10 ways to have the best Saturday ever at the Zoo

It’s Saturday, the sun is shining, and you’ve watched everything in your Netflix queue. Whether you’re ready to spend the day with your crew or going on a date, the Zoo’s got you covered. We’ve listed 10 suggestions for having the best Saturday ever with us and over 2,000 animals. So change out of those PJs, and head outside to experience the Zoo like never before!

1. Saturday, Caturday

We have the cutest baby animals ever (okay fine, we may be a tad biased). Have you met our little lioness Bahati? Head over to the lion exhibit first thing in the morning, and you might see her exploring. Believe us, she’s more entertaining than any internet cat video.

2. Get wild on a Backstage Safari

Sign up for a behind-the-scenes tour filled with up close encounters to make any animal lover swoon. This 90-minute tour lets you feed an elephant and a penguin as well as interact with some of our dynamic animal ambassadors (yes – that tamandua does like avocado as much as you!). All proceeds from Backstage Safaris go directly to our wildlife conservation efforts, helping to protect species and restore habitats around the world. Win-win!

3. Photo Ark photo op

We have an entire tunnel and dozens of kiosks with selfie-sized photos from the National Geographic Photo Ark, captured by photographer Joel Sartore. We promise you’ll score some likes if you snap a selfie with one of these animals. Use hashtag #SaveTogether. (Photo credit: Caitie Thrower)

4. Giraffe feeding

Have you ever touched a giraffe? We know some people with a bunch of lettuce and kale that can make that happen. You may even get a lick from Tebogo. #Goals.

5. Amazing monorail views

Take a rest. We’re the largest zoological park in Texas, and that means lots of walking. Grab a seat on our newly renovated Adventure Safari monorail, and travel on a one-mile loop that takes you to five African habitats you can’t see by foot. In addition to bird’s-eye animal views, you’ll also get a few glimpses of the Dallas skyline.

6. Hippo hype

If you haven’t met our new hippos Adhama and Boipelo, you’re missing out. Check out a keeper chat at 11:15 a.m. or 2:30 p.m., and you might even see them in action during a training session. Trust us – you’ll wanna ‘Gram it when their mouths are hope wide or they wiggle their ears. Not to mention, the underwater viewing window will bring you face-to-snout with these barrel-rolling hams – have your camera ready!

7. Two words – chicken fingers

Our new Coop on the Fly food truck is serving up some serious down-home, fried goodness, and you don’t want to miss out on chicken fingers and tater tots.

8. Cheers and chill

If that isn’t enough, we’ve got cold beer on tap from 10:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. at locations near the flamingo pond in ZooNorth and by the monorail station in the Wilds of Africa, as well as the craft beer garden and brand new lounge on Cat Green. So sit back, relax, and have a sip of local flavor or a classic favorite.

9. Safari Nights

Safari Nights Powered by Breeze Energy means live music at sundown on shady Cat Green – you bring the lawn chair, we’ll bring the tunes. This Saturday at 7 p.m., we’ve got The O’s playing some catchy, acoustic pop tunes that anyone can dance to – don’t worry, the animals won’t judge! Concerts are every Saturday through July 15.

10. Cabana life

It’s Texas, and it’s hot! Avoid the back sweat, and spend a steamy summer night chilling out with your crew in one of our reservable cabanas, complete with chairs, fans, and water during Safari Nights!

And the very best part is that your adventure helps support conservation efforts around the world! That’s right, a portion of your admission goes to our conservation partners in order to save wildlife and protect the environment. So, have some fun and do some good this Saturday!

Categories: Conservation, Lion, Monorail Safari, Photography, Safari Nights, Simmons Hippo Outpost, Uncategorized | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Teens launch cell phone recycling initiative to save gorillas

_MG_9731-Hope gorilla w-logo CB

Dallas Zoo’s Zoo Corps youth-led conservation team guest-blogs on ZooHoo! Our group of 14 high school Corps members worked together to select a challenging conservation issue, develop a solution, and put it into action. Here’s their story.

In 2016 alone, nearly 1.5 billion smartphones were purchased around the world. And sadly, the ramifications of producing these small electronic devices is seriously harming wildlife habitat.

Every minute, 150 acres of rain forest is lost to deforestation, depriving animals of their homes and people of crucial resources. One major cause of habitat destruction in central Africa is the mining of the mineral coltan, which is widely used in common compact technology devices, such as cell phones. The plight of critically endangered gorillas, a species already challenged by a variety of issues, is further exacerbated when their habitat is destroyed for unsustainable cell phone production.

