The Houston Zoo in Texas delivers its mission to bring together communities with animals and inspire action to protect wildlife to more than two million visitors each year. A member of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the Zoo cares for its more than 6,000 animal residents on 55 acres of land in the Hermann Park area of Houston.
This location near the Museum District makes the Houston Zoo an easily accessible main attraction on any visit to the City, giving the Zoo a feeling of being as much museum as menagerie. A Houston institution since 1922, the Zoo has been delighting visitors for decades.
The exhibits at the Houston Zoo cover everything imaginable that crawls, creeps, coasts and climbs. From Natural Encounters to the Children’s Zoo, from the Aquarium to the African Forest, there is a world to explore. Tours, events and special programs make each experience uniquely original and memorable.
A walk through the African Forest exhibit is a veritable safari, right in the center of downtown Houston. Winding paths take visitors through tunnels, past Chimpanzees, around village huts. Highlights of this exhibit include giraffes, rhinoceroses, gorillas, and more. Animal enthusiasts can even view some of the excitement away from the park, via the Zoo’s Rhino Webcam available on their website.
The Houston Zoo is more than just an animal park, it is an Aquarium as well, combining two much loved attractions in one. The Kipp Aquarium is home to more than 2,000 fish, representing 200 species from all around the globe. Such aquatic highlights include piranhas, stingrays, a green moray eel, and even a giant pacific octopus.
The flying friends of the Houston Zoo are numerous, with more than 800 birds, with 200 different species to be seen. Such feathered creatures include Marianas fruit doves, green winged Macaws, and Micronesian Kingfishers. Many of these beauties can be seen in the Zoo’s Bird Garden and the Tropical Bird House, an indoor rainforest teeming with tropical life. The Birds of the World exhibit also features many of the Zoo’s avian acquaintances, including brightly brilliant flamingos.
Powerful and engaging, the Houston Zoo’s carnivores captivate their visitors with a single brooding glance. The predators present in this exhibit include jaguars, lions, tigers, cougars, wolfs and more. But it’s not all serious in carnivore country, a visit to many of these enclosures will often find the great cats splashing about in their moats or playing with their treats and toys.
John P. McGovern Children’s Zoo
With 40 exhibits to engage and entertain, the McGovern Children’s Zoo is a requisite stop for families with children. Attractions at the Children’s Zoo include a petting zoo, simulated bat cave, bug house, playground with jungle gym and more. This exhibit also features many native Texan animals, as well as live shows at the Butterfly Pavilion.
Hoofed Run features many different creatures with hoofs, paws, and even webbed feet. Divided into eastern and western parts, this exhibit is home to many African animals. These include warthogs, anteaters, tapir, capybaras, cranes, and the Okapi, a relative of the giraffe that looks far more like a zebra.
Featuring a family of Asian elephants, this three acre exhibit is an expansive homage to the animal. This includes an 80,000 gallon pool, a 7,000 square foot elephant barn, as well as a 200-seat theater area where zookeepers give talks about elephants and their care. The exhibit is home to eight elephants, including older males, females, as well as calves.
Unlike any other exhibit in the Zoo, Natural Encounters is a fully enclosed, air conditioned journey through various habitats on the continent. From tumbling waterfalls, to a coral reef, this immersive experience transports its visitors. Many endangered species can be seen, with the exhibit providing up close viewing opportunities. This includes an underwater tunnel to examine the movements of piranhas. Other highlights in this enclosure include meerkats, sloths, fruit bats and more.
The Primate exhibit at the Houston Zoo is sure to entertain and educate, as some of the most engaging and intelligent animals move through their habitats. Primates featured in the exhibit include, orangutans, patas monkeys, howler monkeys and many more. Visitors can watch these captivating creatures crawl, climb and swing from play structures, or see them play and interact with each other.
Reptiles & Amphibians
An adventure in the Reptile & Amphibian House will introduce visitors to more than 900 animals, covering 140 species of reptiles and 40 of amphibians. Inhabitants of this exhibit include lizards, frogs, snakes and even a gigantic Komodo dragon. Some animals, like the bright blue poison arrow frog, will be easier to find than some others, such as the Panther Chameleon.
The four sea lions at the Houston Zoo are very popular, and it is easy to see why. Daily sea lion shows in the John P. McGovern Marine Mammal Marina provide the perfect platform for these sensational sea creatures to showcase their skills. Visitors will want to check the Zoo’s schedule for daily sea lion shows to see these four friends showoff what they can do.
Events and experiences at the Houston Zoo are as varied as the exhibits. Wildlife speakers and conservation expos teach guests about the environment and future of animals outside the zoo. Behind-the-scenes tours take guests on unforgettable interactions with animals, learning about their care from keepers. Wild Winks nights let kids and families spend a night at the zoo, including dinner, breakfast, activities, and guided flashlight tours of the exhibits. Other special programs include Family Nature Club and Zoo Crew, an engaging program for teenagers. For those looking for something truly extraordinary, the Houston Zoo’s travel program enables participants to go on adventures to far-off destinations to view animals in their natural habitat. Such experience include seeing mountain gorillas in Africa, bears in Yellowstone, sea turtles in the Galapagos Islands, and more.
Conservation efforts at the Houston Zoo take many forms, across many locations. From partnering with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to save species at home, to working to save animals across the globe. These efforts include supporting the Hutan’s Kinabatangan Orangutan Conservation Project in Borneo, Rhino protection efforts in Africa, partnerships for the conservation of the Clouded Leopard, and many, many more projects. Endeavors in conservation take the Zoo to Africa, Asia and Latin America, working to protect threatened and endangered species. Additionally, the travel programs offered by the zoo are as much about conservation as about fun and adventure. The Houston Zoo also hosts various events and symposiums to educate the public about conservation, or provide opportunities for individuals to roll up their sleeves and get involved.
The Houston Zoo offers an abundance of educational opportunities, in addition to all that can be gleaned on a visit to the park. These include day camps for kids, field trips for school classes, as well as the ZooMobile and Distance learning, which takes the zoo to the school. At these interactive presentations, zoo keepers bring wildlife ambassadors directly to the classroom to teach children about the animals, while encouraging them to be Wildlife Warriors to champion the protection of animals. Zoo classes, programs and educator resources work with local academic curricula to incorporate animal learning in the classroom. Scholarship programs, for which applications are available online, help to make these programs and opportunities available for everyone.
In addition to the multitude of exhibits to explore, the Zoo also offers a variety of additional activities. These include a Wildlife Carousel, Giraffe Feeding, Water Play Park, as well as an assortment of shops and restaurants. The Daily Schedule, available online, lays out the keeper talks, demonstrations and shows available each day. The online Events Calendar lists special events, presentations, and any closures.
Visitors will also want to visit the website to read through the Zoo Rules and frequently asked questions, which highlight the do’s and do not’s to ensure an enjoyable visit. Parking instructions and directions are available online, particularly as the Zoo does not have its own parking lot. Easily accessible by car or public transportation, the Zoo also participates in Houston’s bike sharing program. With such an extensive array of exhibits, events, and activities there is a world of fun and learning with every visit to the Houston Zoo.
6200 Hermann Park Dr, Houston, TX 77030, USA, Phone: 713-533-6500
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