 1940 - Opened as a roadside reptile house.
- 1950 - They got an elephant. "Mona" was about 5 when she arrived and lived to be 46.
- 1965 - The first Veterinarian is hired. He gets the animals better food, care and looking better which draws more visitors.
- 1976 - The zoo became an official department of the City of El Paso and the (first) miniature train was installed.
- 1988 - The zoo was redesigned and broken up into sections based on where the animals were native to.
Since then, many remodeling and renovation projects have taken place and, soon, a new penguin exhibit will open.
The El Paso Zoo also has an annual Valentines day event where people can "feed their exes to the animals".