Go wild at the Houston Zoo

Pack a lunch and load up the kids for a full day of fun and adventure at the Houston Zoo.

And don’t forget to bring your swimsuit! The splash pad is new this year and open just in time to cool off after your animal adventures. The Houston Zoo has changing rooms available and shaded tables, too. What’s better than water and shade on a hot Houston afternoon? It’s free with your Zoo admission.

We recommend going early and arriving between 9 and 10am. It’s easy to find parking and the heat hasn’t zapped the animals’ energy. Our exception to this rule is in April and May when hundreds of field trip students visit daily. They usually pack up the buses at 11am or noon and leave the Houston Zoo. If it’s not too hot, plan to visit in the afternoon or weekends during field trip season.

Once you arrive, the seals will be eager to greet you from their pool just off the entrance. After they show off their tricks and skills, you can walk along the shaded promenade to the primates and snap some great photos of the little creatures swinging from trees, lazing in hammocks, and monkey-ing around. You can even see the new baby lemur born April 2013. She’s the newest edition to the monkey family. If you arrive early enough, you can catch the elephants getting their daily scrub down at 10am in the elephant barn. Linger by the African lions, if you can. Johnathan is talkative and the kids will love to hear his amazing roar.

Have lunch with the giraffes on the patio of Twiga Terrace. Find a shaded table outside and unpack your lunch because the Houston Zoo doesn’t mind if you bring it in. You can watch other zoo-goers feed the giraffes from the feeding platform just feet away. No time to pack a lunch? Watching giraffes munch on lettuce while you eat your salad too wild for you? Then enjoy free-range chicken strips or a crisp salad inside the cafe. There are also plenty of snack stands throughout the Houston Zoo that serve hot dogs, pretzels, cotton candy, kettle corn, and other snacks.

And because no family outing is complete without a diaper exploding or a potty training emergency, the Brown Education Center by the elephants is a great place for a bathroom break. It’s air-conditioned and has plenty of stalls and a changing space for the diapered ones.  Otherwise, there is a family restroom by the giraffes. It’s large enough to fit two adults, a double stroller, and a few kids. It also has a changing station and a retractable stool so the wee ones can wash their hands without having to be lifted up. Do expect to wait in line for this restroom during the lunch hour because it’s right across from the cafe. Luckily, the giraffes provide plenty of entertainment while you wait.

The Houston Zoo makes it easy to bring the kids out for a fun and educational day.

Houston Zoo

  • Hours: Daily; 9am to 7pm
  • Location: 6200 Hermann Park Dr, Houston, TX ‎77003
  • Parking: Free. Get there early so you don’t have to circle the lot or follow people to their vehicle.
  • Tickets: $10 for kids 2 to 11, $14 for visitors 12 to 64, $7.50 for adults 65 plus. Free for kids under 2. Various membership options can be money savers for repeat visitors. Free admission for everyone on the first Tuesday of each month, September through May, from 2pm until closing.

Photo courtesy of Houston Zoo

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