Dallas Zoo

Dallas Zoo is a 106-acre (43 ha) zoo located 3 miles (5 km) south of downtown Dallas, Texas in Marsalis Park. Established in 1888, it is the oldest and largest zoological park in Texas and is managed by the non-profit Dallas Zoological Society. It is home to over 2,000 animals representing 406 species. It is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), and is a member of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA).
Since 2009, when the Dallas City Council voted unanimously to turn the zoo over to private management under the DZS, attendance and community support for the zoo has surged. In 2013, the zoo achieved an all-time annual attendance record of 915,971 visitors. During that year, the zoo?s 125th, visitor totals exceeded 2012 attendance by 46,166--more than 5%. The Dallas Zoological Society is supported by over 20,000 membership households and growing. The DZS manages all fundraising, membership, special events, food services, retail operation, volunteer programs, marketing, and public relations for the zoo under management contract with the City of Dallas.

-- From Wikipedia

Top Exhibits: 

The zoo is divided into two major regions: ZooNorth and Wilds of Africa. ZooNorth is the original and oldest section of the zoo. The Wilds of Africa region was constructed seventy-eight years after ZooNorth and is accessed from ZooNorth via a tunnel beneath Clarendon Drive. It includes Giants of the Savanna, which was opened in 2010. Visitors can download the Dallas Zoo iPhone app to assist them in navigating the zoo. The zoo app is free and provides information about hours, admission, parking, directions, animals, membership, educational programs, and special events, as well as maps. The zoo is the first in the United States to offer visitors such an app in both English and Spanish.


ZooNorth is the original and oldest section of the zoo. It features a wide range of exhibits such as the Otter Outpost, Gal?pagos tortoises, and Bug U!. The Hill, one of the original parts of the zoo, was closed as many of the animals there were moved to the new Giants of the Savanna exhibit. One of the more recent additions to ZooNorth is the Wildlife Amphitheater. The Wildlife Amphitheater is home to SOAR! A Festival of Flight. Primate Place features monkeys, with species from Africa and South America. ZooNorth is also home to the Pierre A. Fontaine Bird & Reptile Building where visitors are encouraged to learn about endangered reptiles, amphibians, and what can be done to save them.

Endangered Tiger Habitat

The ExxonMobil Endangered Tiger Habitat is a 2-acre (0.81 ha), $4.5 million habitat that opened on May 8, 1999 and resembles a forest in the process of regrowth after logging. A glass viewing area and pathways allow the visitor to observe a Sumatran tiger and a Malayan tiger. The tigers' lush exhibits feature sun and shade, shallow pools with deep channels, running streams with hot rocks, perching rocks, and climbing/clawing trees. The observation area of the exhibit consists of two buildings; House of Tiger and House of Man, designed in the Thai pole house style. The complex acts as a bridge spanning the Valley of the Tiger placing the visitors in the center of the Tiger's landscape.

Tiger using tree as scratching post

Koala Walkabout Entrance

Children's Zoo

The Lacerte Family Children?s Zoo in ZooNorth is home to the Nature Exchange, the JC Penney Discovery House, the UnderZone, a petting zoo, and pony rides. It also features an artificial creek that children are encouraged to splash around in.


An exhibit that teaches children about the zoo's extensive collection of invertebrates (i.e. a termite colony, honey bee colony, Texas leafcutter ants, black widows, and brown recluse spiders).

Koala Walkabout

Koala Walkabout opened on March 10, 2012 in the Australian Outback area. It features koalas, red kangaroos, wallabies, kookaburras, a blue-tongued skink, and lorikeets. The koalas, Kobi and Tekin, are two males on loan from the San Diego Zoo. Kobi and Tekin spend most of their time dozing in a eucalyptus tree within their climate-controlled exhibit. The zoo is currently one of only ten in the nation to exhibit Koalas.