The Zoo Corps team is combating this issue by holding a cell phone recycling drive so Dallas Zoo visitors can bring in electronic items to be recycled. By salvaging and reprocessing usable pieces, this drive will play a part in reducing the demand for coltan, which, in turn, will help save gorillas and other forest animals.

Although this issue is daunting, we can help make a difference. During the Zoo’s Endangered Species Weekend, May 20-21, the first 50 Zoo visitors each day will receive a free Texas native tree to plant at home in exchange for an approved recyclable electronic! While supplies last, even those who are unable to bring their used technology may be able receive a tree at no cost by learning about deforestation and answering trivia questions throughout the weekend.

We ask everyone to participate in this exciting event by donating old cell phones and electronics! We’ll work with the conservation-minded company Eco-Cell to make sure your device is recycled.

And if you can’t make it out to Endangered Species Weekend, you can still recycle your small electronics any time you visit the Zoo. In the meantime, consider attending a tree planting session in partnership with the Texas Trees Foundation to help fight deforestation.

Here’s the low-down on how you can recycle your electronics at the Zoo.

What we can accept:Zoo Corps Coltan Infographic-01

  • Cell phones (smart phones and older cell phones)
  • iPods
  • iPads
  • Tablets
  • MP3 players
  • Handheld video games

We do NOT accept:

  • Desktop computers
  • Monitors
  • Laptops
  • Game consoles
  • Calculators

*Note: Apple, Best Buy, Staples, and other retailers will take larger items like these. Call your local store to find out more.

What to do with your device before dropping it off:

  1. Backup your device and save any data you want to keep, such as contacts, photos, or music.
  2. For security purposes, we recommend resetting the device and wiping all data. Specific instructions can be found online for various devices.
  3. Remove the case and/or screen protector.

Where can I drop off my device?

You may drop off your used devices with a staff member at the Membership Services booth, ticket booths, Information Booth. You may also leave them in the drop box at the Jake L. Hamon Gorilla Conservation Research Center at the Dallas Zoo while you’re here visiting our gorillas.

Categories: Africa, Conservation, Education, Events, Gorilla | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

A hugely successful year with AAZK

Russell Pharr, elephant keeper and president of the American Association of Zookeepers Dallas chapter, guest blogs on ZooHoo!

IMG_6203 SFRTwenty-sixteen was a very successful year for the Dallas American Association of Zookeepers Chapter!  We hosted a huge range of great events and, while having an amazing time, helped make the world a better place for animals.

Join us as we take a look back at 2016:

Bowling and Sailing for Rhinos

IMG_6113 SFRThis was our 25th year participating in the 26-year-old Bowling for Rhinos program, and our fifth year partnering with Alley Cats in Arlington.  In addition to bowling, arcade games, miniature golf, and laser tag, we debuted a BFR photo booth, had a bowling pin decorating contest for the second consecutive year, and hosted our first-ever takeover on Dallas Zoo’s Facebook to help promote the event!

Most importantly, Bowling for Rhinos in Dallas raised $18,000 – 100% of which goes directly to save rhinos, cheetahs, and other animals in Kenya and Indonesia. Nationally, AAZK chapters in the U.S. and Canada raised over $600,000 – an all-time record!

Our one-of-a-kind Sailing for Rhinos event raised $6,000 to help AAZK causes. We continued our partnership with Corinthian Sailing Club and had great weather once again for one of our favorite events.

Labor Day Book Sale

Our annual book sale broke records this year, raising more than $2,000 over three days of selling used books, DVDs, and other items donated by the Dallas Zoo community. Profits were split between the Okapi Conservation Project (the okapi was our 2016 “featured animal,” decided by a staff vote in our second annual AAZK March Madness contest) and the Bat World Sanctuary in Weatherford, Texas. Our book sale continued a partnership between Dallas AAZK and the Zoo’s Enrichment Committee as we sold animal-painted magnets and bookmarks, and allowed us the perfect platform to introduce tote bags with our chapter logo printed on them!

Painting with a TwistOther Conservation Events

Our first-ever painting event, the Painting With a Twist for World Giraffe Day in June, not only raised $1,300 for the Giraffe Conservation Foundation, but also provided a fun way to honor the memory of Dallas Zoo’s own, late Kipenzi.

Our first-ever Salamander Saturday event in May helped raise funds and awareness for some of nature’s less-appreciated creatures. Our contributed funds also helped the Foundation for Conservation of Salamanders to offer a Texas-specific grant for researchers working on salamanders (and we have some amazing endemic species here)! Read more »

Categories: Conservation, Events, Zookeepers | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

All-Zoo baseball squad ready for MLB playoffs

The Texas Rangers begin their quest for the World Series today, and in honor of their great year, we’ve assembled the best-of-the best baseball squad made up of Dallas Zoo residents. (Maybe after they win the Series, we’ll challenge them to a friendly.)

