Caldwell Zoo is the culmination of one man’s vision and love of children. It started in 1937 when David King Caldwell opened a Child Development Laboratory for pre-school aged children in his home. The playschool—complete with donated parrots, monkeys, squirrels and more—was a huge hit that soon grew to host a variety of animals and span a patchwork of buildings and land. Mr. Caldwell’s vision of a proper zoo for the children of east Texas was realized in 1953 when the “Caldwell Children’s Zoo” officially opened on the site the Caldwell Zoo utilizes today. Early zoo residents included a lion and chimpanzee that had retired from careers in television.
Caldwell Zoo is cherished by the people of east Texas and beyond as a beautiful, fun place for children and adults to learn about wildlife—a place made possible by Mr. David King Caldwell.