Waccatee Zoo! I love this place. For me, it is a slice of Heaven. It’s set in a natural wooded area with a hiking trail. Most zoos that we encounter have artificial, man-made plants and décor but, at Waccatee, it’s all God-made. This zoo is located in Socastee, South Carolina - just outside of Myrtle Beach.
I first brought my children here when they opened 25 years ago. They had just a few animals then, the birds (peacocks, ducks, and chickens) have the run of the place. They don’t bother the tourist and if anything, they seem to enjoy our presence. There used to be a duck that, when you sat down, he would come over and untie your shoe laces. When you tied them back, the little rascal would untie them again. He was such a delight.
The children have always loved coming here year after year, if for nothing else, to feed the animals. Waccatee provides a nutritionally balanced snack for the animals in decorative souvenir cups so their visitors can offer their furry pals treats along the trail. Since the zoo’s first opening many years ago, they’ve expanded and have grown into a beautifully magnificent place.
After my heart attack, I started coming once or twice a year, more when I can. I’ve used this zoo as a therapy-treat of sorts. At first, I brought my motorized scooter. A few years later, I’d bring a chair and rent a wagon in case I needed to sit down as I could only walk a few feet at a time. Now, this is the first year, I’ve managed to walk the entire park (a 2-3 hour journey) without relying on assistance, which was my goal.
I’ve taken some pictures for you and I’ve numbered and labeled them so you can hopefully enjoy my experience that day through this virtual world; the computer. The first picture is a drawn map of the park so you can get an idea of how big it is.
1-3. As you drive into the park (parking area), to your right is a huge grassy meadow where buffalo and reindeer are kept
4. This is where you will enter to explore one of the greatest adventures in South Carolina, Waccatee Zoo.
5. If you’re lucky, you’ll get to meet Kathleen, she’s the owner and proprietor of Waccatee. Be sure to stop and say, “Howdy.”
6-9. While Mom and Dad are still paying to get in and hopefully, are purchasing some of those delicious animal treats; the kids will be exploring the snakes and birds kept inside the cool sheltered area.
10/11. Just as we were exiting the shelter house, we encountered a peacock. It is springtime and he had his feathers out and showing off big time. You can hear their mating calls all throughout the park.
12-15. Here is the star of the show; the one that started it all - Chico. He was a pet orangutan they have had for years. It is because of him that Waccatee Zoo was born. Chico is 29 years old and he has his own dome, jungle gym, and cable TV (picture 15). I’ve heard he loves General Hospital! He was watching Nickelodeon when we were visiting (he also loves Nick Jr.).
16-18. Right across from Chico are some goats. They have a variety of goats all throughout the zoo. You’ll see different pictures as we move along.
19. The Ostriches - The massive birds are so regally beautiful. There is a sow and some more goats between the ostriches and other goats but, I can’t find those pictures so … moving right along.
20. The jackass. I love this little guy. When he hears the visitors, he starts braying really loud. He wants you to come feed him. He must have been bad though because there is now a sign that says “Do not feed.” I’m saying he was bad because he hung his head as if to say he was sorry, the whole time we were there.
21. Shetland Ponies. They come to the fence, turn their heads side-ways, and open their mouths as wide as they can for you to feed them. They’re precious! Mom, I want a pony!
22-26. The Antique Shed. Inside here there are different models of cars, carriages, even a circus cart. There is a side door where they keep kangaroos, if they have them, which I didn’t see when I was there this time. It’s a large massive meadow area they can hop around in. Some lemurs are also in the antique shed, although, I could not get a decent enough picture of the little critters. They are cute though.
27. As you come out of the Antique Shed, you pass by some bovine, some of the wooded, White-tail Deer shelter, and the back of Chico’s play area. To the right of all this is the leopard Cage.
28. Across from the Leopard, Pigeon Sanctuary.
29/30. Little goats and Kids.
33/34. Clyde the Camel. He’s another longtime member of Waccatee Zoo. He knows he and Chico are the bosses. If you give Clyde any grief, he’ll hock up a lougie and spit it at you. He’s never done that to me though. I give him treats; he lets me scratch his nose. That’s the extent of our relationship. I love this camel.
35-37. Here’s some Turkeys and fuzzy looking prize chickens (The white one is a rooster - I know this because it’s springtime and he was cock-a-doodle-doing with his little chicken strut).
39/40. Coatimundi - I have no idea what this is other than to describe it as a raccoon the size of a small lab.
41. Zonkey! This little guy is a mixed breed from a Donkey and a Zebra. He’s also known to be “half-assed.”
42. Zebu - These are a breed of cattle known by their extensive horns and jowls.
43-45. Climbing Goats
47. Llamas. This little guy is another who will spit at you if you are ugly to him. There was a black one too and they were buddy-buddy. No matter how many other llamas were in the pen, those two stuck together. I don’t know where he is now; I meant to ask Kathleen.
49/50. The other end of the White-Tail Deer pen.
52. Gator (you can barely see his head popping out of the water).
53. Capybaras. Here’s a little history; These are the largest rodents on Earth. The Pope loves to eat them, so he changed the laws (that Adam wrote) and instead of rodents, he deemed them fish.
54. Bird Sanctuary.
55. Crane (close up view).
56-58. Turtles and fish.
59. Nature Walk.
60-65. Ducks, geese, and swans.
66. The Bridge that leaves the nature walk.
67. Mountain Goats
68. Pigs (I don’t know what those are behind their pen).
70. Miniature Horses
71. Black Bears
72. Enclosure for the animals
73-75. Tiger and tigress.
76. Turkey (There used to be a zebra named “Zig-zag” before the turkey, but I do not know where he is. He was so hilarious. He would not come to you for food but instead, he’d wait for you to leave to eat it. Even if you threw it to him over the fence, he would not budge an inch.).
77. Gold Headed Pheasant
78-85. A variety of Monkeys, Lemurs, and Baboons.
86. Simba, The Lion Cub (newest addition to the zoo).
87/89. Nala, Mother of Simba (I think dad was hiding in the back of this expansive cage).
90. Large Tortoise.
91. Rabbits (Some are for sale).
92. Baby alligators
93. Chico’s Dome. You see Chico’s play pen as you come off the trail.
94. Emus (Australian Ostrich).
95. Snacks for the animals.
As I said, “A slice of Heaven.” I love being here and each and every time I come, it’s always a new adventure for me. Thank you Waccatee Zoo, we love you!