The Gladys Porter Zoo is a visitor-oriented zoological and botanical park, dedicated to the preservation of nature through education, conservation and research. The Gladys Porter Zoo opened to the public on September 3, 1971. The facility was completely planned, built, stocked, equipped and then given to the City of Brownsville by the Earl C. Sams Foundation.
An average of 432,000 local people and tourists visit the Zoo annually, with an attendance exceeding 500,000 in the year 2014.
The Gladys Porter Zoo is located on 31-acres in central Brownsville, Texas. Additional Zoo facilities include: Administrative office, Education building, four concession stands, gift shop, maintenance facilities, animal diet kitchen, clinic and off-display breeding areas.
The Gladys Porter Zoo is owned by the City of Brownsville and is operated by the Board of Directors of the Valley Zoological Society. The Board of Directors is comprised of approximately 100 individuals who set Zoo policies and oversee that they are carried out in the best interest of the Gladys Porter Zoo and the purpose for which it was founded.
Gladys Porter Zoo has been an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) since 1978.