Dallas Zoo – tickets, prices, discount, animals, shows, keeper talks

Image: Dallaszoo.com

Dallas Zoo is a 106-acre wildlife attraction with around 2,000 animals representing 406 species. 

It is the oldest and largest zoological park in Texas and attracts more than a million visitors annually. 

In this article, we share everything you must know before buying your Dallas Zoo tickets. 

Directions to Dallas Zoo

Dallas Zoo is 4.8 km (3 miles) south of downtown Dallas, just off I-35E at the Ewing Avenue / Marsalis Avenue exit. Get Directions

Address: 650 South R.L. Thornton Freeway (I-35E), Dallas, TX 75203

If you are a tourist, it is best to take the Dallas Area Rapid Transit’s (DART) Red Line Tram to the Dallas Zoo Station.

If you are planning to drive, take the combined Ewing Avenue / Marsalis Avenue exit from I-35E.

Take a left at the Marsalis Avenue light OR stay in the left lane and take the new turnaround to skip the light at Marsalis.

After going 200 meters (1/8 of a mile) on the northbound service road, turn right at the giant giraffe statue marking the Dallas Zoo’s Parking Lot entrance.

Dallas Zoo parking costs $10 per vehicle.


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Dallas Zoo hours

Dallas Zoo opens at 9 am, all through the year. 

During the peak season of March to September, it closes at 5 pm, and from October to February, the zoo closes early at 4 pm. 

The last admission is one hour before closure. 

The zoo remains closed on Christmas Day. 


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Best time to visit Dallas Zoo

The best time to visit Dallas Zoo is as soon as they open at 9 am.

Early in the morning, animals are most active and most visible. 

As the day progresses and the temperatures rise, they recede to shaded areas and become hard to spot. 

After 11 am, the crowd gets bigger, and queues get longer. 

Image: Dallaszoo.com

When you start early, you cover a considerable part of the zoo before breaking for lunch.

On weekends and public holidays, Dallas Zoo tends to draw a large number of people.


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How long does Dallas Zoo take

If you are visiting with children, you will need at least three hours to explore Dallas Zoo.

Kids tend to linger longer around their favorite animal enclosures, attend feeding sessions, keeper talks, try out the rides, etc.

If you plan to have lunch in one of the restaurants, you need one more hour.  

If you are a group of adults in a hurry, you can see all the animal exhibits at Dallas Zoo in 90 minutes. 

Check out kid-friendly activities in Dallas, Texas.


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Discounts to Dallas Zoo

Dallas Zoo offers discounted tickets to children up to eleven years of age.

Kids two years and below can enter for free, while children aged 3 to 11 get a $5 discount on weekends and a $4 reduction on weekdays.

Dallas Zoo also offers a similar price reduction for seniors 65 years and above. 

The best discounts are reserved for the first Tuesday of every month when everybody pays a reduced price of $8 for their tickets. 


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Dallas Zoo tickets

All visitors to Dallas Zoo must purchase their tickets in advance. 

Immediately after purchase, they get emailed to you, and on the day of your visit, you show the ticket in your email (on your mobile) and walk in.

The price for Dallas Zoo entry depends on the day of your visit.

Weekend ticket prices

Adult ticket (12 to 64 years): $21
Child ticket (3 to 11 years): $16
Seniors ticket (65+ years): $16

Weekday ticket prices

Adult ticket (12 to 64 years): $19
Child ticket (3 to 11 years): $15
Seniors ticket (65+ years): $15


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Dallas Zoo with CityPass

If you plan to save some money on your Dallas holiday, look no further than the Dallas CityPass. 

With this discount pass, you can visit Dallas Zoo plus three more top Dallas attractions at a 37% savings. 

Visitors with CityPass don’t need to reserve their visit to the zoo in advance. 

They can present their CityPASS tickets at any guest admission booth at either of the Dallas Zoo’s two entrances (Main or South) and walk in. 

Cost of Dallas CityPass

Adult Pass (13+ years): $47
Child Pass (3 to 12 years): $31

With five world-class zoos filled with animals from all over the world, Texas is a wildlife lover’s paradise. Read about the best zoos in Texas.


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What to do in Dallas Zoo

There are lots to see and experience at the Dallas Zoo. We list them below – 

Animal exhibits

Image: Viator

Dallas Zoo has around 2,000 animals representing 406 species. 

They are all housed in habitats designed to be as naturalistic as possible.

