Starting as a small, community zoo in 1989 called “Zooland Animal Park” in the heart of Gulf Shores, The Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo has gone through challenges and triumphs to become the amazing new zoo that stands today. After a devastating hurricane, Ivan hit the Gulf Coast, the zoo gained national attention on an Animal Planet series titled; “The Little Zoo that Could” inspiring viewers to visit the Gulf Coast and offer support to the lovely little zoo and its 300 charming animals.

 After the zoo is gifted 25 acres of land in 2007, the dreams and vision of the new zoo was becoming a reality! Designing and building a new multi-million dollar facility is a complicated endeavor, and over the ensuing years, the enormous resources and commitments required by a non-profit zoo made it very difficult. Through Great Recessions, hurricanes, and oil spills- the zoo was able to be a beacon of hope and a source of joy to lift spirits for locals and visitors of the Gulf Coast. By the end of 2019, the new Zoo has opened its doors to new activities, adventures, and experiences that are sure to inspire and excite the new visitors of the zoo that grew! “We have been working on this move for many years but the last couple of years has focused on the development of the new piece of property, securing funding to build the new zoo, and getting the vision into the ground.” Said Executive Director, Joel M Hamilton.

 The new zoo scene will have an adventure at every turn! The new property includes breathtaking views starting from the main “Jurassic Park” entrance, to the gorgeous lakes and monkey islands, giraffe feeding stations, Butterfly observation post, luxurious event spaces, and a unique culinary experience at the Safari Club restaurant.

 The Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo is sure to spark new experiences and educational opportunities throughout the uniquely designed landscape starting with a diverse collection of animals and a friendly staff committed to great animal welfare and guest experience. The new zoo will also include experiences such as hands-on animal encounters, a safari ride through the outback, an old-fashioned carousel, and a thrilling zip-line attraction allowing guests to soar 1200 feet in the air over the zoo. There will be a number of opportunities for guests to learn about the environment and conservation as well as the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo stays at the forefront of conservation and sustainability as a fully operational green zoo.

 The new space includes a number of venues to host groups or events. The newest event center is a large covered area that can host larger group settings. They will also use the event center for animal presentations to further the educational entertainment. Another beautiful group venue includes the Savannah Manor building that is designed in a European manner that one may have found on the African plains. This beautiful venue is next to one of the large ponds and can host small parties and even weddings. Other areas throughout the zoo can host groups for a variety of purposes in unique outdoor settings.

 The Safari Club Restaurant is also a unique experience where diners can enjoy gourmet food and listen to the peaceful sounds of the zoo.  This full-service restaurant was the first green-certified kitchen in Alabama. Executive chef Greg Buschmohle and his team have created an intriguing and satisfactory internationally inspired menu to bring an exciting new dining experience. Serving “Herbivores-Omnivores & Carnivores” the menu brings delightful steak and seafood, “over the top” Vegan and Vegetarian options, and even specialty cocktails at BAR TUSK- overlooking the expanse of the new zoo. Guests are welcome to visit the Safari Club which is open after hours even when the Zoo is not open to the public.  

Plan a day to visit the new and improved, Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo. Your friends and family are sure to be amazed by the breathtaking views throughout the entire facility, comfortable interaction with the zoo team, and even some new animal friends! Visit the little zoo that grew once and become part of the Alabama Gulf Coast zoo family or life. 


Michelle Little, Head Keeper

How long have you been with the little zoo?

I started at the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo in 2004.

 What animals do you typically work with?

I’ve worked in all the keeping departments, but I’ve spent most of my time working with the reptiles.

 How has the process been transitioning the animals to the larger zoo?

We haven’t started relocating yet, but our staff and volunteers are working around the clock getting everything ready for the big move.

 What kind of things do the keepers and team, work together to do to ensure a less stressful experience for the animals?

Our keepers have been hard at work training our animals in preparation for the move. Many of our animals, for example, have learned to shift into a crate on cue, and that training will make the move less stressful for everyone involved.

 Are you going to be taking care of more/new animals?

I’ve already been involved with our new giraffe, which has been a great experience! I never thought I’d have that opportunity, and I’m sure there will be many more surprises to come.

 What are you most excited about for the new zoo?

I’m looking forward to having room to grow! We spent so many years in a very confined space that didn’t really allow room for expansion. Our new location will allow us to offer fun new experiences for animals and humans alike.

101 Things to Do in Perdido Key

From adventurous water activities to relaxing sunset vibes, explore Perdido Key and plan your island getaway with things to do for everyone! 101 Things to Do in Perdido Key includes links to some of the local's favorite activities, dining, and entertainment in the...

Bird Watching in Perdido Key

The Perdido Area is a bird’s paradise! From nature trails to beach habitats, birding in the Perdido Area is a huge pastime for visitors and locals alike! The diversity of habitats ranging from pinewoods to beaches and saltwater to open woodlands make an attractive...

Day Tripping in the Perdido Area

Going to or from Perdido Key, You Can Discover some of the best day trips around!Gulf Shores & Orange Beach, Alabama Sitting just on the other side of the state-line is Perdido’s friendly, neighboring cities- Orange Beach and Gulf Shores, AL! With many great...

Inshore and Offshore Fishing in Perdido Key

One of the most amazing and unique aspects of Perdido Key is the extensive and diverse recreational fishing opportunities. Whether you bring your boat, charter local guide service, use a kayak, or simply stand on the bank with a rod, there are fish in reach all year...

Wildlife in Perdido Key

Perdido Key is known for inhabiting vast amounts of different wildlife and keeping the area natural and safe to cohabitate with its original residents! Perdido Key Beach Mouse The Perdido Key Beach mice inhabit the coastal dunes along with Perdido Key in both Escambia...

Hiking Trails in Perdido

By: Rick O'Connor  Looking for discoveries and trails in the Perdido Key Area? Check out this list of seven unique trails in the area. Always remember to bring good shoes, as some of these trails could have portions of loose sand, and some could be wet. Also, be sure...

My Barkidiary: The Adventures of Rudder and Squirt Continue

By: Christina Steffen and Rudder   It’s been 2 years since I last wrote in my diary about my life in Perdido Key. Lots of things have changed. I’ve got a new brother…his name is Squirt. He’s a French Bulldog. That’s us in the picture! We love flying with our Dad...

Eden Condominiums and Chamber Stand Strong on the Key

By Ideaworks   Cynics scoffed 35 years ago when they heard about plans to build Eden Condominiums, the one-of-a-kind structure on Perdido Key.  “Too fancy,” they said. “Too far away.”  “It will never last,” they said. But Eden did indeed flourish and thrive...

History of Perdido, 1985-2020 “35 Years of Perdido Key”

1985 is a year some may remember as the year of Coca-Cola’s “New Coke”, Michael Jordan being named NBA’s Rookie of the year, the year of the first .com registered, the first version of Windows, and a series of Live Aid Concerts raising millions for famine in Africa....

Military Life in Perdido Key

By: Erin Wilmer   It was May 1989, I was 19 and checking into my first duty station. I can remember feeling alone and scared. After completing the check-in process, I walk into my barracks dorm that would be my home for the nextfour years. In the middle of the...