For those of us that spent any part of our childhoods in north Texas, the Dallas Zoo was likely a big part of that childhood. My late maternal grandparents, Dallas natives and Mount Pleasant residents, took my brother & I on many, many trips to Texas’ oldest zoological park. While I have many fond memories of those trips, by today’s standards, that Dallas Zoo seems very sad. Fortunately, beginning in the early 90s, the Zoo began a comprehensive overall of their operations, exhibits, and habitats.
Over the last 20 years, the Zoo has opened expansive habitats for primates, giraffes, and elephants, coming very far from the small, cramped living areas built across the country in the 50s and 60s. After a brief interruption for upgrades, a monorail providing access to a portion of the African habitats has returned, giving riders the feeling of being on a safari as they silently glide over secluded areas of the Zoo. The Giants of the Savannah habitat has recently received several elephants rescued from near certain death
in Swaziland, and the giraffes of the Giants exhibit rose to international acclaim last year after the live broadcast birth of Kipenzi, who would sadly die in an accident several months later. Other displays include gorillas, chimpanzees, and African penguins.
The “original” part of the zoo has also been updated. Two koalas and several Australian animals anchor the Koala Walkabout area, while New World primates and a tiger have taken up residence in the central part of the zoo. The reptile house not only has snakes from around the world, but many native Texan reptiles and amphibians, such as the blind salamanders known only to exist in the Texas Hill Country.
A children’s petting area includes a pony ride, a water play area, and the opportunity for kids to up close and personal with goats and other livestock.
The Dallas Zoo has parking available for a fee, but we highly recommend taking DART’s Red Line to the Dallas Zoo station (we find it’s a bonus for our little assistant when he gets to go to the zoo AND ride the train!). Prices & hours vary by season and discounts are often available, so check http://www.dallaszoo.com/plan-your-adventure/hours-pricing/ for the latest information. (Warning: Some fake deals have been going around on coupon websites, so buyer beware, and trust only the official website.)
For their continual dedication to educating Texans on animals from across the state and across the world, while also constantly improving the conditions their animals are raised in, we are pleased to name the Dallas Zoo as our Museum of the Month!
Disclaimer: we use the term “museum” loosely when it comes to our Museum of the Month program. Almost any Texas museum, park, historical site, etc., can qualify.