Lions and giraffes and koalas, oh my! While Daniel’s family visited over Spring Break, we went to one of my favorite attractions in the whole metroplex – The Dallas Zoo! Though our sweet girl slept through most of our trip, we had an amazing day walking around enjoying the animals. It was so nice to get out of the house to do something out of the ordinary for a day! One of the best aspects of living in Dallas is the amazing weather in Spring and Fall, so February and March are actually some of the best times to visit the zoo. The crowds were low, but the weather was gorgeous and the animals were very active. Here are a few of my favorite tips for visiting the Dallas Zoo:
Before You Arrive
Save money by packing a cooler. Bring your own snacks and drinks (glass and alcoholic beverages are not permitted) – you can even pack a lunch to save a bit of money. There are some beautiful shaded areas to rest and have a snack. My favorites are ‘Base Camp’ in the Giants of the Savannah, where there is a shaded porch overlooking the elephant enclosure, and an area with picnic tables between the Texas Cats and Wings of Wonder exhibits. If you’d like to eat at one of the zoo’s most unique dining experiences, the Serengeti Grill in the Giants of the Savanna has floor to ceiling windows that allow you to watch the lions while you eat.
Ride the DART to add an adventure. The DART arrives at the gate of the Dallas Zoo and you save money on parking. If you show your ticket stubs on Monday or Tuesday, you save $2 on your zoo admission! It’s a fun addition to any day at the zoo.
Bring a swimsuit. Maybe not for the whole family, but at least for the littlest members! The children’s zoo is very well developed and it sure to captivate children of all ages. This area includes barn animals, underground creatures (featured in a room you have to crawl through!), and a koi pond. Your child’s favorite part will undoubtedly be the water feature. Kids can splash around and let off steam from a long day walking around the zoo, but if you want to stop meltdowns on the way home, it’s best to bring a swimsuit or at least a change of clothes.
When You Arrive
Plan to feed the giraffes. We have been to half a dozen zoos around the country. One of the most unique things about the Dallas Zoo (and the exhibit that makes this zoo my favorite) is the giraffes. It only costs $5 to have a unique experience that will not soon be forgotten. For $5, you receive a giant head of lettuce (plenty for the family to share) and you are able to feed and pet the giraffes. They are not shy – they will come right up to the railings and stick their giant tongues out waiting for some food. The keeper will tell you how to feed them and show you how they like to be touched, then get your camera ready! Without traveling to Africa, you will likely never be this close to these beautiful, interesting creatures again.
Don’t miss the reptile house. Tucked back in the corner of zoo is a building that could easily be looked over. If you pass by this building, you will be missing giant snakes, kimono dragons, and tiny poison dart frogs. The real treat, though, is behind closed doors. As you enter the reptile house, turn right immediately and walk through the door to see the most intriguing animal at the zoo – the albino alligator!
Check trainer encounter times. I love watching the trainers interact with their animals. They are so knowledgeable and able to share really interesting facts. You always get a better view of the animals and you can learn about each of the animals individually. We have seen the lion trainer and the elephant trainer and both were excellent – the last time we went to the zoo, we even heard an elephant trumpet!