Gladys Porter, who was responsible for administering the funds from a foundation that her late father established, decided that the Rio Grande Valley should have a zoo. The foundation planned, built, stocked, equipped the zoo then turned it over to the city of Brownsville. Since the zoo was built in 1971, relatively recent for a zoo, most of the enclosures are fairly nice. It’s also been upgraded over the years but I still think that cats should have larger enclosures.
The zoo has a good collection of animals from the Americas, Asia, Australia, and Africa plus birds, fish and reptiles. The paths are nicely landscaped and shady.
Most of the zoo is accessible but some of the enclosures have fencing that partially blocks the view for visitor using wheelchairs. A few ramps are very steep but there’s usually an alternate viewing area.
The main parking lot is small with low hanging branches at the entrance and has a fee. The one directly across Ringgold Road is free and much better for parking a RV.