Thousands celebrate zoo namesake's birthday

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GAINESVILLE, TX -- Thousands took advantage of the gorgeous weather Wednesday, and headed out to the Frank Buck Zoo for a birthday celebration.

Zoo go-ers celebrated Gainesville born animal enthusiast, and zoo namesake, Frank Buck's birthday.

The zoo has been a Gainesville icon for more than 50 years. Today would have been Frank Bucks 129th birthday.

More than 2,700 visitors not only learned more about him today, but they helped with the effort to bring more animals and exhibits to the park.

The newest exhibit in the works is the Asia exhibit. It'll hold two female Clouded leopards from the rain forest in Asia. Zoo director Susan Kleven says the leopards are set to make their appearance very soon.

"I've been working on bringing leopards to Gainesville because leopards are the mascot here in Gainesville, for a number of years. These are highly endangered cats that are very hard to come by. So, we're really lucky to be able to house these Clouded Leopards here at Frank Buck Zoo," Kleven said.

"We've never been up here and had always seen signs for it, and didn't know what to expect, but this is outstanding. We really liked how close you could get to the giraffe. It just walked right up to the bridge that you can stand on. So, it was really really neat," visitor Stuart Birdseye said.

Visitors can feed that giraffe every morning at 10:30. Kleven also says a great time to visit the zoo is in the morning, because that's when the animals are most active.

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