Address: 6200 Hermann Park Dr, Houston, TX 77030, United States
The Houston Zoo was founded in 1922 with just a few animals. Over the years the zoo has grown and evolved to become a premier zoological park in Houston. Today, the Houston Zoo is home to over 6,000 animals representing over 900 species. This has made it one of the most diverse and impressive zoos in the world.
One of the things that set the Houston Zoo apart is its commitment to conservation and education. The zoo is involved in numerous conservation initiatives, both locally and globally, and offers a wide range of educational programs to its visitors. They are dedicated to providing its animals with the best possible care while also inspiring visitors to become stewards of the natural world.
In addition, you can explore the Texas Wetlands exhibit, where you can observe alligators, bald eagles, and other native Texas wildlife. You can ride the Wildlife Carousel and also learn about endangered animals while enjoying a fun and whimsical ride.
If you are a lifelong animal lover or just looking for a fun and educational day out with the family, the Houston Zoo should be your next destination. With its rich history, diverse collection of animals, and commitment to conservation and education, the Houston Zoo is a place that you cannot afford to miss.
1. Enjoy the Zoo Lights Display
During the holiday season, the Houston Zoo transforms into a magical winter wonderland with over 2 million twinkling lights. The Zoo Lights event is a popular attraction that draws thousands of visitors each year. The entire zoo is decorated with colorful light displays, creating a festive and enchanting atmosphere.
You can stroll through the zoo at night and enjoy the light displays, holiday music, and seasonal treats like hot cocoa and s’mores. There are also interactive light exhibits and activities for children, making it a fun destination for the whole family. The Zoo Lights event runs from November through January and is a must-see for anyone visiting Houston during the holiday season.
2. Bring you kids to the Children’s Zoo
The Children’s Zoo is a hands-on area designed specifically for young visitors. The exhibits and activities in this area are designed to promote learning and exploration and to help children develop an appreciation for animals and the natural world. Children can interact with a variety of animals, including goats, sheep, and llamas, as well as explore a treehouse, climb on a spider web, and splash in a water play area.
The Children’s Zoo also offers educational programs and activities for children of all ages. These programs are designed to promote learning and encourage children to develop an interest in conservation and environmentalism. Some of the activities include animal encounters, animal feedings, and hands-on workshops.
3. Conservation Efforts
The Houston Zoo is committed to conservation and has several initiatives and programs aimed at protecting endangered species and their habitats. Some of these programs include:
The zoo partners with conservation organizations around the world to protect endangered species and their habitats. The zoo supports programs aimed at protecting animals like gorillas, elephants, and sea turtles.
The zoo has committed to becoming plastic-free and has implemented several initiatives aimed at reducing plastic waste. These initiatives include eliminating plastic straws, providing refillable water bottle stations, and reducing the use of single-use plastics in the zoo’s restaurants and gift shops.
Education and Outreach
The zoo offers a variety of educational programs and initiatives aimed at raising awareness about conservation issues. These programs include workshops, lectures, and camps for children and adults, as well as outreach programs aimed at local schools and community groups.
4. Visit Texas Wetlands
The Texas Wetlands exhibit at the Houston Zoo is a popular attraction that showcases the unique ecosystem of the Gulf Coast region. The exhibit features a variety of native birds, reptiles, and amphibians, including alligators, turtles, and snakes. Visitors can stroll through the exhibit on a boardwalk that winds through the marshes and wetlands, providing a close-up view of the animals and their habitats.
The Texas Wetlands exhibit also includes a bird blind, where visitors can observe birds like herons, egrets, and ducks in their natural habitat. Some interactive displays and activities teach you about the importance of wetlands and the ecosystem services they provide.
5. Marvel at the beautiful Kipp Aquarium
The Kipp Aquarium at the Houston Zoo is home to over 200 species of aquatic animals from around the world. The aquarium features several exhibits, including a Gulf of Mexico exhibit, a reef exhibit, and a sea turtle exhibit. Visitors can observe a variety of fish, sharks, rays, and other aquatic animals, as well as learn about the importance of marine conservation and the threats facing ocean ecosystems.
One of the highlights of the Kipp Aquarium is the interactive touch tank, where visitors can touch and interact with animals like starfish and sea urchins. The aquarium also offers behind-the-scenes tours and educational programs for visitors of all ages.
6. Elephant Barn
The Elephant Barn at the Houston Zoo is one of the largest in the country and is designed to provide a comfortable and stimulating environment for the zoo’s elephants. The barn features state-of-the-art facilities, including a mud wallow, a bathing pool, and a sand pile, as well as a variety of enrichment activities designed to keep the elephants healthy and engaged.
You can also observe the elephants from a viewing platform and learn about their behavior and natural history from the zoo staff. The elephant barn is also home to the zoo’s elephant conservation program, which supports efforts to protect and conserve wild elephant populations in Asia.
7. Wildlife Carousel
The Wildlife Carousel at the Houston Zoo is a colorful and whimsical ride that features hand-carved animals from around the world. The carousel has 30 different animal species, including endangered animals like the giant panda, clouded leopard, and snow leopard.