Meet your squad:


Starting Pitchers: Chimpanzees

Old, young, strong, agile, smart. Our chimpanzees have the skills to excel on the mound, honed by hurling coconuts into the rocks to crack them open.


Catcher: African white-backed vulture
With a wingspan exceeding six feet, these birds won’t let any ball by.


First Base: Elephants
At first base, a long reach is a great asset. Our African elephants would use their trunks to snag every ball thrown their way, no matter how erratic its path.

Second Base: Tebogo
Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor sometimes leaps to snag a liner, but that won’t be an issue with our reticulated giraffe Tebogo manning second base. He’s 16 feet tall.


Shortstop: Butter
What our famed reticulated python lacks in height, she makes up in length. Butter is 19 feet long, which is useful for catching ground balls while keeping a tail on second (or even third) base.


 Third Base: Goat
Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre is often called a GOAT (greatest of all time) because of his on-field antics. The only antics our goat show off is munching the infield grass until it’s bare.

 _mg_4851 _mg_7154-vulterine-guineafowl

Outfielders: Winspear, Amani & the vulturine guineafowl
Baseball outfielders have to cover a lot of ground in a hurry, so the stars of our cheetah encounter make the perfect squad to roam the outfield. Cheetah Winspear; his black lab buddy, Amani; and the flock of zippy guineafowl will use speed to chase down deep-hit baseballs.


Designated hitter: Obi
Our high-energy mandrill can swing and throw a stick better than anyone else at the Dallas Zoo, making him a perfect designated hitter to drive in baserunners.

 img_3416-4x6-cb-milagre _mg_4572-bobcat-cb _mg_7359-lakai-cougar

Relief Pitchers: Cat row
Our cougars, bobcat and ocelots spend much of their day snoozing, but when they’re called upon (like at dinnertime), these cats can get up and loose in a hurry – just like relief pitchers.


Closer: Gibbon
Rangers closer Sam Dyson visited the Dallas Zoo over the All-Star break and may have found his spirit animal in the gibbons. With long arms and a fuzzy mane like Dyson, we’d put the ball in the hands of our gibbons with a close game on the line in the ninth.

Categories: Events | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Da-dum. Da-dum. It’s Shark Day at Children’s Aquarium again!

_MG_6566-bonnethead shark baby-CB

It’s that time of year when sharks are top of mind – people flock to seashores, and Shark Week takes over our TVs. Our affiliated partner, the Children’s Aquarium at Fair Park, will celebrate accordingly with its second annual Shark Day this Saturday, June 25, from 11 a.m.-3 p.m.

Special programs about sharks, activities and giveaways are included with aquarium admission. Aquarists will reveal all in special chats at the shark and stingray tanks. And you can watch a shark feeding, touch shark-related biofacts, feed stingrays, score a pack of baseball cards featuring resident sharks, and more. Most importantly, learn why sharks are so important to ocean ecosystems, and what you can do to protect them.

Unfortunately, of the shark species on which scientists have been able to collect sufficient data, nearly 50% are at serious risk . We know what you’re thinking – aren’t sharks some of the most savage sea-dwellers? What could possibly threaten them?

The answer is closer than you think – it’s us. Humans are the No. 1 threat to sharks and rays living in the wild. While some sharks are hunted intentionally, much of the damage is caused simply by humans invading the ocean irresponsibly. There is some good news; if we are the problem, we can also be the solution.

One of the easiest and most effective ways to help save sharks and other species that call the ocean home is to eat sustainable seafood. Some fishermen use non-selective nets that catch just about anything in their way, including sharks. SAFESharkPhotoCertain nets also can drag on the ocean floor and cause serious damage to underwater habitats. Other times, too many of one species is pulled from the ocean at one time, and not enough are left in the wild to reproduce and sustain a healthy population.

Seafood harvested sustainably means it is acquired with the health of the ocean in mind. The Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch is an excellent resource to check before purchasing or eating seafood – check the website, or download the app.

As you explore the underwater world and experience sharks and rays firsthand on Shark Day, remember that our fish friends need your help. Make a pledge at our Shark Day conservation station to only eat sustainable seafood. As we say at the Zoo and Children’s Aquarium, “If it’s not sustainable, we won’t bite!”

Categories: Events | Leave a comment

Brought to you by the Dallas Zoo