Caldwell Zoo has been an integral part of Tyler since 1953. For decades, the zoo has provided an up-close view of a variety of animals from all around the world.

A $25,000 gift from longtime friends of the zoo will help further the facility’s growth. The donation is being made by the Coats-Reynolds family in honor of Dr. David Coats.

“Our family has always loved the Caldwell Zoo and we want to help them continue their mission,” said Emily Coats, a member of the donor family.

According to a statement from the zoo, the Coats and Reynolds family have been a part of Tyler for multiple generations and have been visiting the zoo since it first opened. The family says they want to end the year by helping the zoo continue to bring cheers to the community.

“The Coats family has a tremendous appreciation of wildlife and has shared many great memories at the Caldwell Zoo,” said Caldwell Zoo’s brand director Paul Swen. “So, they pledged $25,000 to help the zoo continue our mission to care for animals, specifically cheetahs.”

The love of animals is a family tradition. Catherine Reynolds and Jason Coats, the daughter and son of David and Emily, remember going to the zoo as kids. They said DK Caldwell, the zoo’s founder, would greet the them and pass out silver dollars.

“This generous donation will make a real difference,” Swen said. “The Caldwell Zoo has become a leading facility in breeding the endangered African cheetah. Plans are underway to expand our cheetah breeding facility and this donation will really help to bring those plans to fruition.”

Swen said that with the donation, the zoo hopes to expand the facilities, so they can do more to help save these cheetahs from extinction.

“Future generations will be able to visit the Caldwell Zoo and connect with wildlife,” Swen said. “We are so very grateful to the Coats-Reynolds families for making 2020 something special and something good.”

In fact, the love of animals continues with Dr. Coats’ granddaughter, Valerie Reynolds. Valerie is in her fourth year of veterinary school at Colorado State University.

“He was like Santa Claus,” Emily said. “The zoo is just such a special place. We have a lot of great memories from there. So, we want to do something that will really help the zoo, help wildlife and maybe inspire the Tyler community.”

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