Wilds of Africa

The other half of the zoo is the Wilds of Africa. Opened in 1990, it was the first exhibit to feature all of the major habitats of Africa. Visitors can visit the Rain Forests, Mountains, Woodlands, Rivers, Deserts, and Bush of Africa. The Nature Trail takes visitors through the Rain Forest past two large, naturalistic gorilla habitats. Nile Crocodiles, wattled cranes, and a few other animals are seen before the Forest Aviary. In the middle of the Forest is the Kopje, home to rock hyraxes, klipspringers, and meerkats. The Rain Forest is also home to okapi, which the zoo is famous for in both its breeding and research. About 20 percent of okapi in zoos in the U.S. and Japan can trace their lineage back to it.

Tunnel to Wilds of Africa and Giants of the Savanna

Shana and Zola in the bachelor habitat

Juba and B'wenzi in the bachelor habitat

Chimpanzee Forest

Penguin Cove

Penguin Cove is home to about a dozen African Penguins. The penguins can be seen above and under the water as they walk and swim around their exhibit.

Chimpanzee Forest

The 19,000-square-foot (1,800 m) Kimberly-Clark Chimpanzee Forest exhibit opened in 1997. Visitors can observe the chimpanzees from the open air viewing station or from the floor-to-ceiling observation windows. Chimpanzee Forest features a waterfall, stream, climbing structures, trees and rocks that are heated in the winter and cooled in the summer. Another feature is an artificial termite mound where the chimpanzees can fish with long sticks for special treats, such as peanut butter and honey. In addition to their food from the zoo commissary, there are more than 40 edible plants in their area for them to forage on.

Gorilla Research Center

Originally opened in 1990, the Gorilla Research Center is a 2-acre (0.81 ha) habitat featuring a lush naturalistic landscape. The habitat was designed in a way that encourages the gorillas to roam freely in an environment that replicates, as closely as possible, their native equatorial forest habitat. The exhibit includes two areas, separated by a wall, which provide enough room for two gorilla troops. The exhibit closed in 2004 and reopened in 2006 after undergoing a $2.2 million renovation to raise the exhibit walls from 12 feet to 15 feet and add a visitor's center. The visitor's center is known as the Gorilla Research Station. It features high vantage points and floor-to-ceiling windows where visitors can interact with the gorillas and have their questions answered by on site gorilla guides. The habitat is currently home to two gorilla troops; a bachelor troop and a family troop. The bachelors are named Juba, B'wenzi, Shana, and Zola. Juba and B'wenzi came to the Dallas Zoo in 2011 and Shana and Zola, brothers, arrived in 2013. The family troop members used to be Patrick, the silverback, Madge, and her daughter, Shanta. The goal was for Patrick and one of the females to breed but in September 2013 the plan was abandoned due to Patrick's lack of interest in reproducing.

Crocodile Isle

Crocodile Isle allows visitors to view Nile Crocodiles from behind glass. Watch crocodiles swim, lounge in the sun, and even devour their food at public feedings.

Forest Aviary

The Forest Aviary contains colorful and exotic birds native only to Africa in a habitat featuring a wooded landscape, rock cliffs, and a tranquil stream.

Monorail Safari

The Monorail Safari takes visitors through the portions of Wilds of Africa not accessible via the Nature Trail. The Monorail is a 20 minute, one-mile, narrated ride, which travels around the Rain Forest (okapi), Mountain (Nubian ibex), Woodlands (Gr?vy's zebra), River (waterbuck, greate white pallicans, Goliath herons, blue cranes), Arid Desert (scimitar-horned oryx, Addra gazelle), Semi-Arid Desert (addax, gemsbok, ostrich) and Bush (gerenuk, red-crowned cranes, greater kudu, Thomson's gazelle, Marabou storks) exhibits. The Monorail Safari features aerial views of the Chimpanzee Forest, Nile Crocodile, and Penguin Cove exhibits, which are also accessible via the Nature Trail.

