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Fort Worth Zoo Offers Fantastic Exhibits

Tonya Ojeda, Staff Writer
April 11, 2012
Filed under Entertainment

From birds, reptiles and elephants to majestic felines, The Fort Worth Zoo is a place to go with family or friends. A variety of different animals and activities will keep everyone interested. Once visitors go through the gate, the environment feels as if they’re entering the wild because of all of the trees and the diversity of sounds coming from 7,000 native and exotic animals.

Once one walks in from the admission booth, there is a bridge to walk into the actual zoo area. Surrounding the bridge is a mixture of different plants and flowers. The scenery makes one want to stay and observe each and everything that the wild has to offer. Flowers of all shapes, sizes and colors attract the wandering eye immediately.

 The best parts of the zoo are the 12 permanent exhibit areas including the Penguins, World of Primates, Asian Falls, Raptor Canyon, Cheetahs, Flamingo Bay, Meerkat Mounds, Australian Outback, African Savannah, Parrot Paradise, Texas Wild and the Museum of Living Art (MOLA).

The first section is the World of Primates, where monkeys, chimpanzees and baboons wait. The exhibit, over 2.5 acres, features indoor and outdoor exhibits. The scenery makes visitors feel as if they are in a rainforest, complete with waterfalls, cliffs and humidity. There is even a section where people can get up close to see the animals through a glass wall. This will help people realize just how big a gorilla really is.

A very unique opportunity lies within Parrot Paradise, located on the upper path by the canyon. This is basically a huge walk-in birdcage.  Thousands of cockatiels and parakeets fly around and interact with visitors.  For a $1, a seed stick can be purchased which attracts the colorful birds like crazy. They will fly and land on your stick, arms, shoulders and head. The aviary makes the best photo spots.

The newest addition is the $19 million Herpetarium; basically, a 30,000-square-foot indoor and outdoor area that holds over 100 amphibian and reptile species, or 850 animals. The Museum of Living Art (MOLA), brings people up close and personal with exotic and endangered animals like a 15.5-foot Burmese python and Komodo dragons. There is excellent information on each animal including the camouflaged insects.  In the middle of the facility, a worker usually has a snake on display for guests to see up close and touch.

 There are many familiar places to eat at such as Pizza Hut, Dickeys BBQ and Grandy’s. Also located near the entrance is Crocodile Café along with a Burger King and Rio Mexican Grill. Many ice creams parlors are located in the park for little ones to crave after a long day. There are also numerous gift shops and carts with cute plush toys of several types of animals. If one is going with a small child, they should expect to spend a little cash; kids will be begging for plenty of unneeded items.

 With over 64 acres and many twist and turns, arrows pointing in various directions help guide visitors to different animals and places. Many additional attractions can be found at the zoo, such as the Petting Corral, the Express Train around the park, a carousel and even rock climbing. Prices vary per person and event but they are all worth the price; these activities would make it hard not to enjoy a full day.

 The Fort Worth Zoo is conveniently open 365 days a year, but on holidays the times are altered. On a regular week day the zoo is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on the weekends from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is $12. Prices are less for senior citizens and children. Every Wednesday admission is half price. Parking cost $5. There are also some free parking lots available if visitors are willing to walk the extra distance.

 The walk around every section might take all day but it is worth it just to watch a favorite animal and explore beautiful environments. There are various types of animals, even ones you wouldn’t expect in Texas, such as penguins. Otters can be found here too, where they playfully swim alongside the glass wall that separates visitors from dwellers. The zoo, the oldest in Texas, is ranked by USA Travel Guide as number five in the nation. Take advantage of being so close to such a fun place.