Some of the prominent sections of the zoo are – Wilds of Africa, ZooNorth, Giants of the Savannah, etc. 

Animals are more active early in the day, so plan your visit accordingly. 

Safari Monorail

Adventure Safari Monorail takes the Dallas Zoo visitors on a slow ride around a 1.6 km (1 mile) long route.

Guests face one direction, and take in a bird’s eye view of all the animal enclosures from above.

This train ride costs $7 per person and is open seasonally. 

T-Rex Express Mini Train

The T-Rex Express Mini Train is a kid-sized, all-electric trackless train with animal graphics on the sides. 

It uses a smoke machine and sound effects to give the guests the feeling of a real old-world train while winding down its way around Picnic Ridge. 

Visitors can buy tickets from the train station across from the Herpetarium in ZooNorth.

Both adults and kids can board the train, and the ticket costs $3 per rider. 

Dallas Zoo’s Endangered Species Carousel is a merry-go-round with hand-crafted exotic animals, including a spinning bird’s nest.

It is a hit with kids of all ages and costs $4 per rider.

Giraffe Feedings

Giraffe feeding is an excellent opportunity to get up close with the animals at the giraffe feeding platform on the Giraffe Ridge.

At Dallas Zoo, the feeding experience is available during regular zoo hours and costs $6 per person (or $10 for two). 

This animal interaction is dependent upon animal comfort level.

Bird landing

At Dallas Zoo’s Bird Landing, visitors can get close to around 25 species of birds from around the globe.

The Aviary is in the Lacerte Family Children’s Zoo and is free to enter from 10 am to 5 pm. 

$2 per person, visitors can feed the birds.

Animals in Action

Animals in Action is the latest animal encounter at Dallas Zoo. 

Visitors meet various animals daily, including birds of prey, tamanduas, tortoises, flamingoes, etc.

Occasionally, Winspear, the zoo’s ambassador cheetah, and Amani, his Labrador retriever best friend, also land up for the show. 

This presentation happens at the Animals in Action space on Picnic Ridge and usually lasts 10 to 15 minutes. 

Wild Encounters

At the Wild Encounters Stage, guests can see various animals, like fascinating reptiles, free-flighted birds, porcupines, etc., up close. 

Every day, a zookeeper presents a variety of animals in front of a charged-up audience. 

From Monday to Thursday, the Wild Encounter shows happen every hour, from 10.30 am to 3.30 pm.

From Friday to Sunday, the shows happen every half hour, from 10 am to 4 pm.

Wonders of the Wild

Wonders of the Wild happens at the Amphitheater of the zoo. 

During the 20-minute show, zoologists introduce amazing animals such as the Capybara, Penguins, high-flying birds of prey, etc. 

From Wednesday to Sunday, this wildlife show happens twice daily – at 11 am and 1 pm. 

Image: Dallaszoo.com

Entry is free with your general admission.

Rainforest Rendezvous

This pop-up experience happens at the pergola on The Grove, just across from Bug U.

During this 15 minute show, visitors get up close to Macaws.


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Dallas Zoo’s Keeper Talks

Keeper Talks are a great way to learn more about your favorite animals from the zoologists who care for them.

At Dallas Zoo zookeeper talks are usually held outside the animal habitat and have a schedule that varies every day.

Monday’s schedule

WhenWhatWhere
10:30 a.m.Penguin ChatWilds of Africa
11:00 a.m.Elephant ChatSimmons Safari Base Camp
11:30 a.m.Lemur ChatLemur Lookout
11:30 a.m.Chimpanzee ChatKimberly-Clark Chimpanzee Forest
1:30 p.m.Bird ChatZooNorth Wings of Wonder
1:30 p.m.Elephant ChatSimmons Safari Base Camp
1:30 p.m.Flamingo ChatZooNorth Flamingo Pond
2:00 p.m.Primate ChatPrimate Place
2:00 p.m.Predator EncounterWilds of Africa
2:15 p.m.Okapi ChatSimmons Hippo Outpost
2:30 p.m.Hippo ChatSimmons Hippo Outpost
3:00 p.m.Meerkat ChatGorilla Trail
3:00 p.m.Giraffe ChatGiants of the Savanna