Giants of the Savanna

Phase II of the Wilds of Africa, Giants of the Savanna, opened on May 28, 2010. This is an 11-acre (4.5 ha) expansion to the current Wilds of Africa, and features five female African elephants, a large herd of reticulated giraffes, lions, cheetahs, impala, Grant's zebras, ostriches, guineafowl, warthogs, and red river hogs. Visitors have the opportunity to feed lettuce leaves and rye crackers to the herd of giraffe at the Giraffe Feeding Station. Five of the eleven acres are dedicated to the five African elephants; Mamma, Jenny, Gypsy, Kamba and Congo. The elephants' facilities are state of the art with padded floors and a community room with seven feet of dirt that allows the pachyderms to indulge their natural inclination for digging. The exhibit is the first in North America to mix elephants with giraffes, zebras, ostriches, impala, and guineafowl. Also in the exhibit is a pride of four lions and a family of three cheetahs. In between the lion and cheetah exhibits, there is a "Predator Encounter" area where the keepers give educational talks. Climate controlled rocks draw the lions to a floor-to-ceiling bay window at the Serengeti Grill, where they sit or lay within mere inches of diners.

Elephants in the Giants of the Savanna habitat

Giraffes, Zebras, Antelopes and Elephants in Giants of the Savanna

-- From Wikipedia


The zoo was established in 1888. The zoo's first purchase was two deer and two mountain lions for $60 from a private seller in Colorado City, Colorado. The animals were placed in pens and put on display in City Park. In the 1890s, the Dallas City Council approved funding for the zoo and more animals were purchased and added to the zoo's collection. The zoo called City Park home until 1910, when it was relocated to Fair Park. In 1912, the zoo moved to 36 acres (15 ha) in Marsalis Park which the city had purchased in 1909, from which it has expanded to its current size. Under the leadership of Zoo Commissioner William H. Atwell, the zoo acquired many more animals as well as exhibits. In the 1920s, a special Zoo Commission was created by the city and the collection was further developed with the acquisition of numerous specimens from game hunter and trapper Frank Buck. In the Depression Era of the 1930s, the facilities at the zoo underwent extensive renovation funded by the Works Progress Administration.

Giants of the Savanna

Dallas Zoo lion

The Dallas Zoological Society was established in 1955 to support the zoo.

By the 1960s, the zoo was a popular and profitable attraction. In 1966, the zoo displayed over five hundred species of animals. However, by the 1980s, attitudes began to change from the profit driven display of animals toward science and the humane treatment of animals strongly advocated by the AZA. More emphasis was put on saving endangered species and breeding animals in captivity. The Dallas Zoo cooperated with this program and was accredited in 1985. Around the same time, Zoo Director Warren J. Iliff proposed an addition to be known as the Wilds of Africa. Herbert W. Reimer, a New York architect, designed the Wilds of Africa with a "zoogeographic grouping" of African animals. In addition to a nature trail, he further envisioned a slow moving monorail that visitors could ride and observe as if on safari. Two bond measures, amounting to $30.4 million, brought the expansion from the drawing board in 1983 to its opening in June 1990.

On June 14, 1996, rail and bus service arrived at the zoo. Dallas Zoo station opened on the first phase of the Red Line. The connection to DART made getting to the zoo significantly more convenient than ever before.

In 1997, the 19,000-square-foot (1,800 m) Kimberly-Clark Chimpanzee Forest exhibit opened to the public.

On May 8, 1999, the 2-acre (0.81 ha), $4.5 million ExxonMobil Endangered Tiger Habitat opened.

On September 3, 2008, the zoo announced it had received the largest gift in its 120-year history, a $5 million donation from Harold Simmons. This donation, as well as other factors, allowed the zoo to fast track the construction of the Giants of the Savanna habitat.

On August 12, 2009, the Dallas City Council voted unanimously to turn the zoo over to private management. On October 1, the zoo's management responsibilities, animals and employees were officially turned over to the Dallas Zoological Society.

On May 28, 2010, the Giants of the Savanna habitat opened to national acclaim.

-- From Wikipedia


650 S. R.L. Thornton Fwy
Dallas , Texas
United States
Phone: (469)554-7500
32° 44' 35.5704" N, 96° 48' 50.4864" W