Gladys Porter Zoo – Brownsville, TX

Work camping is a popular life style in many campgrounds, both public and private.  RV Resorts are no exception.  Basically work camping is trading your time for free or reduced lot fees.  Some work campers are paid in addition to having a free site.  Here at Llano Grande RV Park, Lonny and Patti arrange tours and field trips for whatever is of interest to the RV Parks Winter Texans.  Phoebe has a passion for the zoo in Brownsville, and on occasion helps with the zoo tour.  A group of us went on a  behind the scenes VIP tour at the Gladys Porter Zoo, Phoebe was our point person.

The zoo staff was genuinely grateful for our interest in their facility.  The history of Gladys Porter and her love for preserving endangered animals made for a great backdrop of why the zoo was established.  Back in the day Gladys was doing alright, her father, Earl C. Sams, had been President and Board Chairman of the J.C. Penney Company for over 30 years.  FYI – The animal’s grocery bill alone is close to a hundred thousand dollars a month.

On average 430,000 people visit the 31-acre zoo annually.  It’s owned by the city of Brownsville, and it is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.  The accreditation is a big deal, only ten percent of zoos have attained the strict criteria. Sharing animals with other zoo’s is easier if you are dealing with an accredited organization. I got the impression that a zoo needs to track a lot of data in addition to health records when it comes to sharing.

Our VIP tour included riding on a tram, petting and feeding some of the animals, and a light lunch with a parrot. “Polly want a cracker?”  Personally, I was most impressed by the white rhino.  He was on loan from another zoo.  To help facilitate physical checkups the handlers will use voice commands, and run their hands over the animals.  With the aid of some grass hay, the zoo handler talked a male rhino towards the stockade gate.  When he was grazing quietly, we were allowed to pet him.  Rhino’s feel like rough leather, surprise surprise.  Feeding the camels, giraffes, and Galapagos tortoise was also pretty cool.  After our lunch we were released to freely check out the exhibits at our own pace.

The question, “How right is it to cage up an animal?” will sometimes rests on my frontal lobe.  Doesn’t everyone, including animals want freedom? Running wild in a natural environment is freedom, right?  Heck, thirty-five years ago I was running wild in a natural environment.  However, back then my self-will-run-riot attitude had me heading for certain extinction.  Was that freedom?  Should cats and dogs be tied up, or held behind locked doors?  Should humans try and preserve the extinction of animals due to overzealous expansion?  God gave Adam the authority over all animals.  How wrong can zoos be?

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A good day in South Texas, is a VIP tour of The Gladys Porter Zoo.

Click here for Llano Grande RV Resort information

Click here for Gladys Porter Zoo website

3 thoughts on “Gladys Porter Zoo – Brownsville, TX

  1. Hey, Deb and Dan! I sure am enjoying all your fabulous posts and photos. Despite the snow and cold here, I feel like I am actually with you there! Thanks for allowing me the opportunity to escape to another time and place. I am seeing the world through your eyes. From the looks of it – Living in Eternity is the place to be!!

    Now…I have a healing prayer request. Please join me in praying for a dear friend,* Mark Nelson* who is battling liver cancer. We worked together at the Ford plant for 30 years. Mark was one to ALWAYS stand up against injustice in the workplace and injustice in the world. You couldn’t ask for a better union person. He had everyone’s back and was always there for whoever needed him.

    Bam and I, along with some of our former coworkers gathered with him right before Christmas. We gathered to show our love, support and solidarity. His wife, Cheryl Nelson has activated a* CaringBrige* page. If you get some time, you can read his story there.

    Deb and Dan – we are all praying for a miracle! Please join the army of prayer warriors to restore Mark’s health and well-being. Many thanks and blessings to you both. Love you! Mare

    On Mon, Jan 20, 2020 at 8:37 AM Living In Eternity wrote:

    > Dan Bohn posted: “Work camping is a popular life style in many > campgrounds, both public and private. RV Resorts are no exception. > Basically work camping is trading your time for free or reduced lot fees. > Some work campers are paid in addition to having a free site. Her” >


    1. Mare – sorry to hear about your friend Mark. He is lucky to have wonderful friends and believers around him. Yes we will include him our healing prayers. Be well my friend. – Dan


  2. Hey Mare,
    We will pray for Mark and visit his Caring Bridge site. So glad you enjoy Dan’s blog. He does a great job with all of the technical stuff. Glad he enjoys it.


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