As longtime locals and experts on the Myrtle Beach area, we're often asked, ‘What are some of the area's best kept secrets?' And when we're asked, one of the things we often recommend is the Waccatee Zoo, or Waccatee Zoological Farm, to be exact.

The zoo is located within 500 acres of private, preserved and wooded property where the Waccamaw River, Intracoastal Waterway and Socastee Creek come together. Along the many winding trails, visitors to the zoo will find thousands of animals representing over 100 species from buffalo to zebra to lions, leopards, cougars and more. While one of our favorite residents happens to be Chico the chimpanzee, the large variety of animals makes it tough to pick just one.

Waccatee Zoo began over 20 years ago as a private collection of exotic and domestic animals, but today offers a delightful escape ‘beyond the beach' to families visiting the area-especially as it's just a 15 minute drive from downtown Myrtle Beach. The zoo is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., as long as weather permits, and is an affordable activity for families with prices set at $4 for ages 12 months to 12 years and $9 for ages 13 and older. Children under 11 months are not charged for visiting.

Lastly, the zoo also makes for a nice activity for any groups visiting the area, and discounts are offered for groups over 15, though reservations must be made at least one week in advance. Be sure to check out their website for additional contact info and location information.

Waccatee Zoo