Even if we visit a the same zoo repeatedly there is always something new to see be it animals who were sleeping or out of view at a prior visit or new exhibits or events. So, I thought I would take a few minutes to share a few highlights of our most recent trip to the Fort Worth Zoo and some tips for making the most of your Zoo visit.
I believe this was our second visit to the Fort Worth Zoo and the first time we have been in over 10 years! It is a little farther from us than the Dallas Zoo but worth the drive.
The second thing that I have to love about this zoo is that is very well shaded. This was the only reason that we even dared to venture out in the hot, hot, July. Oh, and it was supposed to be in the low 90's instead of the 100's. This brings me to my first Zoo tip.
Zoo Tip #1: Take the weather into consideration. Know the expected temperature, be prepared, and adjust your expectations. Extreme temperatures may be unpleasant for you and it will also affect the animals. Some animals will not be in exhibit in the winter and in the summer they may be lounging in the shade and out of sight.
That said, my kids absolutely loved feeding the koi and turtles. I don't think they even noticed the giraffes in the background. The other animals that were a hit were the hippos (fully submerged in clear water), the rhino (who was rolling a huge concrete ball around), and the white tiger.
Because it was hot we did miss out on seeing several animals but for the most part I was impressed with number of animals. I was not impressed with the bird feeding exhibit. The poor birds were hot and not hungry. I would recommend getting there early in the day if feeding the birds is something that is must do for your family. The bird seed sticks were only a $1, but it was a waste of $3 because the birds had already had their fill for the day.
Zoo Tip #2: Plan your day in advance. This was an impromptu visit and poor planning landed us at the zoo later than we would have liked. Visit the zoo website, trip advisor, and do a little homework before you go. Know what exhibits are a must and do those first. Plan to visit the indoor attractions at the hottest (or coldest) part of the day. Be sure to stay flexible, the plan is just a plan not a hard set rule. Some of the best moments are those unplanned moments- like this snow cone moment. It was not planned but it was just what we needed to cool off and rest up.
Zoo Tip #3: Plan your food! Remember that most zoo's involve a lot of walking and you will get hungry. Not to mention all of the tempting and overpriced food available at most Zoo's. Some zoo's allow you take in food and drinks. That is a great way to save time standing in line and a good chunk of money. I usually give my kids zoo money. They can spend it on souvenirs or treats. This time they opted for snow cones and candy. The Fort Worth Zoo has many vending machines, dipping dots, pretzels, and snow cone stops located along the trails as well as sit down dining options.
They do have a neat train that takes you back to the entrance of the zoo. So after you have seen all you want to see you can pay a little to take a little train ride back to the start. My two year old loved this. You wont see a ton of animals but it is still worth it to save your feet some walking. If you have rented a stroller or took your own there is plenty of room to stow the stroller on the train.
The train was not working the first time we tried to ride it but we did a little more touring and when we returned to take our ride back to the entrance it was ready to go.
Zoo Tip #4: Let the kids set the pace. If they come across something exciting like a bin of sand with some fossils... allow them to explore. It can be tempting to rush them when there is so much to do and see, but allowing them time to breath and play will make a more pleasant day for everyone.
Other attractions you may want to check out are the carousel, the rock climbing wall and the wild west shooting gallery.
Also, note that when you are in the Captor Canyon, you will be walking UNDER birds. There will be poo on the ground and we decided to not to spend a long time lingering under the birds. Just in case. After all that poo had to come DOWN!