Frank Buck Zoo

What? Frank Buck Zoo

Spring/Summer Hours (April- Mid-August)
9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Last ticket sold at 4:30 pm

Fall/Winter Hours (Mid-August – April)
10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Last ticket sold at 3:30 pm

Where? 1000 W California St, Gainesville, TX 76240

Cost? Admission Rates

Children (1-12 yrs.)………$4.50

Active Military…………….$5.50

Seniors (55+)………………$5.50

Adults (13+)………………..$6.50

Flamingo Feeding  10:15 a.m. (6 years and up): $15.00 per person – 5 person maximum

Frank Buck Zoo, located off of 35W North in Gainesville, Texas, might be small but packs quite a punch. Inside the 30- plus acre zoo, you will find a wide range of animals and interactive activities. Outside of the zoo, you will find even more entertainment!

Leonard Park Playground, Gainesville

When we arrived at the zoo, the first thing my little ones noticed was the AMAZING Leonard Park playground, just across the parking lot.  The zoo and Park are all located in the same general area. We played for a few minutes, had a quick snack (I love this mix of snacks bars.) because outside food is not allowed into the zoo, and then walked back to Frank Buck Zoo. We noticed the train but didn’t know if it was running.

Frankie Schmitz Express Train, Gainesville

When we bought our tickets for the zoo, the employee informed us we should not miss the train’s last run, so we ran back out of the park. (If you have your wristband, you can go in and out of the park as often as you’d like for the day.)  The Frankie Schmitz Express Train is a ¼ replica of a steam engine and provides a tour around Leonard park. The train has so much character, and the Engineer played the part wonderfully. 


When we returned, it was finally time to tour the zoo. Upon entering, I was a little unsure what we would find. There didn’t look to be very many animals and the ones we could immediately see were Texas wildlife. I enjoy a tortoise and rabbit but was hoping for more out of the zoo.

IT DID NOT disappoint! We walked on and found cheetahs, an alligator and then a Texas Farm animal section where you can actually feed the goats. My kids had a blast!

Then, we found my favorite part: a HUGE wooden bridge that takes you around an enormous open field for the giraffes and zebras. There is a covered sitting area halfway through the bridge if you need a place to rest and have a drink. Outside beverages without commercial lids or straws are allowed (we love these Munchkin Miracle 360 Cups) We even got to see a kangaroo with a joey in her pouch! A definite first for me.

This place is deceptively huge. If you have little people who tire easily, I would recommend a stroller. I was really impressed with the diversity of animals, the cleanliness of the zoo and all of the activities to do in the areas outside of the zoo. Looking for a day trip destination not to far from DFW? Be sure to check out Frank Buck Zoo!

Your Out and About Friend,


What is your favorite exhibit at the zoo?

The Gist

Time and day we visited? Thursday afternoon

Level of crowds? Low

Restrooms? Yes- only for paid entry to the zoo. 

Cleanliness of Bathroom? Good

Recommended age? All

Food Options? Snacks for purchase in the gift shop

Allowed to bring in food and beverages? No, but you can easily eat at the park across the street and then walk over.

Stroller friendly? Yes

Safety concerns? None beyond normal awareness of a zoo

Coupons? None that we found.

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