Comparing Zoos: Dallas and Fort Worth

Both the Dallas and Fort Worth zoo have their pros and cons, and some certainly prefer one over the other. However, rather than listening to a long list of conflicting opinions, it might be easier to simply list some of the pros and cons of each zoo and allow visitors to make an informed decision. After all, exploring the Dallas and Fort Worth areas is one of the most exciting things to do when touring Texas, and the zoo is the perfect place to bring a large group, friends, or family for a day of fun and learning.

Dallas Zoo

Located in front, at the zoo entrance is a beautiful carousel with animals that are unexpected. Rather than horses or unicorns, children get the opportunity to meet some of the world’s endangered animals. It is not often you can say you got to ride on a gorilla, and this is a big part of the fun at the Dallas Zoo Endangered Species Carousel. As an added bonus, the carousel will run in reverse on Halloween, which is simply fun for anyone and the cost per ride is a mere $2.00 per person.

Giraffe feeding is a huge attraction to the Giraffe zoo, and for just $5.00 you are given several pieces of fresh, green lettuce to feed these enormous animals. The giraffes are happy to come right up to zoo visitors, and children love to watch in awe as the long tongue of a giraffe steals the lettuce right out of the child’s hand. This is the ideal moment for any parent to snap a photo of this unique experience.

Known as the Lacerte Family Children’s Zoo, there is a section of this zoo dedicated to younger children where you can find a bubbling fountain called the Raccoon Springs. At the farm, children can ride ponies, pet baby sheep, goats and donkeys, interact with small animals such as rabbits, and much more. At the Travis & Zach’s Birds Landing, visitors get the opportunity to feed a room filled with many colorful birds that will land right on your hand, and perhaps your head, looking for a tasty morsel.

Truly, the only con for this zoo is that it can be a bit small, although this is not a problem if you have limited time to explore. In just a few hours, it is possible to visit and snap pictures at most attractions, but this will not diminish the fun of the adventure. This is the perfect option for anyone looking for a day or half of a day dedicated to learning about animals and exploring the natural world.

Fort Worth Zoo

Many residents in DFW believe the best zoo experience is Fort Worth, which has more animals than Dallas, requiring a full day to visit. In addition, there are many new exhibits that are about to be open to the public, with over 10 acres of additional space for more exhibits and exciting activities to be added to the mix. There are two elephant calves currently living at this zoo, Belle and Bowie, each born in the year 2013, and there are now three generations of elephants living at the zoo ready to show off herd dynamics in a way that is impossible to witness anywhere else.

Another star attraction and new addition to the zoo team of animals is a baby gorilla, named Gus, who is the very first to be born at the zoo. Born in December, 2015, this adorable baby is the offspring of two very proud parents. Notable, the Fort Worth Zoo is the only zoo in the nation to feature four Great Ape species — gorillas, orangutans, bonobos and chimpanzees.

Located inside the zoo is a 13,000 sqft facility, complete with shaded seating and a stage, giving guests access behind-the-scenes. This is a great place to be during an educational event and interactive experience with the many animals kept at the zoo. Opened in the summer of 2011, it is a great venue for meetings and presentations. On a hot day, the Fort Worth Zoo is superior, offering a way to cool off, yet still learn about the animals kept at the zoo.

The Fort Worth zoo is also home to a carousel and petting zoo for children, but it is also the proud owner of the Yellow Rose Express Train. With this, children can spend just $3.00 per person and get the chance to explore the area between the Safari Depot and Texas Wild while relaxing on comfortable seats with shaded roofing. From their vantage point, children and parents alike can explore the zoo around them.

Many other attractions, such as a wall climb, tornado simulator and nature trails are all available for those looking for some added fun. These give children and adults alike the chance to get active and make their visit to the zoo far more interactive. The only con of visiting this zoo is that it is quite large with many attractions and locations to explore, and many more are on the way! It is thus in your better interests to dedicate more than one day to the fun, especially if you have a large group that will cause the exploration to slow down a bit.

  • Species:  Approximately 542, not including fish
  • The Zoo has approximately 112 of the species managed through the AZA’s Species Survival Plans.
  • 68 Endangered and threatened species