Day Trips

Local zoo committed to saving animals

Day Trips
Photo by Gerald E. McLeod

Austin Zoo and Animal Sanctuary on the southwestern outskirts of Austin has given 350 life-or-death stories happy endings. All of the residents have a story of how they were rescued by the sanctuary.

Opened in 1994, the zoo has survived its own growing pains over the years, but one thing that has never wavered is the commitment to the animals, says Patti Clark, the zoo's executive director and board president of the nonprofit organization that oversees the operation.

The 350 residents range from farm animals to big cats, birds to reptiles, and laboratory experiments to family pets. The zoo is their retirement home.

Babe is a Yorkshire pig nearly as large as a small car. He was a 4-H project, but when it came time to auction him to the slaughterhouse, the owner just couldn't do it. She and her mother helped pay for Babe's retirement, and they visit him often.

Jason is a red kangaroo who was living with two dogs in San Angelo when it was discovered that the city had an ordinance specifically against the ownership of marsupials. "They told us it was a wallaby," Patti says. He turned out to be one of the largest species of kangaroos and is now a favorite of visitors.

Austin Zoo and Animal Sanctuary is off Hwy. 290 W. at 10808 Rawhide Trail. For more information, call 288-1490 or go to

1,119th in a series. Collect them all. Day Trips, Vol. 2, a book of "Day Trips," is available for $8.95, plus $3.05 for shipping, handling, and tax. Mail to: Day Trips, PO Box 33284, South Austin, TX 78704.

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