Big cities don’t necessarily have the best zoos. One of the best-run and highly acclaimed zoos in the state is Tyler ’s Caldwell Zoo (2203 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., 903/593-0121, www.caldwellzoo.org , 9 a.m.– 5 p.m. Mar.–Labor Day, 9 a.m.–4 p.m. in the off-season, $8.50 adults 13–54, $7.25 seniors, $5 children 3–12).
What started in 1938 as a backyard menagerie of squirrels and parrots for schoolchildren has evolved into an 85-acre zoo containing more than 2,000 animals representing species from East Africa, North America, and South America. Animals on display in naturalistic habitats include monkeys, rhinos, elephants, giraffes, cheetahs, and mountain lions.