History of the Rock Zoo:
Leonard Dawson, the original zoo keeper, started the rock zoo in the 1970s. In the 70s, county road 32 was being developed. As the road crew came through to make the road, they pushed 2 big boulders off to the side.
Leonard kept looking at those boulders and said one looked just like a bull. As his son Larry started digging a foundation on his house, he dug up a smooth curved rock and Leonard said there's one of my horns for the bull.
After that they both walked around the mountain behind their houses and found another rock for the other horn. He cemented the horns on and tried to find a local artist to paint it but didn't have any luck finding someone to go along with his idea. So one day, he got the paint and done it himself!
The other big boulder that was pushed off to the side looked like a rooster. He took cardboard and formed it to look like the roosters comb, filled it with cement and cemented it on. This was the beginning of the Rock zoo.
Since then the zoo has grown to include turtles, bear, flag, a cross, watermelon, a deer, giraffe, an elephant, sea creatures, and many more! I'm sure when Leonard started this he never imagined it lasting generation after generation but even now (50 years later) visitors come from all over to see the rock zoo.
Larry's daughter, Tammy Murphey and her family are the current zoo keepers.
Our animals are made of stone and painted with love! Come visit and leave your own painted rocks!
Come way out into the country and pull off of the two-lane county road and walk our 100 yards of painted rocks! Come see for yourself!
Leonard Dawson standing beside one of the first animals in the Rock Zoo.
Larry Dawson, the second zoo keeper, was diagnosed with ALS in 2019 and recently passed this May. He was a life-long farmer, piano player, and church deacon. More than that, he was our dad, and he was a pillar of the community.
As third generation rock zoo keepers, we wanted to take a moment and reflect on how generous you've all been, with your thoughts, prayers, flowers, calls, cards, texts, and contributions to the ALS Association upon Larry's passing.
Larry sewed richly into this community, and his legacy lives on in all of us and the Rock Zoo!
-Tammy & Johnny
We love our "customers", so feel free to visit during daylight hours!
09:00 am – 05:00 pm