Gladys Porter Zoo celebrates 50th anniversary with 1971 admission prices


BROWNSVILLE, Texas (ValleyCentral) — September 3 marks the 50th anniversary of the opening of Gladys Porter Zoo and the staff are excited to celebrate by taking the community back to 1971.

Zoo Executive Director Pat Burchfield said the 1971 admission fees will be available for everyone. 

“Those original prices were $1.50 for adults which would be people 14 years of age and older,” he said.  

Kids ages 2 through 13 will have an admission rate of $.50 cents and anyone under the age of 2 will be admitted for free. 

Burchfield said there is a variety of eco-regions throughout the zoo to give kids and adults the opportunity to learn more about the wildlife. 

Burchfield said throughout the years the Zoo has expanded and improved for the better. 

He said the zoo’s growth has been an exciting journey. 

“The interesting and exciting thing about this is that our zoo remains one of the top zoos in the country if not the world and we have to maintain that standard,” said Burchfield. 

Burchfield said he witnessed the ribbon-cutting ceremony of the zoo and is now excited to experience its 50th anniversary.

To ensure that everyone has a great experience, zoo staff put together a schedule that gives everyone a selected visitation timeline.

  • September 3rd through the 5th – Brownsville residents 
  • September 10th through the 12th – Cameron and Willacy County residents
  • September 17th through the 19th – Hidalgo and Starr County residents 
  • October 8th through 10th – non Rio Grande Valley residents

On the day of visitation, all visitors are expected to show proof of residency by bringing a driver’s license, utility receipt, or school ID. At least one family member is required to show proof of residency at the gate.

Burchfield shared that the city of Brownsville is working closely with the zoo and already have a master plan in the works for the next 50 years.

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