Day Trips: Sculpture Zoo, Waco

Spend the day with free-range animals by the Brazos River


photos by Gerald E. McLeod

The Sculpture Zoo in Waco invites visitors to get up close and personal with the animals.

Along a mile-long stretch of the hike-and-bike trail on the south bank of the Brazos River through downtown Waco are 28 artworks by 17 artists of animals either found in the city’s Cameron Park Zoo or native to Central Texas. The sculptures range from the whimsical to the ferocious.


Although most joggers and walkers on the sidewalk seem oblivious as they pass the menagerie, everyone seems to have a favorite.

The Wise Elephant must be one of the top favorites. The large bronze African elephant by Arizona artist Trevor O’Tool sits on a bench contemplating the world much like Rodin’s Thinker.


A few steps down the trail is a bronze sculpture called Ely Playing with a Stick by Meg White of Indiana. This artwork has a backstory of a real-life elephant calf who was born unable to walk.

Mother-and-child bonding is a common theme expressed by the sculptures. Lioness With Cubs by Australian Tom Tischler is a feel-good piece, while Razak and Auntie, made of steel and concrete by artists Solomon Bassoff and Domenica Mottarella of California, depicts two orangutans that live in Cameron Park Zoo with a heartwarming story of a surrogate mother and the return of the mother-child relationship.

The Waco Sculpture Zoo is along the south bank of the Brazos River’s hike-and-bike trail, beginning just west of Washington Avenue and running west to Cameron Park. There are several turnouts for short-term parking along North University Parks Drive and a large parking lot at the western end of the Sculpture Zoo near the entrance to Cameron Park, one of the largest city parks in Texas with over 20 miles of trails, playgrounds, picnic areas, and the Cameron Park Zoo. To read the backstory of all the art, go to zoo.creativewaco.org.

1,689th in a series. Everywhere is a day trip from somewhere: Follow “Day Trips & Beyond,” a travel blog, at austinchronicle.com/daily/travel.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Sculpture Zoo, Waco, Cameron Park

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