GRAPELAND, TX (KTRE) - A popular East Texas tourist attraction is back up and running after a three-year absence.
The Grapeland Safari Park officially re-opened on July 5, but the park is just now seeing crowds.
The park is run by Nona Herring and her sons, with a little help from her granddaughter. Herring said the park, which is located right off of U.S. 287 just north of the Grapeland city limits, always makes drivers do a double take.
"They say, 'zebras in East Texas, look at those zebras or buffalo,"' Herring said.
Herring and her husband Wayne opened the park in 2005 after they retired and sold the Herring Wildlife Park in Jacksonville.
"He said he wasn't going to open back up," Herring said. "We were just going to have some animals, but it turned into it. We had people stopping and looking and asking questions."
The family closed down the park in 2011 after Wayne Herring started having medical issues. Wayne died in 2012, and Nona said she knew she needed to re-open the park.
"That was my husband's dream for us to keep it going," Herring said. "That's all we have ever known. Most of our married life, we were always in some kind of business; this twice and then a vegetable farm."
The park is spread out across 59 acres and holds around 200 animals.
"There are zebras, camels, llamas, buffalo, elk, yaks, Fallow deer, Sika deer, and many other species," Herring said.
Herring said the animals are always looking to show off and offer visitors a unique experience.
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