Frank Buck Zoo

Coordinates: 33°37′18″N 97°09′15″W / 33.621678°N 97.154203°W / 33.621678; -97.154203
Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Frank Buck Zoo
Frank Buck Zoo, Gainesville, Texas, USA-31July2010.jpg
Zoo entrance (photo July 2010)
33°37′18″N 97°09′15″W / 33.621678°N 97.154203°W / 33.621678; -97.154203
Date openedOpened in 1930 at Fair Park, Gainesville and relocated to present site in 1962
LocationGainesville, Texas, United States
No. of animals130+[1]
Annual visitors65,000 (2009)[2]

Frank Buck Zoo is a small zoo founded in 1930 and located in the 30 acres (12.1 ha) Leonard Park in Gainesville, Texas, United States. The zoo started as the Gainesville Community Circus in 1930. It is home to more than 130 animals.


The zoo was founded by A. Morton Smith as Gainesville Community Circus, and opened in 1930 at the Cooke County Fair, Fair Park, in Gainesville. A fire at the zoo in 1954 destroyed circus equipment and from 1954 the animals were kept permanently in enclosures. In 1954 the zoo was renamed after the film actor and director (and Gainesville native) Frank Buck, who collected wild animals from all over the world, and who also worked as a ring master at the zoo.[1]

The zoo was moved to its current location in Leonard Park[4] in 1962.[1]

The Frank Buck Exhibit opened at the zoo in March 2008 showing items donated by Buck's daughter, Barbara Buck, that once belonged to her father including camp tools and media memorabilia.[1]

In 2020, Frank Buck Zoo won an award from the ZAA for their renovated prairie dog enclosure. [5]


The handicap and stroller accessible path around the zoo is about a mile long, with an elevated walkway over the Bennet's and swamp wallaby and the African savanna, with giraffe, common ostrich, helmeted guinea fowl and Nubian ibex.[6] Visitors see the giraffes at eye level and can feed them during the public feeding every day.[7] Frank Buck Zoo is also home to many other different species of animals from across the world, with Asian small clawed otters, Chilean flamingos, American black bears, and many other animals.


  1. ^ a b c d "Frank Buck Zoo: History". Frank Buck Zoo. Archived from the original on 11 July 2011. Retrieved 21 August 2010.
  2. ^ Trigg, Delania (17 March 2010). "Spring Break means more visitors to Frank Buck Zoo". Gainesville Register. Retrieved 21 August 2010.
  3. ^ "Accredited Facilities". ZAA. Retrieved June 2, 2022.
  4. ^ "Leonard Park and Frank Buck Zoo". City of Gainesville. Archived from the original on 5 May 2011. Retrieved 21 August 2010.
  5. ^ "Zoological Association of America - ZAA 2020 Award Winner: Exhibit Award of Excellence". Retrieved 2022-05-31.
  6. ^ McLeod, Gerald (9 May 2008). "Small-town zoo named for big-time animal man". The Eagle. Retrieved 21 August 2010.
  7. ^ "Bringing Students Closer To Nature". Frank Buck Zoo. Retrieved 21 August 2010.

External links