Caldwell Zoo has more than 3,400 animals in North American, South American, and East African habitats.
Caldwell Zoo welcomes over 300,000 visitors every year to see their thousands of animals from all around the world.
“Some of the highlights would be African elephants, reticulated giraffes, of course the lion and we have two white tigers,” said Paul Swen, Director of Communications at Caldwell Zoo. “We have incredible collection of birds from all around the world.”
According to Swen, the Caldwell Zoo is very nature-based and interactive and the whole idea of the zoo is to connect people with animals in a way that will create memories.
So what better way to create memories with animals than a night hike at the zoo?
That’s right! After the sun goes down, Caldwell Zoo is inviting a group of people to hike around the zoo (in the complete dark) to experience life at the zoo.
“So the whole premise behind the night hike is to offer something new and different,” said Swen. “So the guests are the only ones in the zoo and they get to experience special animal encounters that only happen at night.”
Night Hikes are only offered on select Friday nights and are open to people ages 6 and up. And don’t let the name ‘Night Hike’ scare you, it’s not a strenuous hike.
“The night hikes were made for everybody,” said Swen. “From little kids to grandpas. Think about it as a walk in the park. That’s what we’re doing, so it’s friendly!”
You must reserve your spot for a Night Hike before the event because at least 15 total people must be signed up for the event to happen.
So, what do you do during a night hike?
“A typical night hike is our guides met our guests and escort them back to the African overlook,” said Swen. “There’s refershments, and once everybody’s ready to go they take you to special animal encounters.”
You’ll get to see some of the animals in their barns, which is where they sleep at night, and then the guides take you through the outdoor paths of the zoo.
“Some of the animals don’t go into their barns at night, so you may pass a Cheetah that is watching you as you go by,” said Swen. “There’s also an array of birds, which some call at night, and they’re really living it up.”
Swen adds that one of the highlights for some guests is going inside the Herpetarium, known as the reptile house, and since a lot of reptiles are nocturnal, you may see a lot of them in their natural state.
“If you’ve been to the zoo a hundred times, you’ve never been to the zoo like this,” said Swen. “It’s so cool, it’s like a private zoo. It’s a totally different experience where all of your senses are working. It’s pretty amazing.”
Caldwell Zoo is located at 2203 West Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in Tyler.
Their hours of operation vary on the time of year.
They’re open from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. from after Labor Day until February.
They’re open from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. from March until Labor Day.
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