TYLER, Texas (KETK) – Bears, deer and giraffes were only a few of the animals you could get a glimpse of at a now-closed Tyler museum.

In this week’s From the Archives report, we look back on the opening of Brookshire’s World of Wildlife Museum.

Brookshire’s founder, Wood T. Brookshire, and his wife Louise enjoyed travelling and often went on safaris. About 85% of the animals featured in the museum were from the Brookshire’s personal collection.

Former KETK reporter Ryan Joice reported on the museum’s opening back in 2001. The museum had two sections, a wildlife area with taxidermized animals like zebras and polar bears, and a room that captured what a Brookshire’s store would have looked like in the 1920’s.

Kids around East Texas would travel to the location, right in front of the Brookshire’s Headquarters, to see the exotic animals on display. A beloved community attraction, the museum had a playground out in front with three designated age-appropriate areas and shade canopies.

The museum closed in 2017 and the playground location was moved to FRESH by Brookshire’s in 2018. They expanded the playground area for toddlers and young children on their patio, and a new playground for older children near the store’s north entrance opened. Both areas include state-of-the-art playground equipment, some moved from the museum location.