Some of my best memories as a child are from visiting the zoo with my Grandpa. It was his thing (along with ice cream)……he loved to take each of his grandkids to the local zoo. It’s a tradition I’ve kept alive with my own daughter. So much so, that she wants to be a zookeeper when she grows up!
From the San Diego Zoo to local zoos here in Texas, I’ve seen them all (well, okay, not all of them, but a lot). While they all have their uniqueness, I find myself drawn to the Dallas Zoo over and over again. Yes, I live in the area, but note that we have a lot of local zoos….both big and small.
Though all zoos are filled with amazing creatures, it’s sometimes the little things that make a zoo extra special. Here are my top 5 reasons to visit the Dallas Zoo.
Dallas Zoo Endangered Species Carousel
Everyone loves a carousel, and the Dallas Zoo has one right at the front of the zoo entrance.
Dallas Zoo’s Endangered Species Carousel is a custom-made merry-go-round featuring hand-crafted exotic animals plus a spinning bird’s nest.
It’s simply gorgeous and has even received a design award from the American Institute of Architects. Impressive!
TIP: If you go around Halloween, the carousel goes backwards!
Cost: $2.00 per rider
While there is a cost in addition to the zoo admission, it’s such a fun way to end the day. Since it’s at the zoo entrance/exit, I like to make it a last stop for the day. It also makes a great conversation starter with young kids about endangered animals.
I’ve seen opportunities to feed giraffes at zoos around the country before, but none like this.
You literally come face to face with giraffes at the Diane and Hal Brierley Giraffe Ridge because of how the giraffe habitat is sitting. Giraffes are fed different items throughout the day, so check at the stand right by the attraction to see the schedule.
I was curious as to how well my 7-year old would like this. It was snack time when we went and the option was to feed the giraffe something similar to a cracker. We were given several crackers and after being a bit nervous at first, my daughter really enjoyed it. Look how close she was! Such a great memory (and photo opp)!
Giraffe Feeding – $5.00
Lacerte Family Children’s Zoo
These favorites are listed in no particular order, but I might just spill that the Lacerte Family Children’s Zoo area might be my favorite.
WARNING: If you go here too early in the day, your children might never want to leave and go experience the rest of the zoo. Seriously!
A relaxing oasis with shade and seating for parents, you’ll find a great play area for kids which includes:
- The Wander – an intriguing entryway with a bubbling fountain called Raccoon Springs, where children can dip their hands
- The Farm – opportunities for children to ride ponies, climb aboard a wooden play horse, pet baby doll sheep, miniature goats, and donkeys, and interact with pot-bellied pigs, rabbits, guinea pigs, and other farm animals
- Travis & Zach’s Birds Landing – an unique, interactive aviary, providing guests with the opportunity to feed worms and seed sticks to almost two dozen species of hand-raised birds
- The Hillcrest Foundation Nature Exchange – providing a unique swap shop for children where they can earn points to trade for other wild treasures
- The JCPenney Discovery House and A.H. Belo Discovery Yard – a replica of a familiar home and yard with discovery opportunities about animals living in our urban environment complete with opportunities to pet snakes, turtles, rats, and other creatures
- The Stream – resembling a creek with water running through rock boulders.
In summer, bring the kids swimsuits/shoes so they can get in the stream. Such a fun play area!
One thing inside the children’s area that both my daughter and nephew LOVE is this giant spiderweb net!
Great for climbing fun and so creative.
Best of all, there is no additional fee to enter the children’s zoo area.
Unlike other reputable zoos, I’ve found that the Dallas Zoo has some incredible places within for photo opps. If there is one thing this mommy loves to do, it’s take pictures of my daughter.
Here you’ll spy a jeep photo opp, seemingly in the savannah. Cute, right?
Well, as soon as my daughter got up into the jeep to smile for the camera, look what happened below:
Ha! Photobomb by the lion.
Yes, this fun photo opp is right by the lion exhibit. In fact, half the jeep is WITHIN the lion exhibit. The lion COULD get INTO the back of the jeep. Needless to say, my daughter didn’t stick around to see if he would. 🙂 But, boy, that would have been a photo!
You’ll find so many other fun photo opps throughout the zoo!
Right outside the zoo along the freeway, you’ll find this Zoo-Themed McDonald’s. Decorated both inside and outside, kids of all ages will love this. A great spot for a snack on the way home!
- Ride DART to the Zoo Mondays and Tuesdays to receive a $2.00 discount on general admission to the Zoo. Show your same-day DART Pass at the Dallas Zoo ticket booth to enjoy your discount! (***Not valid with January – February 2015 $5 admission pricing)
- Military Discount – Receive a $2.00 discount per general admission for up to 2 adults and 2 children with a valid Military I.D. (***Not valid with January – February 2015 $5 admission pricing)
- Senior Safari Wednesdays – $5.00 admission for adults age 65+
January & February 2015 -PENGUIN DAYS
- $5.00 Adults (ages 12-64)
- $5.00 Children (ages 3-11)
- $5.00 Seniors(age 65 and up)
- FREE Children (age 2 and under)
What zoo does your family love to visit? Have you been to the Dallas Zoo?