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“Realistically, a zoo can't get much better than the Dallas Zoo!”
Review of Dallas Zoo

Dallas Zoo
Ranked #12 of 248 things to do in Dallas
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Fee: Yes
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: The largest zoological experience in Texas, the 106-acre Dallas Zoo offers fun, educational and entertaining experiences for the whole family. The Zoo's mission is to inspire a passion for nature and conserve wildlife, and guests can see a number of endangered species and learn about a variety of conservation projects the Dallas Zoo supports. Opened in 2010, our award-winning Giants of the Savanna habitat is internationally known. The savanna features elephants, ostrich, zebras, impalas, giraffes, and guineafowl, often mingling together. The Dallas Zoo is home to a herd of five female elephants and 11 giraffes, which guests can feed by hand. Guests will see the fastest land mammal on Earth, the cheetah, as well as African lions who often spend their days sleeping just inches away from the viewing wall inside the Serengeti Grill restaurant. The Wilds of Africa area features rare animals such as gorillas, chimpanzees and okapi. Guests will enjoy getting eye-to-eye with African penguins as they swim effortlessly underwater. Highlights of the ZooNorth section include the Lacerte Family Children's Zoo, a top-rated reptile and amphibian complex featuring albino alligators, and the Koala Walkabout, featuring the only koalas in Texas, red kangaroo, wallabies, and a lorikeet feeding area for up-close adventures. For alternative transportation to the Dallas Zoo, consider the DART Red Line, which delivers guests to the Zoo's front entrance.
Useful Information: Activities for older children, Activities for young children
Reviewed 7 June 2014

This zoo is definitely the best zoo my family and I have ever been to. (compared to the zoos in Minnesota and Arkansas.) We were quite impressed with all there was to see and experience. I'm just going to list a few observations that you may do well to be aware of.
- We went during the work week but there was still a lot of people there, so I can't imagine going on a weekend and would not recommend that.
-Try to get there when it opens and plan to spend the whole day there if you have kids with you. We spent a lot of time in the children's section with our toddlers. There's a fun little stream in the children's area that the kids can play in, it was pretty packed with little kids just wading in the water. (Its the kind of thing you want to take your shoes off for but not really deep enough to wear a swimsuit to.) All ages were in the water including babies. Unfortunately there were usually some bigger kids running around wildly and splashing everybody and I thought that was rude but certainly not the Zoo's fault.
-Definitely wear the most comfortable pair of shoes you own. I wore shoes that I thought were comfortable but my feet were still KILLING me by the end of the day. To get to one half of the zoo you have to walk through a tunnel and so if you need to go back to one end for some reason, you're in a for a lot of walking, the zoo seemed quite spaced out and parking isn't what I'd consider "close" either.
-Being pregnant and extra sensitive to the heat, I did have a dizzy spell and there were times that I would have appreciated more places to sit down as I ended up having to sit on the floor a couple times simply because my feet and legs needed to rest.
-I brought a cheap, small handheld fan/ water mister with me and that was a lifesaver. Definitely bring one of those with you if you go during the hot months! Most things are outside and there is not as much shade as I would have liked, and not a lot of exhibits are in air-conditioning (just the bugs and reptiles were indoors from what I noticed.) so it might be better not to go during the summer if you have a choice.
-Perhaps don't expect to see any tigers while you are there. We weren't able to find one and apparently we aren't the first to be unable to (reading another review on here.) Not a huge deal, but just don't get your hopes up is all.
-You're also in for spending a ton of money. There's the admission price of course, the parking cost, the food isn't cheap, feeding or riding any animals naturally costs extra money, souvenirs, the monorail, it all adds up. But at the end of the day even with our aching feet and empty wallets we still left feeling satisfied from our day at the zoo.
All in all, realistically I don't think the zoo could get much better than this and my family and I certainly recommend it!

Thank Mariekitt24
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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904 - 908 of 1,479 reviews

Reviewed 2 June 2014

Great zoo! The day we went it was just to hot out. And don't forget your tennis shoes!!oh my alot of walking

Thank bsnz1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 June 2014

I decided today because it was relatively cool to go to the Dallas Zoo and obtain some required information in addition to enjoying the zoo before local children were out of school for the summer. It was a big disappointment. The costs are relatively high - $8 for parking and $12 for children under 12/seniors and $15 for adults and children over 12. A fountain drink and package of animal crackers were $8. And, while I thought the prices were very high especially for a family event, the big disappointment was that most attractions were closed and many of the animals that were supposed to be on exhibit were not. Signage was not good and there was no "flow" to the trails and finding one's way using the map was not easy. The number of animals on exhibit was very limited. Having been to both the Gladys Porter Zoo and the San Diego Zoo, by comparison, the Dallas Zoo is a dismal failure. In the chimpanzee enclosure, there was one chimpanzee who was obviously depressed and non-interactive. In many enclosures of typically social animals there was only one animal. The cheetahs were missing from both places identified - the map and the enclosure; one employee said they only had one cheetah with his dog companion because his twin had died. He had no idea where the parents were. They had one tiger on display. Some animals were only shown on schedule so if you were not there by that time, you did not see them.

