Welcome to the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo, Home of Animal Planet's The Little Zoo That Could

Our Story...

The Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo - opened in June 1989 as Zooland Animal Park. The zoo was founded as a private enterprise by Joey Ward of Gulf Shores. In 1991, the Ward family created the Zoo Foundation, Inc., a non-profit corporation, and donated the 17 acres of prime real estate that makes up the zoo today. Three years later, the Ward family and the Erie Meyer Foundation graciously donated an additional 13 acres, which are still undeveloped.

The zoo is tucked away just blocks from the beach and is home to more than 290 animals. Lions, tigers, bears, monkeys and macaws are just some of the creatures that inhabit this Gulf Coast oasis. There's also a petting zoo, reptile house, aviary and daily animal shows in the summer.

The Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo relies solely on admissions, memberships and contributions to remain in business. The local community and businesses have been generous in donating money, building supplies and services in years past. Substantial on-going funding through sponsorships, grants, and endowments from major corporations did not exist before 1998. These additional sources of revenue are now being actively pursued to ensure the zoo's longevity.

A Board of Directors governs the Zoo Foundation, Inc.

New Zoo Sign Highway 59
click image to enlarge

Our "Little Zoo" is headed to larger facility

"The Little Zoo That Could" will be in its new, larger digs by mid 2013, but the menagerie will retain the small-park charm that made it the star of a 2006 Animal Planet television series.


Cubs donated by Dr. Marcanclick image to enlarge


Zoo officials unveiled a billboard on Ala. 59 announcing the planned opening and introduced a pair of rare Bengal cubs that will make the zoo the only one in the country to boast a tiger in each of the species' four color variations. They also showed off a hurricane-resistant building intended to prevent any reruns of the events that thrust the nonprofit park into the limelight.

Click here for the full story.

We would like to thank Dr. Marcan, of the Marcan Tiger Preserve for the donation of these cubs honoring Clyde Weir and his daughter Andrea Weir Franklin for their 25 acre land donation on Baldwin County 6, just east of Ala. 59, so the zoo could move from its flood-prone home.

Take a moment to watch our amazing video promoting our adventure to become the first green zoo built from the ground up...on the planet! Click here: Amazing Green Zoo 


Zoological Association of America Member

The Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo is operated by the Zoo Foundation, Inc.,
a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.