For the third straight year, the Dallas Zoo has welcomed 1 million visitors. Thursday’s Dollar Day crowds pushed attendance over the 1 million mark, making this the earliest point we’ve reached the exclusive milestone.
“Once again, more than a million people have turned out to support our mission of engaging people and saving wildlife,” said Gregg Hudson, Dallas Zoo president and CEO. “Our community knows how hard we’ve worked to make the Dallas Zoo one of the nation’s best zoological parks, so it’s appropriate that we broke the million mark this year on a day when we look to give back to that community.”
We welcomed our millionth visitor early Thursday morning with the first wave of Dollar Day guests. More than 19,000 people braved the Texas heat yesterday to enjoy our annual summer tradition of $1 admission.
This is the third time Texas’s oldest and largest zoo has welcomed 1 million visitors in a fiscal year (ending Sept. 30). We hit the previous million milestone on Aug. 27, 2016. Of the more than 230 facilities accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA), the Dallas Zoo joins only 38 other zoos to reach more than a million visitors annually.
We credit the increase to several key factors:
- The April opening of Simmons Hippo Outpost, our new $14 million, 2.1-acre exhibit which is an immersive African waterhole habitat featuring two hippos and okapi. It includes a 24-foot by 8-foot viewing window that brings guests eye-to-nostril with the Nile hippos as they explore their 120,000-gallon waterhole.
- The April opening of the National Geographic Photo Ark Here through Oct. 1, the outdoor exhibition showcases more than 80 stunning images from world-renowned photographer Joel Sartore, featuring some of the most endangered animals on earth.
- The zoo’s much-celebrated baby boom, including the arrival of Bahati in March, the first lion cub born at the zoo in 43 years; beloved elephant Ajabu turned 1 in May; and the May birth of giraffe calf Tsavo, born to world-famous mother Katie.
- Earning our sixth consecutive Certificate of Excellence award as one of the world’s best businesses by TripAdvisor, the largest travel reviewing and planning web site, and maintaining a four-star rating on Yelp.
Our annual summer Dollar Day is always one of the most exciting days at the Dallas Zoo. But most importantly, it’s our way of giving back and saying “thank you” to this amazing community that supports us year-round. Dollar Day draws big crowds, so we wanted to share the few tips to help you get the most out of your visit to the Zoo!
- GET HERE EARLY. Parking lots open at 7 a.m. and gates at 9 a.m., but lines will begin forming at the entrances well before that.
- TAKE THE DART RED LINE RIGHT TO OUR DOOR. Parking is limited, and with the attendance we expect on Dollar Day, public transportation is so convenient.
- COME WITH A PLAN. Take a look at a map of the Zoo before you come and figure out your plan for the day. Consider which half of the Zoo you want to visit first: Wilds of Africa (hippos, giraffes, elephants, lions, Gorilla Trail) or ZooNorth (Children’s Zoo, reptiles, tiger, monkeys, Australia animals, etc.).
- PREPARE FOR THE WEATHER. The forecast calls for sun, with temps near 100 degrees. Don’t forget to slather on the sunscreen and stay hydrated throughout the day!
- CHECK THE DAY’S SCHEDULE OF EVENTS LOCATED NEAR EACH ENTRANCE. These schedules for the day will help you plan your adventure and ensure you don’t miss out on a keeper chat about your favorite animal!
- ALSO – BABIES! This is a great chance to see our lion cub Bahati or giraffe calf Tsavo, plus all the chicks that have hatched this year, including our penguin and flamingo babies!
- PACK YOUR PATIENCE. The Zoo is going to be crowded. It’s just a fact. Be patient if you encounter lines and be nice to your fellow visitors.
- SPEAK UP IF YOU NEED HELP. If you have a question, problem, or just need directions, please find a uniformed staffer and ask for help. We’re here to make sure you have the best experience!
Don’t forget, we’ll have $1 snacks available for purchase, including hot dogs, chips and drinks. Sponsored by Oncor, MetroPCS, and Children’s Health, Dollar Day is going to be a busy Thursday full of excitement, and we can’t wait to see you!
Dollar Day at the Dallas Zoo is our way of giving back to our amazing community, and we want you to get the most out of your visit! Here are a few tips to help you navigate your way through Dollar Day.
- Get here early. We open at 9 a.m., but the lines form well before that.
- Parking is limited! A great option is to take the DART Red Line right to our door.
- Download our free Dallas Zoo app on iPhone or Android to help you find your way around. (The blinking map dot shows where you are and what animals are close!)
- Check the schedule as soon as you arrive – we’ve added shows, and you can plan your day around the ones you don’t want to miss (Cheetah Encounter, SOAR bird show, keeper talks).
- Decide which half of the zoo you want to visit first: Wilds of Africa (lions, giraffes, elephants, zebras, Gorilla Trail), or ZooNorth (Children’s Zoo, reptiles, koalas, tiger, monkeys).
- Don’t miss our babies in the Wilds of Africa: giraffe, mandrill, chimp! Giraffe Kopano is scheduled to be in the North habitat Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., although it always depends on many factors.
- Be nice! It’s going to be a beautiful day, and we’re all lucky to be able to spend it at one of the nation’s best zoos! Please be patient in lines and with your fellow guests, and share window space.
- If you have a problem or question, please find a uniformed staffer and ask for help. We’ve staffed up to be sure you have a great time!
It’ll be sunny and 65 degrees Wednesday, so we expect big crowds and lots of excitement. We can’t wait to spend the day before Thanksgiving with you and your family!