The Zoo’s a great place for budding photographers (and experienced ones, too). Our Top Photographer summer camp gives children an opportunity to test out their wildlife photography skills in our 106-acre zoological park. Last month, a group of lucky student campers were trained by our expert staff photographer and given an up-close experience with animals. After two weeks of trekking through the Zoo and patiently waiting for just the right shot, here are some of our winning photos:
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!
In our 11th year of the Dallas Zoo’s Feathers, Fur and Scales Photography Contest, we’ve finally gone completely digital! This year’s contest brought in 95 total entries in our three categories: Youth, Teen and Adult. As usual, the judges couldn’t believe the level of quality they saw in the entries. Our judges included Dornith Doherty, distinguished research professor at the University of North Texas in Denton; Tom Rubeck, videographer/producer for AMS Productions; and Nathan Hunsinger, photo journalist for The Dallas Morning News.
As the Zoo’s staff photographer, it has always been my intention to include judges with various backgrounds and careers in the photography industry, which, by the nature of this variety, makes selecting winners very subjective. A photo journalist sees images differently than a fine artist or a commercial videographer. But the thread that ties all of these judges together is their interest in images that tell a story.
So take a look at this year’s winning entries. I’m sure you’ll find some you love and some you question. But that’s what makes art, art. Enjoy!
Earlier this year, we had the pleasure of hosting extremely talented National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore. He’s on a mission to photograph every species in zoos worldwide, a project he started on his own. Half of the world’s plant and animal species soon will be threatened with extinction, and Joel’s goal in his Photo Ark project is to document biodiversity, show what’s at stake and get people to care — while there’s still time. We wanted to share with you the incredible photos of our animals Joel was able to capture during his week with us. Enjoy! For more information on the project, go to www.PhotoArk.com.