San Antonio Zoo’s Sky Ride Makes a Comeback

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An old black and white photo of the original San Antonio Skyride.
For nearly 40 years, it gave visitors a sweeping view of the downtown San Antonio skyline. Now, the Brackenridge Park skyride, slated for demolition this week (starting Feb. 19), is set to become scrap metal, and a symbol of the park’s past, along with a carousel, paddleboats and horse stables that once thrived there. THEN AND NOW Photo show view from Sunken Gardens of people in cool breeze on skyride.Brackenridge Park. 6/23/93 Express-News file photo. 93-1695

As the beacon of conservation, education, and entertainment in the heart of Texas, the San Antonio Zoo has been a cornerstone of the community since its inception in 1914. Known for its passion for wildlife and commitment to securing a future for animal species worldwide, the zoo has welcomed millions of visitors through its gates, offering them a unique glimpse into the wonders of the animal kingdom.

In recent years, the San Antonio Zoo has embarked on an ambitious journey of growth and improvement, transforming the zoo experience for visitors and animals alike. This journey has seen the introduction of several new attractions and the reimagining of existing ones. NEOTROPICA, the Will Smith Zoo School, and Wild Australia are just a few of the innovative offerings that have come to life, enhancing the educational and entertainment value of the zoo. Furthermore, the zoo has recently broken ground on Congo Falls, a state-of-the-art gorilla habitat, and announced the upcoming Ralson, set to be the premier event center in San Antonio, both opening in 2025.

Amidst these modernizations, the San Antonio Zoo remains deeply rooted in the preservation of its history and the historical significance of its surroundings. Buildings like the historic Donkey Barn and Monkey House have been carefully restored, and in 2019, Kiddie Park was saved from sale and moved to the zoo grounds, further enriching the zoo’s cultural heritage.

One of the most exciting developments in the zoo’s recent history is the planned return of the iconic Sky Ride. This nostalgic journey, which operated from 1964 to 1999, offered riders unparalleled views of Brackenridge Park, the Japanese Tea Gardens, and the stunning downtown skyline. Its return has been eagerly anticipated by the community, reflecting a strong emotional affinity for the ride and the memories it helped create.

The new Sky Ride concept aims to reconnect the zoo with The Pearl, a thriving cultural and culinary hub, via an all-new aerial journey. This plan includes creating stations at the Zoo Parking Garage and near The Pearl, incorporating replica gondolas that pay homage to the original ride. The 15-minute journey promises breathtaking views into the zoo’s future expansion area, Alamo Stadium, Brackenridge Park, and beyond, offering a unique perspective on the city’s landscape.

This initiative is a testament to the San Antonio Zoo’s commitment to growth, innovation, and the preservation of history. It symbolizes a bridge between the past and the future, offering new generations the chance to create their own cherished memories.

As part of the San Antonio Zoological Society, the zoo operates with a mission to inspire the community to engage with, act for, and protect animals and their natural habitats. It stands as a model of conservation and education, operating the largest nature-based preschool in the country, the Will Smith Zoo School, and leading initiatives in animal care and wildlife protection.

Plan Your Visit to the San Antonio Zoo

The return of the Sky Ride is just one of many reasons to visit the San Antonio Zoo. Whether you’re a long-time resident or a first-time visitor, the zoo offers an array of attractions and experiences that connect people with the natural world in an engaging and meaningful way. From hands-on educational programs to close encounters with exotic wildlife, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

We invite you to explore the wonders of the San Antonio Zoo and support its mission to secure a future for wildlife. Plan your next adventure at San Antonio Zoo and experience the beauty, diversity, and wonder of the animal kingdom. Join us in celebrating the rich history and bright future of one of Texas’ most beloved attractions.