Lunch with lions, feed a giraffe or ride a camel in wild habitats near downtown Dallas.
Step into the Dallas Zoo and enter the home of what seems like the entire animal kingdom. Among the 2,000 animals you’ll find almost every species, from an endangered gorilla to the most common insect. It’s the only place in Texas where you’ll see koalas.
The zoo covers 106 acres (43 hectares) and is divided into two distinct areas: the original Zoo North section, opened in 1888, and the Wilds of Africa, which opened in 1990. Zoo North is closest to the zoo entrance. A highlight here is the bird landing, where you can feed over two dozen species of birds. The Bug U! enclosure showcases Texas' invertebrates, like the black widow spider. If creepy crawlies aren’t for you, head to the Snout Route, home to mountain lions and giant anteaters.
Another popular attraction at Zoo North is the Koala Walkabout. Meet Kobi and Tekin, the only koalas in Texas, as well as other famed characters of the Australian outback: kangaroos, emus, wallabies and kookaburras. There's also plenty of interactive entertainment, including pony treks and camel rides, which are great for the youngest family members.
In the Wilds of Africa, take the 20-minute Monorail Safari through desert, mountain, forest and river habitats. It’s worth the small fee for this narrated tour, as it’s the only way you will see many of the animals in this section. While you’re there, buy some lettuce and feed the giraffes.
Zoo North has its own dedicated food court, which serves sandwiches, salads and hot dogs. If you want to eat amongst the animals you can't go past the licensed restaurant Serengeti Grill. Floor-to-ceiling windows mean you can have your lunch in the company of the zoo's pride of lions.
The zoo is located three miles (five kilometers) south of downtown Dallas and has its own train station, linked to the main Dallas rail network. For families, the zoo makes a perfect day trip. It’s great when the skies are overcast, too. On hot Dallas days, animals seek shade and may not be visible.
Dallas Zoo is open daily except Christmas Day.