Guam’s only zoo brims with family fun

Clarabelle the carabao welcomes visitors as they first enter the Guam Zoo.

Guam’s only zoo brims with family fun

by: Tara K. Simpson
Stripes Guam Archives
published: March 30, 2014
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Beaches and water parks aren’t the only family oriented activities in Tumon Bay. Nestled among the high-rise hotels and condominiums along Pale San Vitores Road is the Guam Zoological, Botanical and Marine Garden.

Often referred to as Cushing Zoo by locals, it sports lush landscaping and an impressive array of animals. It is a true sanctuary in midst of the bustling tourist district of Guam.

Established 30 years ago, Guam’s only zoo is family owned and operated. The owners have watched as businesses, hotels and condominiums have risen nearby. The hallmark mission of the zoo is to provide Guam families an opportunity to see and learn about animals and their habitats.

Watching local and non-native creatures, patrons have a chance to experience a wide variety of birds, mammals, reptiles and marine life. Visitors will be impressed by the beauty and peacefulness of the zoo, which also borders the beaches of Tumon Bay. Zoo owners Jimmy and Barbara Cushing have worked hard to cultivate and maintain tranquility in the area.

On a hot, sunny day, families can enjoy the refreshing cool breezes off the water as they take time to visit and even feed some animals. Youngsters will find delight in tossing food to the eagerly waiting fish and other marine animals.

Amiable creatures at the zoo also include pigs, carabao, donkeys, llamas, rabbits, tropical birds, crocodile, goats and a black leopard just to name a few. Barbara Cushing explained the importance of including all of Guam’s native wildlife in the zoo. Great efforts were taken to obtain the ko’ ko bird and fruit bats.

In addition to the wildlife, marine and botanical life, the zoo also boasts an outdoor museum. There are numerous artifacts in the collection dating from the Latte Period of Guam, as well as a number of Pacific War relics on display.

Another unique feature of the zoo and proof of the owners’ desire to include something for each generation are the newly opened medicinal gardens.

Nellie Boyner of Andersen Officers’ Spouses’ Club Playgroup was pleasantly surprised on a recent zoo trip she organized: “It was much larger and more diverse than what I expected,” she said, echoing other mothers who made the trip with her.

With animals as friendly as the owners, all who visit will be sure to make many new friends. If one is craving a bit more excitement, be sure to call ahead for information about that day’s feeding schedule. The shark feeding event is an unforgettable experience!

During the school year, many educational groups frequent the park. The Cushings willingly accommodate field trips with a 20-percent discount on admission for school children. There’s 10 percent off for other large groups who make reservations. The zoo does not rely on federal grants or funding but only ticket sales and donations.

Guam Zoological, Botanical and Marine Garden is located right behind the Holiday Resort. It’s open daily, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. except on Christmas Day. Admission is $6.25 for ages 2 to 11 and $10 for ages 12 and up. For more information or reservations, Call 646-1477.