Hello from Austin, Texas by way of rural Western Massachusetts. I don't like using my real name on forums, so you can call me "Zygodactyl," "Zyg," or "Z.". I was googling in frustration as to why metropolitan Austin, with a population of 2 million, doesn't have a proper AZA zoo, when Abilene, with a population 1/10th of Austin does, and came across this thread. I realized that this might be a good place for someone like me. While there are some animals which are interesting enough to see multiple times (especially birds, hence the username), I really like finding new animals, both ones that I've heard of and ones that I haven't. I went to the San Diego Zoo two years ago and it was transformative both because I got to see kagus, bonobos, and kiwis, and because I learned about turacos, mousebirds, and couas. The kagus were particularly exciting because I didn't realize anyone had them. This has raised my hope that some of the many other species I've long wanted to see but never thought to see in North America might also be found hidden away in zoos behind the lions and giraffes and gorillas. And my discovery of turacos and mousebirds taught me that there were whole orders of birds I was unaware of. (I've since gone over the Wikipedia pages on bird orders several times, and am confident I know them all, but I'm not even close to knowing all the bird families.) Interestingly, I realized the area from which I originally hail doesn't have an AZA zoo either despite having the population for one (and neither does Central Mass or Greater Hartford despite even greater populations), however the (ZAA-accredited) Zoo at Forest Park and the fact I often got to visit the Bronx Zoo and New England Aquarium were sufficient for me as a child. Especially the Bronx Zoo. I've always had a weird love for monophyletic taxa, and I therefore loved seeing the okapis and red pandas at the Bronx Zoo. My home area also has the Lupa Zoo, which has a reasonably impressive collection for a zoo built by a private collector in the latter part of the 20th century, but there's at least one very obvious reason (enclosure sizes) that it doesn't even have ZAA accreditation. I'm also staunchly pro-private possession of exotic animals (though I don't currently have any animals myself) and the existence of an exotic pet forum suggests that many members of this forum do not agree with the "wild animals belong in the wild except for certified educational and conservation programs such as zoos" line that every AZA zoo tour guide ever seems compelled to recite. (I recently read through the entire accreditation standards for both the AZA and ZAA and the AZA's hatred of exotic animals in private hands shines palatably through all the bureaucratese.) Any rate, I'm excited to be here on these forums. There's three AZA zoos within a three-hour drive of Austin, in Waco, San Antonio, and Houston (in increasing order of distance). I'm thinking I might visit them in that order, building up to Houston, which appears to have the largest collection of turacos in the US, but is also both furthest away from Austin and has the worst weather.