3  Thank tigereyes1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
DallasZooManagement, Public Relations Manager at Dallas Zoo, responded to this reviewResponded 4 June 2014

Hi, tigereyes1. (Great name, BTW.) Thanks for sharing your thoughts here. I'm really very sorry that we didn't meet your expectations. We hate it when a guest feels that we don't measure up.

Please allow me to address a few of your concerns, not to change your mind (although I hope you'll give us another shot), but just by way of explanation.

We're a non-profit, city-owned zoo, so our costs are closely watched to ensure that we can continue to run the Zoo well and continue our improvements from recent years, while not being a drain on taxpayers. (We still must subsidize our parking, for instance, to cover upkeep, expansion, security, lighting, etc.) We still fall well below most attraction prices, and particularly those of for-profit aquariums and zoos. Many of our families find that a membership is the best way to go, usually paying for itself in just two visits. (Members get free admission and free parking at all times, plus discounts on food, beverages, and gifts.)

I've shared your concern about the map with our Guest Services team. We're a big zoo, so it can be daunting to find your way around, especially now that most of our habitats are naturalized, with more vegetation screening. Did you download our free app on your phone? It has a blinking dot that shows where you are in our 106 acres, making it easy to get where you want to be. A lot of our guests find it very helpful -- but we'll also consider your input for the paper map.

I have already provided your review to our animal team, regarding attractions being closed or animals not out. Occasionally there are husbandry reasons that animals aren't in their habitats from 9 a.m. and out until 5 p.m, but those should be rare occasions. (For instance, the meerkats weren't out yesterday, because we were fixing something in the exhibit. Other animals aren't out if there's a new baby, too, and we've had a LOT of those this spring!) I've been promised that they will check our logs to be sure we didn't have a high number of exhibits closed for some reason. We always appreciate it when we hear of a concern, so we can check it out and ensure that things are being handled appropriately.

We have 9 chimps in the forest habitat, including new baby Mshindi and his older brother, Kona, who's now 5. It's a very active troop, and very socially stable. I can assure you that none of them are "depressed" -- my bet is that you saw our oldest, BonBon, who is in her mid 50s, a very advanced age for a chimp. She doesn't move around nearly as much as the others. Since Mshindi's birth a few months ago, the chimps often move around the habitat, including into the back side where it's harder to see them. This is a protective thing for the baby.

Our employee shouldn't have told you we only have one cheetah; I wonder if he thought you were just asking about Winspear, the cheetah cub in our outreach program. We have a pair of cheetahs in the Giants of the Savanna habitat, Bonde and Kalimi, who are always together. Winspear and his Labrador companion, Amani, are the ones you would see at certain times of the day in outreach programs. I apologize for us providing you with incomplete information; if you have any info about the staffer with whom you spoke, would you please let me know? (The color of their shirt will tell me which department, so I can ensure that we send that team clarification on our cheetahs.)

As for the tigers, I'm afraid I can't help you there! They are solitary animals, by nature, and you'll only find one in the large habitat at a time, because that's best for them. (Unless there's a breeding reason for two to be together, or cubs involved, that's common.)

Thank you, again, for posting such a detailed review. We pore over this kind of feedback, because it helps us continue our improvements. Should you be willing to come back to give us another change to exceed your expectations, please email me at info@dallaszoo.com, and I'll meet you to share all of the things that might help make your visit fun and educational.

All the best,
Laurie H.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 June 2014

If you are a zoo member at a zoo other than the Dallas Zoo be sure to take your membership card. We are members of the OKC Zoo, but forgot to take our membership card along and that would've saved 50% of admission. That adds up as entry for two adults and one child was $42 at regular admission. You will also save at concessions.

As for the zoo, we try to visit as many zoos as possible on our travels and the Dallas Zoo is one of the better zoos. The layout is easy and exhibits are well done. Make sure to ride the monorail for an overhead look at a few of the exhibits you won't see by foot. The reptile building was very interesting. And the gorilla exhibit was one of the better viewing opportunities we've seen. Our son especially enjoyed (us too) the giraffe feeding landing. Very fun.

Like most zoos the food was expensive, but actually pretty good at the cafe. We would probably go back at some point to visit again.

1  Thank monksters
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 June 2014

We did the Backstage Safari in addition to the zoo and if it's in your budget it is recommended. The money goes toward conservation and your experience will be like nothing else. The keepers who ran the program were highly informed and were able to answer any and all questions. At this time they let us feed elephants, sit with a penguin on our lap for a photo, get close to a cheetah and her companion, pet an owl, and feed an arboreal ant eater. We will be talking about this experience for a long time.
The rest of the zoo is nicely designed. Lots of trees and shade and some cooling fans to keep you comfortable on your walk through the zoo. The animals all looked healthy and were active. We went on a Saturday, there were lots of docents and keepers around to answer questions at exhibits. Several baby animals out in the exhibits were a treat to see.
Note: SMOKING is still permitted at this zoo. That was the only downside of the trip. With so many public places nation-wide banning smoking, a place such as the zoo seems like another that would be acceptable to move the smoking outside the gates for the health and benefit of the animals and their people guests.

2  Thank hikingbee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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