The Abilene Zoological Gardens is a small 16acre zoo located in Abilene, Texas. The zoo has over 1,000 animals representing over 250 species. Attendance for 2013 was 224,000.Abilene zoo has been an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) since 1985. The zoo participates in the AZA Reciprocal Admissions Program, allowing members to obtain free or reduced admissions at many other American zoos.The zoo is primarily funded by the City of Abilene and the Abilene Zoological Society.HistoryIn 1985, the zoo first received accreditation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums .In 2006, $1.1 million was raised through a bond issue for zoo improvements. This bond funded converting part of the Discovery Center into the Creepy Crawly Center, expansions to the giraffe exhibit and the parking lot, and creating a South American Trails exhibit, the Wetlands Boardwalk, and the Elm Creek Backyard exhibit.In 2007, one of the zoos elephants died at age 49 amidst some controversy over conditions for the elephants at the zoo, and the other was sent to the Cameron Park Zoo in Waco, Texas. The elephant exhibit was then turned into an exhibit for black rhinoceroses. The new $3.7 million Adventure Center and the new Creepy Crawler Center were also opened in 2007.In 2008, the zoo saw the opening of the maned wolf exhibit, which was initially home to a mother and son acquired from the Wild Canid Survival and Research Center in Eureka, Missouri.
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