Posts Tagged With: Giants of the Savanna

‘Giants of the Savanna’ named Texas’s best zoo habitat

Elephants, giraffes and zebras mingle alongside each other in the Giants of the Savanna habitat.

Elephants mingle alongside giraffes and zebras in the Giants of the Savanna habitat.

After a month-long public vote, the Dallas Zoo’s Giants of the Savanna has been named the No. 3 zoo habitat in the nation — and the best in Texas — in USA Today’s 10Best travel rankings, released Friday.

It’s just the latest award for the one-of-a-kind habitat, the only one in the nation where elephants mingle alongside giraffes, zebras, ostriches, impalas and guineafowl, as they do in Africa. The successful mixed-species project took three years to develop after the opening of the award-winning habitat in 2010. The Savanna is home to the Zoo’s five “Golden Girls” elephants, as well as the 13-member giraffe herd, including three-week-old viral Animal Planet star Kipenzi.

In addition, Giants of the Savanna includes separate habitats for African lions, cheetahs, warthogs and red river hogs.

“The Giants of the Savanna was a game-changer for our zoo,” said Gregg Hudson, president and chief executive officer of the Dallas Zoo. “It was our first major initiative after we privatized in 2009, and over the past five years it’s become an international model for human care of elephants and giraffes. Zoo experts from all over the world visit Giants of the Savanna and our staff to see this habitat. We’re honored that the public and USA Today’s 10Best list also recognize its unique qualities.”

The Dallas Zoo is the largest and oldest zoo in Texas, sitting on 106 acres, and is currently undergoing a renaissance unprecedented in its 127-year history. The zoo was named to three separate “Best U.S. Zoos” lists in the past year, as well as one “Best in the World” list. Attendance is on a pace to break records for a sixth consecutive year, with more than 1 million guests expected this fiscal year.

The current Giants of the Jurassic animatronic dinosaur exhibit, complementing Giants of the Savanna over on the ZooNorth half of the park, has been enormously popular in its first month. The exhibit, featuring more than 25 animatronic dinosaurs, plus dig boxes, water-squirting cannons and fossil displays, is open through Sept. 7.

USA Today is the nation’s No. 1 newspaper in print circulation, with an average of more than 1.6 million daily, and, an award-winning newspaper website launched in 1995, reach a combined 6.6 million readers daily. Nominees for each 10Best category are chosen by a panel of relevant experts, which include a combination of editors from USA Today; editors from; relevant expert contributors; and sources for both these media and other Gannett properties. provides users with original, unbiased, and experiential travel content of top attractions, things to see and do, and restaurants for top destinations in the U.S. and around the world. The core of the site’s uniqueness is its team of local travel experts: a well-traveled and well-educated group who are not only experts in their fields – and their cities – but discriminating in their tastes. These local experts live in the city they write about, so the content is constantly updated. In 2012, averaged more than 700,000 monthly unique visitors generating approximately 28 million page views. It was acquired by USA TODAY in January of 2013.

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Family of 11 hits the jackpot by winning Instagram #ZooHoliday photo contest

It’s been eight months since the Rowland family won a one-year Zoo membership, and they can’t stop visiting.


The Rowland family: Becca, 15; Abby, 14; Elizabeth, 12; Anna, 10; Daniel, 9; Naomi, 6; Leah, 4; Esther, 2; and Lydia, 10 months.

In our first Instagram photo contest last December, we asked guests to tag us with a holiday photo shot at the Zoo. We couldn’t help but choose this family of 11 as the winner after they gathered around our iconic bronze giraffe statue, then creatively added a winter scarf around her neck to make their photo picture-perfect.

The family membership couldn’t have gone to a more appreciative family. Matthew and Jane Rowland homeschool their nine kids, ranging in age from 10 months to 15 years. It’s a special day when they can take their children out to our interactive classroom.

“Several of our children have participated in the Junior Zookeeper program,” Jane Rowland said. “They’ve learned so much about science and taking care of farm animals. It is so awesome that we can make learning fun and an adventure whenever we come to the Zoo.”

A typical day at the Zoo for the Rowland family starts with rides on the carousel, followed by a stop at their favorite exhibit, the Giants of the Savanna.
They like to finish the day by cooling off at the Lacerte Family Children’s Zoo. “The little ones especially love dipping their feet in the pond,” Jane said.

Our #ZooHoliday contest was the first Instagram contest the Rowlands have ever entered. And they’re loyal Dallas Zoo guests, having had a membership for the past 12 years. We appreciate that the Rowlands are active members, and that they help spread the word about the great things we’re doing.

And this spring, we had nearly 250 guests enter our #DallasZooStatues Instagram contest, tagging their favorite photos posing with our bronze animal statues found across the zoo. Congratulations to Teresa Miranda for her winning photo!

Watch our Instagram feed at @dallaszoo for more contests, and you may win something cool, too.

Categories: Children's Zoo (Lacerte Family), Education, Media, Membership, Social Media | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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