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Reliant powers our guests with free phone charging stations

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Dallas Zoo's New Device Charging StationWe’ve joined forces with Reliant, an NRG Company, to provide our guests with the latest in mobile charging technology – two NRG Street Charge® stations. The 12.5-foot towers, donated by Reliant, are located in the Lacerte Family Children’s Zoo and near the Wilds of Africa Grill. The stations are equipped with solar panels and a bevy of mobile device charging cables, allowing you to plug in and get a free charge. The donation furthers Reliant’s mission to power people’s lives at home and on the go and supports our commitment to ensure quality amenities for their visitors.

“We are always looking for new and innovative ways to provide guests with the best experience when getting up close to the animals,” said Gregg Hudson, Dallas Zoo president and CEO. “With our strong commitment to customer experience and the community’s continued interest in sustainable solutions, the NRG Street Charge stations donated by Reliant are a win-win for everyone, animals included.”

The Dallas Zoo is the largest zoological park in Texas and houses more than 2,000 animals, making it easy for visitors to spend an entire day exploring countless exhibits – from the African savanna to the South American rainforest. As mobile device users know, going a whole day without refueling a phone can often lead to headaches, especially when there are exotic animals to photograph and precious moments to capture.

“As part of Reliant’s commitment to power Texans’ lives at home and on the go, the NRG Street Charge stations allow guests to enjoy a day at the Dallas Zoo without having to worry about their phone batteries hitting zero,” said Elizabeth Killinger, president of NRG Retail and Reliant. “These Street Charge stations offer free device charging for visitors, a fantastic service we are excited to share with the Dallas community and Dallas Zoo guests.”

The award-winning charging stations use three solar panels to turn the sun’s energy into free power for up to six devices, including iPhones and Android-model phones, simultaneously – as fast as a traditional wall outlet would. The outdoor stations won’t let dark skies or a few clouds damper the charge either, as an internal battery within each station stores energy during the day so it can continue to keep devices energized at night and when the sun is not shining.

The NRG Street Charge stations donated by Reliant come at an opportune time as the Zoo continues to break attendance records – having received over one million annual visitors in 2015 for the first time in our 128-year history. With attendance already on the rise in 2016, more and more visitors can now experience the attractions with confidence that their devices can stay powered.

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Spring break survival tips

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With Spring Break just starting, we’re gearing up for nice weather and lots of smiling faces of school kids enjoying a well-deserved vacation. These are some of our busiest weeks, so planning ahead can help you have a fun and memorable visit. Check out our pro tips!

  • Parking and transportation: Arrive right when we open at 9 a.m. (or a little bit earlier) to nab a parking spot and start your Zoo adventure. Or an even better idea: avoid Dallas rush-hour traffic and take the DART Red Line right to our front door! It adds to fun day of adventure, too.

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  • Dress comfortably, and keep your feet happy: Check the weather and dress appropriately, or bring a bag with a rain jacket, sunscreen or hat – depending on the forecast. Early spring is beautiful, but you know what they say about Texas weather – anything can happen! And while you might want to show off your fashionable new sandals, remember that we’re a 106-acre Zoo – you can never go wrong with a trusty pair of sneakers!

Kids Leaning in Nature Exchange, Cathy Burkey

  • Strollers, wheelchairs and souvenirs: Our Zoofari Market rents strollers, wheelchairs and motorized scooters on a first-come, first-served basis. It also sells a variety of clothing, toys, books and gifts to help you remember your visit. (Remember, members get 10% off!)

Gift shop front

  • Mmmm, food: When your tummy starts growling louder than our animals, it’s time to refuel. Pack your own snacks or lunch, or grab a bite at one of our three dining locations – Zoofari Food Court, Wilds of Africa Grill, or Serengeti Grill. When packing food and drinks, be sure there’s no glass or alcohol – otherwise, bring whatever suits your fancy.

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  •  Read the map, download the app: Check out the daily keeper chats and special programs, which are listed on the map you’ll receive as you enter the Zoo. You can also download our free app by searching “Dallas Zoo” to plan ahead before you arrive! There’s plenty to do – explore Nature Connects®, a LEGO® brick art exhibit; catch the Wonders of the Wild bird and wildlife show, presented by Kimberly-Clark; feed giraffes and lorikeets; watch our cheetah and Labrador retriever best buddies play in the Cheetah Encounter, and more!

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  • Sign up for camp: Kids – want to have an extra-special Zoo experience during your break? Parents – want a little extra time to run errands in your day? We offer single-day Zoo camps for kids in PreK-Grade 5 that are both fun and educational. Register now!

Apollo camp meme

  • Get social: Take an “elphie” (elephant selfie), or snap a profile pic by a penguin. Tag us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter – we love keeping up with you, and love to feature our guests’ photos!

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  • Take our survey: We’re always working to provide the best experience for you, so we want to hear about your day. On your way out, stop by the survey kiosks, located to the right by the exit turnstiles.

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  • Come back: As the largest Zoo in Texas, there’s a LOT to take in, and always more to see, learn and explore. Our members may visit each of the 364 days we’re open, and with our current promotion, you will save 15% when starting a new membership! Depending on your family size, it pays for itself after as few as two visits.

