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Zoos and Aquariums

Fort Worth Zoo

Consistently named one of the top zoos in the country (and our favorite large zoo in Texas), the Fort Worth Zoo is a treat for every Texas family.  Natural-habitat exhibits create a beautiful zoo environment and (along with glass window displays) allow visitors to get amazingly close to the animals.  Our son was thrilled to stand right next to a white Tiger separated only by a few inches and some very thick glass.  The new Museum of Living Art at the zoo is a unique home for reptiles and amphibians.  If I wasn't so frightened of snakes, I would even call it beautiful.  Because the zoo is such a popular attraction, it can get very crowded.  We recommend you arrive early and rent (or bring) a stroller.  The children's play area in Texas Wild is not to be missed.  Our little ones are already asking when we can go back to the zoo.





Fossil Rim Wildlife Center

Fossil Rim Wildlife Center is a 9.5 mile drive-through safari park featuring hundreds of exotic and endangered animals.  Far from a zoo experience, your family will view animals roaming freely on wide-open ranges.  For the most engaging experience, make sure to purchase the optional bag of feed so the animals will come right up to your car window and maybe even peek right in.  The gentle giraffes can be fed by hand.  The highlight of my family's trip was when a friendly giraffe put his head right into our minivan and we each got to feed him out of our hands.  In addition to the giraffes, we loved seeing the crazy ostriches, beautiful zebras, and graceful antelope.  Because the wildlife center is popular and can get crowded, we recommend you visit first thing in the morning.



Houston Zoo

While not our favorite zoo in Texas, we still believe the Houston Zoo offers great opportunities for family-fun while in Houston.  The primates exhibit was extremely entertaining, and our children loved climbing through the "burrows" of the groundhog exhibit.  The Houston Zoo is located in the heart of beautiful Hermann Park.  We recommend you pack a picnic lunch and eat by the pond located just outside the zoo's entrance.  It is also fun to explore Hermann Park either by foot, by paddleboat, or via the miniature train that circles the park.  Tip:  Encourage your child to research their favorite animal before visiting the zoo.  When you come to that animal's exhibit, let your child be the "animal expert" and educate the rest of the family about their animal.


Downtown Aquarium of Houston

The Downtown Aquarium is a fun family outing in downtown Houston.  The aquarium boasts sting-rays in touch pools, an octopus, and even a white tiger.  It is not a large aquarium, but the displays that they do have are well-done.  The kids will love the carnival rides (including ferris wheel and merry-go-round) outside.  We recommend that every family visiting the aquarium experience the Shark Voyage train ride.  Parents and children will enjoy the ride through the shark tunnel and "finding the lost great white shark".  With a Houston CityPass, unlimited access to the rides is just $5 more.


Dallas Zoo

The Dallas Zoo is Texas's oldest zoo, and at 95 acres, it is also the state's largest.  Families traveling to Dallas are sure to enjoy the variety of animals on display.  While the zoo is old, it is constantly being updated, expanded, and improved.  For example, visitors can look forward to seeing the magnificent new African Savannah exhibit opening in 2010.  We particularly enjoyed the Children's Zoo where kids can feed birds out of their hands, splash in a "river" (bring an extra set of clothes), play on a playground, and pet friendly animals.  We also recommend riding the monorail through the Wilds of Africa as there are animals that can only be viewed from the monorail.  Plus, the novelty of riding a monorail is fun for all ages.  Because the zoo is so large, we recommend carefully mapping out your day to ensure everyone sees their favorite animals without becoming overly tired.  Located in the heart of Dallas, the Dallas Zoo is a great place for families to enjoy nature and marvel at God's creation.

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