Since the Gladys Porter Zoo opened in 1971, it has never been the home to nurse sharks, which can grow up to 13 feet. The Zoo is excited to announce that they have added two males to their collection last month. These two male nurse sharks were brought from the Mississippi Aquarium and are now living in the 30,000 gallon Gulf of Mexico tank found in the Russell Aquatic Ecology Center. The sharks are about five feet long and are definitely larger than any other species the zoo has ever housed.
“They are very much like house cats: they like to relax on the bottom of the ocean, often in groups of two to five and sometimes lying right on top of one another,” states Senior Aquarist, Dan Goggin.
Just like they enjoy lounging at the bottom of the Gulf and Atlantic Ocean, they enjoy doing the same here-you will often be able to get a great view of them because of this, and they are a sight to see. The zoo encourages the public to go and visit them.
And since the Zoo is so excited to add them to their collection, they need the public’s help to name them. The Zoo’s aquarium staff selected several names, and now they are asking everyone to vote on their favorite name. The following are the names to choose from: Oscar, Fred, Silver, Hercules, Poseidon, Butch and Sundance. All those who want to participate can visit their website, www.gpz.org, and cast their vote starting March 5th. The two names with the highest votes will be selected.
In addition to this exciting news, and with spring and daylight savings time quickly approaching, the Zoo staff decided it is time to have some fun and enjoy the sunshine, so it will be open daily from now until April 4th.
From March 5th to March 13th, Zoo hours will be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and from March 14th to April 4th, the Zoo will extend its weekend hours to 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
The Zoo will still have limited capacity, so reservations are recommended for all guests, including, Gladys Porter Zoo Members. Walk-ups will be accepted as long as the time slot is not sold out. If the slot is full, guests will have to wait a few minutes until the next time slot, approximately 10 to 15 minutes.
Safety measures that were implemented when the Zoo re-opened on June 8th will remain in place. To limit the spread of COVID-19, facial coverings are required upon entry for guests ages six and up. They are also required when inside buildings and within six feet of other guests or staff. Tickets can be purchased online to limit contact at the gates. A one-way route around the Zoo is still in effect to better allow for social distancing.
For more information, call (956) 546-7187 or visit www.gpz.org.