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Nature Connects® brick building contest winners announced

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As soon as we announced our Brick Building Contest tied to the Nature Connects exhibit opening, we knew we’d be in for a treat once the entries started pouring in! We asked you to create your best original nature-themed sculpture, which would be judged by a public vote, as well as an expert panel that included a Master Model Builder from LEGOLAND® Discovery Center in DFW.

We got 31 amazing entries and were blown away by the talent from the four categories (age 10 and under, age 11-17, age 18 and up, and family builders). We loved how each entrant described how their sculpture helped them connect with nature. Eleven-year-old Wesley Tatum from Cleburne, who loves insects, was inspired to make his red velvet ant sculpture after he visited the ants at the Dallas Zoo. Six-year-old Emily from Coppell created “The World” because she wanted to include many animals and plants, including the jungle, desert, Iceland, and the ocean.

Expert judge James Wilson, a Master Model Builder from LEGOLAND Discovery Center DFW, said the talent that was shown in this building contest was phenomenal.

“I could really see the passion and hard work put into the models. And I was very surprised that some of my favorite models actually came from the younger contestants. As a Master Model Builder, I was mainly looking for the models that use unique or interesting building techniques, which I was pleased to find a lot of. Especially in the parrot in the 18+ division – the use of LEGO surfboards as tail feathers was outstanding.

“I noticed a good number of the models were made to look like a scene, as if it were depicting a scene from a story or even a favorite part of a families visit to the Dallas Zoo. It was interesting to think about the story the builder was trying to convey with their LEGO model,” said Wilson.

All entrants deserve a big round of applause for their incredible efforts, and we’d especially like to give three cheers to our amazing winners, who are listed below by category. These builders won a family four-pack of tickets to the Zoo, where they can see the incredible LEGO® brick sculptures of Nature Connects, created by world-renowned artist Sean Kenney. They’ve also each won a special VIP animal experience, which we’re sure will help them connect to nature in a whole new way. And because we loved all of these entries so much, we’re going to give tickets to everyone who entered!

Check out all of our winning sculptures below.

Expert Judges Category, age 10 & under: “Under Water Aquarium” by 7-year-old Camryn Edwards from Waxahachie
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Zoo receives 25-year milestone award for accreditation

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Dallas Zoo's Giants of the Savanna habitat.

Dallas Zoo’s Giants of the Savanna habitat.

We’ve been honored as one of 119 U.S. zoos to achieve continuous accreditation for more than 25 years by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). The AZA is the primary accrediting body for top zoos and aquariums in the U.S. since 1974, and a leader in saving species all over the world.

Established in 2015, the Quarter Century Award highlights zoos and aquariums’ commitment to animal care, welfare, conservation, education and more. The Dallas Zoo is part of the inaugural group to have successfully achieved this milestone.

“This award is one more distinction that puts us in the ranks as one of the nation’s top zoos,” said Gregg Hudson, Dallas Zoo president and CEO. “Since first receiving accreditation in 1985, we’ve set our sights on exceeding every requirement introduced by AZA. And we’ll continue to top their rising standards in animal care, conservation, veterinary programs, safety and education.”

“AZA is dedicated to ensuring that the highest standards in the zoological profession are met, and this means that the accreditation process is therefore quite rigorous,” said Jim Maddy, AZA president and CEO. “The fact that these aquariums and zoos have maintained continuous AZA accreditation for 25 years or more is an extraordinary achievement that deserves to be celebrated,” said Maddy.

AZA requires zoos and aquariums to successfully complete its rigorous accreditation process every five years to be members of the Association. The process includes a detailed application and a meticulous on-site inspection by a team of trained zoo and aquarium professionals. The inspecting team observes all aspects of the institution’s operation, including animal care; keeper training; safety for visitors, staff and animals; educational programs; conservation efforts; veterinary programs; financial stability; risk management; visitor services; and other areas.  Finally, top officials are interviewed at a formal hearing of AZA’s independent Accreditation Commission, after which accreditation is granted, tabled, or denied.

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12 Days of Zoo Christmas

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If you wanted to get your true love all the gifts from “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” you’re probably out of luck: In 2015, everything from 12 drummers drumming to a partridge in a pear tree would set you back more than $34,000!

What’s a true lover to do? Head to the Dallas Zoo during December’s Penguin Days to experience “12 Days of Zoo Christmas” for the bargain cost of a $5 admission ticket (and minus having to feed and clean up after all of those swimming, laying, and calling birds).

Go ahead, sing it! Starting at 12 and counting down to one, make sure you don’t miss:

TWELVE bees-a-buzzing,

Honey Bees

ELEVEN penguins preening,

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TEN lemurs lounging,

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NINE mole rats gnawing,

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EIGHT mambas molting*,

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SEVEN cranes a-calling,

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SIX goats a-nibbling,

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FIVE chimpanzees,

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Four Golden Girls,

IMG_8593 Jenny Gypsy Kamba and Congo Elephant CS

Three warthogs,

Warthogs 2011

Two horny toads,

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And a toucan in a SOAR tree!

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*Green and black mambas may or may not be molting (commonly called shedding) on any given day

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