Atlanta’s oldest cultural attraction began the day a circus came to town – and never left. In March 1889, a traveling show bound for Marietta, Georgia, stalled just south of its destination when cash flow problems forced its owner into bankruptcy. Left to languish in their cages by defecting circus employees, the animals began to draw crowds of curious onlookers. Two weeks later, businessman George Valentine Gress purchased the collection at public auction and donated the animals en masse to the city of Atlanta. City leaders relocated them to picturesque Grant Park, a favorite local picnic and promenade destination. Featuring a jaguar, a hyena, a black bear, a raccoon, an elk, a gazelle, a Mexican hog, lionesses, pumas, camels and snakes, Atlanta’s first zoological venue opened to the public that April. Over a century removed from its circus origins, Zoo Atlanta has evolved from a quaint picnic stop where people gawked at wild animals to a modern-day destination seeking to teach the public about its animal ambassadors and work for the preservation of their wild counterparts.
Member of American Bus Association, National Tour Association, Georgia Motorcoach Operators Association, Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau, Atlanta Metro Travel Association and Travel South, Named "Industrial Partner of the Year" 2008 by the Gwinnett County Convention and Visitor's Bureau