I had seen the signs advertising Capital of Texas Zoo as we whizzed along Highway 71 East toward Bastrop several times. My curiosity piqued, I consulted the wisdom of yelp.com, where the few reviews glowed. So on a beastly hot Sunday afternoon, our family bestirred itself to the zoo.
My previous zoo experiences have been almost entirely urban and large – the San Antonio Zoo, the San Diego Wild Animal Park, the zoo in our former hometown of Greenville, South Carolina. To get to Capital of Texas Zoo, however, we turned off of 71 in Cedar Creek and drove four serpentine miles into what seemed like the middle of a horse pasture. “Is this a zoo for ranch animals?” my oldest inquired.
The answer turned out to be “not exactly.” This zoo, which in the last couple years has expanded its hours to 365 days per year, now houses five hundred animals. It’s a childhood dream come true for owner Michael Hicks, who runs the place with help from two full-time keepers, a corps of volunteers, and four teenaged Junior Keepers. Mr. Hicks designed the place to fulfill a dual mission of conservation and education, and he takes his Zoo Show on the road throughout the year.