HometownMcLennan County


Cameron Park Zoo using social media to take visitors behind the scenes while zoo remains closed

Posted at 6:14 PM, Mar 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-26 19:25:22-04

WACO, TX — Cameron Park Zoo and AZA-accredited facilities across the U.S. have adopted the tagline: #closedbutstillcaring. The goal? To remind people that even though a zoo may be temporarily closed, our animal friends are still getting the care they need.

“Making sure to spend a little extra time with the animals. Keeping them engaged with enrichment. We are getting some extra training in to keep them interacting with us since they are not necessarily seeing those visitors everyday,” said Manda Butler.

Thanks to social media access like Facebook Live, zookeepers are taking individuals behind the fences to watch as the animals are fed and stimulated throughout the day.

“If it’s a day that we were going to talk about bears or orangutans, that keeper still does that chat. It makes an opportunity that actually we are really enjoying because we are able to take y'all behind the scenes to see some of the different things we do,” said Butler.

Rachel Ballard and her three-year-old daughter were regular visitors to the Cameron Park Zoo and are beyond excited to see their animal friends on screen.

“Immediately when a video comes, she's right behind me on the couch ready to watch a video so we love it. Like I said, we go so frequently that we pretty much know every animal. So this has enhanced our experience and we get these one-on-one encounters that we normally wouldn’t get,” Ballard said.

The Ballard family is now using the videos for interactive learning and a source of education while Central Texas remains under the shelter in place order.

“It provides an education program for your children. Instead of turning on cartoons, we have the ability to share something positive, to share something that is going to benefit them," said Ballard.

The Cameron Park Zoo is partially funded by the City of Waco, but a majority of their budget comes from visitors and donations. If you would like to a give to Cameron Park Zoo, click here.