➤ It doesn’t matter what age you are, a day at the zoo turns all of us into kids again. There is something for everybody at the zoo. There is nothing like seeing those amazing animals up close to fill you with that sense of awe and wonder. Everything from the amazingly hilarious monkey’s to the majesty of a lion, or the graceful beauty of a gazelle.
A trip to the zoo can transport your mind to other worlds that you have never experienced before. In one afternoon you are reminded of the world’s vastness and the sublime beauty of all of its creatures.For residents of the Dallas, you have two amazing zoos to choose from,
Both boast amazing exhibits and attractions, but for a long time the Dallas Zoo has gotten a bit overshadowed by its bigger and slightly flashier neighbor.
In the last few years however the Dallas Zoo has made some significant improvements, and before you head on over to Fort Worth you will want to check out some of the new things that Dallas has to offer.
➤ The Dallas Zoo was founded in 1888. Back then it started with a two deer and two mountain lions. Needless to say, over the years it has grown substantially. In 1991 the most recent long range plan was put in place to implement some major improvements to the zoo. Now, two decades later The Dallas Zoo has grown into must see spot for Dallas residents or those who are visiting the Dallas area.The zoo is divided into two distinct areas.
- Wilds of Africa
Both sections have an amazing assortment of exhibits and activities that are sure to delight and educate your whole family.
➤ ZooNorth is part of the original zoo, and is home to such exhibits as the Otter Outpost and the Galapagos tortoises. There you will also find the Flamingo pond featuring a wide variety of water fowl in addition to 3 different types of flamingos. In the Large Mammal Building you can visit the black rhino andgo for a camel ride. Or you could head on over to the Wildlife Amphitheater and check out SOAR! A Festival of Flight. SOAR features trained birds, such as:
And other amazing birds as they perform breath-taking aerobatic flights.
You may want to visit Primate Place which features a variety of African and South American monkey species. In ZooNorth you can also look for the Pierre A. Fountain bird & Reptile Building. Here you will be able to learn about a wide variety of reptiles, you will also have the opportunity to learn about endangered reptiles and amphibians and what is being done to save them.
➤ One of the newer and most exciting exhibits in ZooNorth is The ExxonMobil Endangered Tiger Habitat. This 2-acre habitat’s design recreates a forest in the process of regrowth after logging. This stunning habitat provides sun and shade as well as shallow pools, a channel, rocks and trees. You will observe the Sumatra tiger ad the Indochinese tiger through a from a glass viewing area. In fact, the observation area which allows you to view the tigers while simultaneously being a part of their landscape.
What Is There For The Little Ones?
➤ For the little ones, you will find that The Lacerte Family Children’s Zoo, is a can’t miss experience. You can visit the JC Penney Discovery House and the A.H. Belo Discovery Yard. What your little one will discover in this house is a whole host of critter that you might find in andaround your own neighborhood. Everything from cockroaches to opossums are there and kids will also have the chance to pet snakes, turtles, rats and other creepy crawly creatures.
➤ Speaking of creepy crawlies, you can take the whole family over to Bug U to learn all about the various species of invertebrates including
including a black widow and many more.
➤ Don’t forget to head over to the Hillcrest Foundation Nature Exchange. The Nature Exchange is a kind of trading post. Kids can bring an object from nature, such as a fossil, rock or leaf, and then they can trade it for other cool items from nature. Kids earn points by providing as much information as possible about their treasure; these points can be used toward trade for even more awesome stuff.
➤ The Dallas Zoo’s newest exhibit is the Koala Walkaboutwhich opened on March 10, 2012 in the Australian Outback area. This exhibit features the only two koala bears in Texas, Kobi and Tekin, who are graciously on loan from the San Diego Zoo. Just like in the real Australian Outback Kobi and Tekin share theirhabitat with kangaroos, wallabies, kookaburras, lorikeets, and a blue-tongued skink.
◆ The Wilds of Africa
➤ The Dallas Zoo’s other major section is the Wilds of Africa which is the newer of the two sections, opening in 1990 The Wilds of Africa was the first exhibit to feature all of the major African habitats , so that visitors can experience all of the terrain and many of the wildlife of Africa.
You have your choice of either exploring the Wilds of Africa on foot or you can take the Monorail Safari. The Monorail Safari is a 20 minute train tour to all of the habitats. It will take you through deserts, rivers, mountains and forests. It is a great way to see the exhibits. Whether you are walking or taking the Monorail, there are plenty of truly amazing things to explore and discover in the Wilds of Africa.
- A great place to start is Penguin Cove, which houses roughly 10-12 African Penguins. You will have a ball as you watch the penguins swim and play and basically be penguins.
- After that you can head over to the Kimberley-Clark Chimpanzee Forest exhibit. This exhibit designed with climbing structures, trees, rocks and a waterfall, you will have your choice of watching the chimpanzees from the open air viewing station or from the full length observation windows. You can watch the chimps as they go about their day swinging, playing and even foraging for food in the Chimpanzee Forest.
- Then you will want to go to the Gorilla Research Center. This amazing habitat sits on 2-acres, and closely replicates the Gorilla’s natural habitat. This stunningly real landscape allows the Gorillas to roam freely and allows you to observe these impressive gorillas as they go through their day. There is also a visitor’s center where you can ask questions and get a closer look from full length windows.
- You have to check out the crocs in Crocodile Isle. Here you can get up close and personal with some amazing Nile Crocodiles. But don’t worry; you will be viewing them from behind a glass window. You will see the croc as they swim, catch some sun. They even have public feeding times where you can see them do what they do best, devour food.
- In the Forest Aviary, you can enjoy seeing a wide variety of the beautifully colorful birds that are native to Africa. This is a great way to relax and enjoy the beauty of the African landscape.
- Your trip to the Dallas Zoo’s Wilds of Africa exhibit will not be complete until you check our it’s newest offering, The Giants of the Saannva exhibit features five African Elephants as well as a pride of five lions, a family of three cheetahs, giraffes, impala, zebras, ostriches, guineafowl, warthogs and red river hogs. The Giants of the Savanna which was part of the second phase of the Wilds of Africa opened on May 28, 2010.
- You will want to check out the Giraffe Feeding Station, where you can personally had feed the giraffes, getting up close and personal. Visitors have the opportunity to feed lettuce leaves and rye crackers to the herd of giraffe at the Giraffe Feeding Station. As the first exhibit in North America to mix elephants with giraffes, zebras, ostriches, impala, and guineafowl, you will have a rare opportunity to really experience all of the immense wonder and beauty of the Savanna.
➤ It is safe to say that much has changed since the city first bought two deer and two mountain lions 125 years ago. Currently over 2,000 animals call the Dallas Zoo home, and as we look to the future there are plans on the horizon to create more exhibits and also to create newer and more innovative ways for patrons to enjoy their day at the zoo. Whether you are new to the area or you maybe have bee to the Dallas Zoo lately you owe it to yourself to head on over and make a day of it. You will be amazed at everything the Dallas Zoo has to offer.