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Bryce Wilson
Bryce Wilson

What to See and Do at the Dallas Zoo: A Family-Friendly Destination

Dallas Zoo: The Largest Zoological Experience in Texas

If you are looking for a fun and educational family outing in Dallas, look no further than the Dallas Zoo. The Dallas Zoo is not only the largest zoological park in Texas, but also one of the oldest and most respected in the country. With 106 acres to explore, thousands of animals to visit, and a huge variety of family activities, the Dallas Zoo is full of opportunities to learn, play, and connect with nature.

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In this article, we will give you all the information you need to plan your visit to the Dallas Zoo, including general information, map of the zoo, animals and exhibits, experiences and activities, how to support the zoo, and more. By the end of this article, you will be ready to pack your bags and head to the zoo for an unforgettable adventure.

General Information

Before you visit the Dallas Zoo, here are some general information that you should know:

  • The Dallas Zoo is located at 650 S R L Thornton Fwy, Dallas, TX 75203.

  • The zoo is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., except on Christmas Day.

  • The admission prices are $17 for adults (ages 12-64), $14 for seniors (ages 65+), $12 for children (ages 3-11), and free for children under 2. You can also buy tickets online in advance to avoid lines at the gate.

  • Parking is available at $10 per vehicle. You can also take public transportation or ride-sharing services to get to the zoo.

  • The zoo is wheelchair accessible and offers rentals for wheelchairs ($12) and strollers ($10-$14).

  • The zoo has several dining options, including restaurants, cafes, food trucks, and vending machines. You can also bring your own food and drinks (except alcohol) and enjoy them at designated picnic areas.

  • The zoo has a gift shop where you can buy souvenirs, toys, apparel, books, and more.

  • The zoo has free Wi-Fi throughout the park.

  • The zoo has a strict no-smoking policy.

  • The zoo has a lost and found service at Guest Services.

Map of the Zoo

The Dallas Zoo is divided into two main areas: ZooNorth and Wilds of Africa. ZooNorth is where you will find most of the animal habitats and exhibits, as well as the Lacerte Family Children's Zoo. Wilds of Africa is where you will find the African-themed exhibits, such as the Giants of the Savanna, the Simmons Hippo Outpost, and the Gorilla Trail. You can also take a monorail ride to see the animals from above.

To help you navigate the zoo and find the attractions you want to see, you can use the interactive map on the zoo's website or download the free Dallas Zoo app on your smartphone. You can also get a printed map at the entrance or at Guest Services.

Animals and Exhibits

The Dallas Zoo is home to more than 2,000 animals representing over 400 species from around the world. You can see a wide variety of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, and invertebrates at the zoo, as well as learn about their natural habitats, behaviors, and conservation status. Here are some of the highlights of the animal habitats and exhibits at the zoo:

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Giants of the Savanna

The Giants of the Savanna is one of the most popular and impressive exhibits at the zoo. It recreates the African savanna ecosystem, where you can see elephants, giraffes, zebras, lions, cheetahs, ostriches, and more living together in harmony. You can also feed the giraffes at the feeding station or watch them from an elevated platform. The exhibit also features a waterhole, a kopje (rocky outcrop), and a research camp.

Wilds of Africa

The Wilds of Africa is another African-themed exhibit that showcases the diversity and beauty of the continent's wildlife. It features six habitats that represent different regions of Africa, such as the rainforest, the desert, the woodlands, and the mountains. You can see animals such as chimpanzees, mandrills, okapis, crocodiles, flamingos, penguins, and more. You can also take a walk through a replica of a baobab tree or visit the Jake L. Hamon Gorilla Conservation Research Center.

Simmons Hippo Outpost

The Simmons Hippo Outpost is a relatively new exhibit that opened in 2017. It is dedicated to the conservation and education of one of Africa's most endangered animals: the hippopotamus. The exhibit features a 120,000-gallon pool with underwater viewing windows where you can watch the hippos swim and play. You can also see other animals that share their habitat, such as okapi and red river hogs.

Gorilla Trail

The Gorilla Trail is a winding path that leads you to the habitat of one of the most intelligent and charismatic animals in the world: the gorilla. The exhibit houses two groups of western lowland gorillas that live in spacious enclosures with naturalistic features such as trees, rocks, and waterfalls. You can observe their social interactions and behaviors from various vantage points or learn more about them from interactive displays and signs.

Lacerte Family Children's Zoo

The Lacerte Family Children's Zoo is a special area designed for kids and families to have fun and learn about animals. It offers a variety of activities and attractions, such as a petting zoo, a pony ride, a nature play area, a bird show, a discovery house, and more. You can also meet some friendly animals such as goats, sheep, pigs, rabbits, chickens, ducks, and more. Experiences and Activities

Besides seeing the animals and exhibits, the Dallas Zoo also offers a range of experiences and activities that can enhance your visit and make it more memorable. Here are some of the options that you can choose from:

Keeper Chats and Animal Encounters

One of the best ways to learn more about the animals at the zoo is to talk to the people who take care of them: the zookeepers. The zoo offers daily keeper chats and animal encounters, where you can ask questions, hear stories, and see demonstrations of animal care and training. You can also get closer to some of the animals and even touch or feed them. Some of the animals that you can encounter include giraffes, elephants, penguins, rhinos, and more.

Wild Adventures Camp

If you have kids who love animals and nature, you might want to enroll them in the Wild Adventures Camp. This is a summer camp program for kids ages 3-15, where they can spend a week at the zoo and enjoy activities such as games, crafts, animal visits, behind-the-scenes tours, and more. The camp is led by trained educators and staff who will make sure your kids have a fun and safe experience.

Saving Sea Turtles

If you are looking for a more immersive and impactful experience, you might want to join the Saving Sea Turtles trip. This is a conservation trip to South Padre Island, where you can help rescue and rehabilitate endangered sea turtles. You will also learn about the threats that sea turtles face and how to protect them. The trip is open to anyone ages 12 and up, and includes transportation, lodging, meals, and activities.


If you want to save money on admission to the zoo and other attractions in Dallas, you might want to get the CityPASS. This is a ticket booklet that gives you access to four attractions of your choice, such as the Perot Museum of Nature and Science, the Reunion Tower GeO-Deck, the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza, and more. You can save up to 40% on regular prices and skip most ticket lines with the CityPASS. How to Support the Zoo

The Dallas Zoo is a non-profit organization that relies on the support of the community to continue its mission of creating a better world for animals. There are many ways that you can support the zoo, such as:

  • Donating: You can make a one-time or recurring donation to the zoo, or choose a specific program or project that you want to support. You can also donate items from the zoo's wish list, such as animal enrichment, food, supplies, and more.

  • Volunteering: You can become a volunteer at the zoo and help with various tasks, such as animal care, education, guest services, events, and more. You can also join the Zoo Corps, a teen volunteer program for ages 13-17.

Becoming a member: You can become a member of the zoo and enjoy unlimited admission for a year, as well as discounts, invitations, and other bene

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