If you are looking for your next exciting day out, either with the family or with your friends, then it doesn’t get much better than the zoo. You can see lots of different types of animals and learn all about their individual traits, feeding habits and much more.
You get the opportunity to make fantastic memories and have once in a lifetime experiences with the animals, and it is a great way to spend time together as a family.
Whether you live in Texas or you are just visiting, there are plenty of amazing zoos for you to explore and enjoy. We have put together a list of the best Zoos in Texas and gathered some information on what you expect to see on your visit.
Make sure you check the visitor information before you go as some zoos have different rules about what food and drink you are able to take on site, and which kind of footwear will be most appropriate for the paths and terrain of their zoo. Keep reading to plan your next exciting day trip.
Fort Worth Zoo
Fort Worth Zoo is committed to conservation, education and recreation. They want all of their visitors to have a fantastic day, whilst learning all about the animals and how we can help to protect their natural habitats. The zoo was first founded in 1909 but has grown and expanded to become one of the best zoos in Texas.
They are involved in lots of different conservation projects- some local to Texas, some covering the whole of the United States, and others in different parts of the world.
During your visit to Fort Worth Zoo you will be able to see lots of different species of birds, mammals, fish, invertebrates, reptiles and amphibians. From elephants, black bears and bonobos to alligators, pythons and komodo dragons- you will be blown away by the number of animals you can see in just one day.
There is a daily schedule of zookeeper chats so you can learn even more information about each species and what it takes to look after them in the zoo. As well as all of the animal exhibits, you can visit the outdoor learning theater where there are animal demonstrations and educational talks about conservation.
The Yellow Rose Express Train takes you between some of the exhibits that are further away from each other and adds another element of excitement to the day.
If you want to learn even more then check out Texas Nature Traders, a formalized education programme which encourages children to learn about fossils, rocks, bones and plants in a fun and interactive way.
There are plenty of other attractions to keep you and your family entertained on your trip to Fort Worth Zoo. You can also take a ride on the county carousel, walk over the swinging swamp bridge, have a go at the Wild West Shooting Gallery, or take your children to the playbarn.
You can even scale the 25 foot rock climbing wall or take a turn in the hurricane and tornado simulator.
There are several gift shops located around the zoo so make some time to browse, with additional merchandise stands dotted around outside in the Spring and Summer.
There are plenty of picnic areas if you want to bring your own food, but the zoo has plenty of food for you to choose from. A shaved ice truck, two ice cream parlors, two cafes, 3 snack shacks, and two restaurants – there will definitely be something for everyone to enjoy.
Houston Zoo is another establishment that is very passionate about conservation, with ongoing projects in Africa, Asia, North America, Central America, South America and the Galapagos Islands.
You can expect to see a range of exciting animals across the various exhibits including alligators, eagles, bears, cheetahs, chimpanzees, elephants, otters, giraffes, lemurs, lions, meerkats and many more!
For an additional fee you can get involved with animal encounters, getting up close and personal with sloths, sea lions, tortoises, and goats- you can even help to bath an elephant. These once in a lifetime experiences will create really special memories for you and your family.
There is also a daily schedule of talks and demonstrations to help you learn more about the different animals at the zoo and how they are looked after. Once you have been to all of the exhibits you can take a ride on the wildlife carousel.
There are plenty of picnic areas dotted around the zoo for you to enjoy your packed lunch.
Or you can head to one of the cafes or snack trucks and get yourself a tasty treat- choose from wholesome meals made with locally sourced ingredients, Asian inspired cuisine, a BBQ trailer with smoked meats, a dessert bar offering dole whips, pretzels and popcorn, or classic burgers, hotdogs and pizzas.
There is something for everyone.
Dallas Zoo is the largest zoological park in Texas with 106 acres of exhibits and entertainment. Their zookeepers are very knowledgeable. There is a daily schedule of chats where you can learn all about how they take care of the animals.
You can get involved with feeding the giraffes, get up close and personal with birds in the interactive aviary, and visit the wild encounters stage to watch demonstrations with lots of fascinating animals.
There is a wide variety of animals to see at Dallas zoo- tigers, hippos, chimpanzees, gorillas, cheetahs, penguins, otters, tortoises, leopards, elephants, lions and much more. But it’s not just the animal exhibits that make Dallas zoo so exciting.
There are other attractions like the T-rex mini train and endangered species carousel for you and your children to enjoy.
Once you have made your way around the zoo you can have a look at all of the items on offer in the gift shop, including stuffed toys and animal themed t-shirts.
If you get hungry during your visit then there are plenty of options- a cafe, a grill restaurant, a BBQ restaurant, and multiple snack stands. There are also picnic areas if you want to eat your own food.
Austin Zoo is a non-profit rescue zoo, which means it doesn’t have as many facilities as some of the other zoos on the list. However, it is still an excellent place to visit and your admission fee will go towards their noble cause of helping animals in need.
You can see tigers and other big cats, black bears, some more unusual mammals, and several different species of primates. There are also birds, reptiles and lizards, wildlife native to Texas, and some rescued domestic animals.
San Antonio Zoo
San Antonio Zoo is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to animal care and conservation. There are lots of animals to see like lions and tigers, kangaroos and crocodiles, elephants and giraffes, gibbons and bears and lots of others.
There is also an aquarium and a reptile house. There are so many opportunities to get behind the scenes and learn even more about these amazing animals, with educational tours, feeding experiences, and virtual encounters.
Also on the site of San Antonio Zoo is Kiddie Park – America’s oldest children’s amusement park with a selection of rides and snack trucks. San Antonio zoo is also home to the Will Smith Zoo school where you can enroll your children for a more formal education about animals and conservation.
There are three different restaurants for you to choose from during your visit to San Antonio zoo. Whether you want classic options like burgers and pizzas, lighter bites including sandwiches and salads, or American and African fusion food in an open air setting, you will definitely find something you enjoy.
Caldwell Zoo in Tyler was founded in 1953 as a children’s zoo and playschool. It has come a long way since then and is involved in many different conservation projects from endangered species to local wildlife in need.
There are over 200 species of animal residing at Caldwell Zoo and over 3000 individual animals. You will see monkeys, flamingos, cheetahs, elephants, alligators, black bears, macaws, snakes, iguanas and lots of other types of mammals, birds, amphibians and reptiles.
There are also lots of opportunities to learn, with a schedule of zookeeper talks, giraffe feeding, a wild bird walkabout experience and encounters with penguins and bears. There is also a petting zoo where you can touch some friendly goats and a playground for children to let off some energy.
Give yourself some time to browse the gift shop, with lots of lovely items on offer from stuffed toys to jewelry. If you are hungry after your busy day of exploring then you can head over to the Chakula Cafe where you can tuck into a hot American meal and a refreshing drink.
If you want to bring your own food then you can relax in one of the designated picnic areas on site.