One of the unique aspects of the Wildlife Carousel is the educational information displayed on each animal. As riders spin around, they can read about the animal’s habitat, behavior, and conservation status. This makes the carousel both fun and educational, providing a unique way to learn about wildlife from around the world.
8. African Forest
The African Forest exhibit at the Houston Zoo is a 6.5-acre habitat that showcases the biodiversity of the African rainforest. The exhibit features several species of primates, including chimpanzees, gorillas, and mandrills, as well as other animals like okapi and red river hogs.
You will be able to observe the animals from multiple viewing areas, including a treetop canopy walk that provides a bird’s-eye view of the exhibit. Several interactive displays and educational programs teach you about the importance of rainforests and the threats facing wildlife in Africa.
9. McNair Asian Elephant Habitat
The McNair Asian Elephant Habitat at the Houston Zoo is a state-of-the-art facility designed to provide a comfortable and stimulating environment for the zoo’s elephants. The exhibit features a large pool, a mud wallow, and a sand pile, as well as several enrichment activities designed to keep the elephants engaged and healthy.
One of the highlights of the McNair Asian Elephant Habitat is the daily elephant bath. Here, you can watch as the elephants are bathed and scrubbed by zookeepers. There are also interactive displays and educational programs that teach visitors about the natural history and behavior of elephants. You as well get to know the threats facing wild elephant populations in Asia.
Overall, the Kipp Aquarium, Wildlife Carousel, African Forest, and McNair Asian Elephant Habitat are just a few of the many exciting exhibits and attractions that make the Houston Zoo a must-visit destination for animal lovers and conservationists.
10. Picnic Areas
The Houston Zoo offers several picnic areas throughout the park where visitors can bring their food and enjoy a relaxing lunch or snack. These areas are have tables and benches that provide a great opportunity to take a break and refuel before continuing your exploration of the zoo.
11. Friendly to Families
The Houston Zoo is a fantastic destination for families, with plenty of activities and attractions designed for children of all ages. The zoo offers a variety of interactive exhibits, animal encounters, and educational programs that are sure to engage and entertain visitors of all ages. Additionally, the zoo offers stroller and wheelchair rentals to make it easier for families to navigate the park.
12. Special Events
Throughout the year, the Houston Zoo hosts a variety of special events that provide unique and exciting opportunities for visitors. Zoobilee, for example, is an annual fundraising event that features live music, food and drink, and a silent auction. Also, events like Brew at the Zoo, offer visitors the chance to sample beers and other beverages.
13. Stroller Rentals
For families with young children who may need a break from walking, stroller rentals are available at the Houston Zoo. These rentals allow parents to easily navigate the park with their little ones in tow. You will not have to worry about carrying them or dealing with tired feet.
14. Educational Programs
The Houston Zoo’s goal is to provide visitors with opportunities to learn about the animals and their habitats. Therefore, they have a wide range of educational programs, including camps, classes, and behind-the-scenes tours. These programs allow visitors to get an up-close look at the animals and learn about the conservation efforts underway to protect them.
15. Wildlife encounter
The Wildlife Encounter at the Houston Zoo is a unique and immersive experience that allows you to get up close and personal with some of the zoo’s most fascinating animals. During the encounter, visitors have the opportunity to meet with one of the zoo’s expert animal handlers and learn more about the animals and their habitats.
The Wildlife Encounter features a rotating selection of animals, depending on availability and season. Past encounters have included a variety of animals, such as lemurs, armadillos, and porcupines. Each encounter is designed to be a fun and educational experience for visitors of all ages.
During the encounter, you will be guided through a hands-on experience with the animals. You will also get to learn about their behaviors, diets, and habitats. You may even have the opportunity to touch, hold, or feed them, depending on the species and the specific encounter.
To encounter the Wildlife you will need a ticket. Fortunately, you can purchase tickets in advance or on the day of your visit. Each encounter lasts approximately 30 minutes and includes a maximum of 12 guests, ensuring a personalized and intimate experience.
16. A diverse collection of animals
The Houston Zoo is home to a diverse collection of animals, representing over 900 species from around the world. From majestic elephants to playful otters, the zoo’s animals offer visitors a unique and exciting look at the diversity of life on our planet.
One of the most popular attractions at the Houston Zoo is the McNair Asian Elephant Habitat, which is home to seven Asian elephants. These gentle giants are a joy to watch as they interact with each other and with visitors. The zoo’s staff is dedicated to ensuring their health and well-being are well-catered for.
Another highlight of the zoo’s collection is the Kipp Aquarium. It is home to a wide variety of aquatic life, from colorful fish to graceful sea turtles. You can explore the aquarium’s various exhibits, including a coral reef tank and a shark tunnel. In addition, visitors can interact with starfish and other marine animals in the touch tank.
The African Forest exhibit is another must-see attraction at the Houston Zoo. It features a variety of animals from the savannas and forests of Africa. Here, you can observe giraffes, zebras, and other herbivores grazing together. Nearby chimpanzees and other primates play and interact with each other.
Other notable animals at the Houston Zoo include playful sea lions, majestic lions, and a variety of birds,and insects.