Bayou Wildlife Zoo, Alvin

The Bayou Wildlife Zoo is a refreshing alternative to the manufactured entertainment venues which have been springing up in our area lately. . . Top Golf, Urban Air Park, etc. This is family-owned, on a wooded and savanna-like spread of land in Alvin with ponds and streams. Unlike packaged entertainment, animals on can be unpredictable (in a good way).

On nice days, the place is like a blissful garden of Eden, where animals from all around the world seem very happy to congregate in their spacious and natural habitat areas, lying down in the dappled wooded areas, or going into watering holes (water buffalo enjoy that total submersion). Lots of photo ops, but frankly both times I was too busy feeding animals to do it justice with my camera. Also Eden-like is that the animals are not afraid of you–they will casually step right up to you to take food from your bucket. Big chomping heads diving right in, and some will try to snatch the whole bucket, sending pellets flying, which is bound to provoke awe and laughter from children. The wide variety of animals, including lemurs, miniature ponies, a variety of deer and giraffes–the wild beauty of the landscape (I especially like the wooded parts) and feeling like this is a family owned farm–because it is–adds to the experience. You get to ride on a rustic tram with benches and receive a personal, very informative tour from the guide. There is a petting zoo area and a place for free pony rides. The ostriches and emus can be a bit aggressive, but they add some excitement. Wild deer show up too, and one stood around letting us pet her (really couldn’t tell if she was enjoying the pets from her expressionless face) and take pictures before high-tailing it over a fence.

This is truly a best kept secret in our area and I hope they stay open. So go! It is home to over 500 animals, all of whom seem well fed and happy. I have been twice and each time had a successful, unique family outing both times.