Tuesday’s schedule

WhenWhatWhere
10:30 a.m.Penguin ChatWilds of Africa
11:00 a.m.Elephant ChatSimmons Safari Base Camp
11:30 a.m.Chimpanzee ChatKimberley-Clark Chimpanzee Forest
1:30 p.m.Bird ChatZooNorth Wings of Wonder
1:30 p.m.Elephant ChatSimmons Safari Base Camp
1:30 p.m.Flamingo ChatZooNorth Flamingo Pond
2:00 p.m.Predator EncounterWilds of Africa
2:00 p.m.Primate ChatPrimate Place
2:15 p.m.Okapi ChatSimmons Hippo Outpost
2:30 p.m.Hippo ChatSimmons Hippo Outpost
3:00 p.m.Giraffe ChatGiants of the Savanna

Wednesday’s schedule

WhenWhatWhere
10:30 a.m.Penguin ChatWilds of Africa
11:00 a.m.Elephant ChatSimmons Safari Base Camp
11:30 a.m.Chimpanzee ChatKimberly-Clark Chimpanzee Forest
1:30 p.m.Bird ChatZooNorth Wings of Wonder
1:30 p.m.Elephant ChatSimmons Safari Base Camp
1:30 p.m.Flamingo ChatZooNorth Flamingo Pond
2:00 p.m.Predator EncounterWilds of Africa
2:00 p.m.Primate ChatPrimate Place
2:15 p.m.Okapi ChatSimmons Hippo Outpost
2:30 p.m.Hippo ChatSimmons Hippo Outpost
3:00 p.m.Meerkat ChatGorilla Trail
3:00 p.m.Giraffe ChatGiants of the Savanna

Thursday’s schedule

WhenWhatWhere
10:30 a.m.Penguin ChatWilds of Africa
11:00 a.m.Elephant ChatSimmons Safari Base Camp
11:30 a.m.Chimpanzee ChatKimberly-Clark Chimpanzee Forest
1:30 p.m.Bird ChatZooNorth Wings of Wonder
1:30 p.m.Elephant ChatSimmons Safari Base Camp
2:00 p.m.Predator EncounterWilds of Africa
2:00 p.m.Primate ChatPrimate Place
2:15 p.m.Okapi ChatSimmons Hippo Outpost
2:30 p.m.Hippo ChatSimmons Hippo Outpost
3:00 p.m.Giraffe ChatGiants of the Savanna

Friday’s schedule

WhenWhatWhere
10:30 a.m.Penguin ChatWilds of Africa
11:00 a.m.Elephant ChatSimmons Safari Base Camp
11:30 a.m.Lemur ChatLemur Lookout
11:30 a.m.Chimpanzee ChatKimberly-Clark Chimpanzee Forest
1:30 p.m.Bird ChatZooNorth Wings of Wonder
1:30 p.m.Elephant ChatSimmons Safari Base Camp
2:00 p.m.Predator EncounterWilds of Africa
2:00 p.m.Primate ChatPrimate Place
2:15 p.m.Okapi ChatSimmons Hippo Outpost
2:30 p.m.Hippo ChatSimmons Hippo Outpost
3:00 p.m.Meerkat ChatGorilla Trail
3:00 p.m.Giraffe ChatGiants of the Savanna

Saturday’s schedule

WhenWhatWhere
10:30 a.m.Penguin ChatWilds of Africa
11:00 a.m.Elephant ChatSimmons Safari Base Camp
11:30 a.m.Lemur ChatLemur Lookout
11:30 a.m.Chimpanzee ChatKimberly-Clark Chimpanzee Forest
1:30 p.m.Bird ChatZooNorth Wings of Wonder
1:30 p.m.Elephant ChatSimmons Safari Base Camp
2:00 p.m.Primate ChatPrimate Place
2:15 p.m.Okapi ChatSimmons Hippo Outpost
2:30 p.m.Hippo ChatSimmons Hippo Outpost
3:00 p.m.Giraffe ChatGiants of the Savanna

Sunday’s schedule

WhenWhatWhere
11:00 a.m.Elephant ChatSimmons Safari Base Camp
11:30 a.m.Lemur ChatLemur Lookout
11:30 a.m.Chimpanzee ChatKimberly-Clark Chimpanzee Forest
1:30 p.m.Bird ChatZooNorth Wings of Wonder
1:30 p.m.Elephant ChatSimmons Safari Base Camp
2:00 p.m.Primate ChatPrimate Place
2:15 p.m.Okapi ChatSimmons Hippo Outpost
2:30 p.m.Hippo ChatSimmons Hippo Outpost
3:00 p.m.Meerkat ChatGorilla Trail
3:00 p.m.Giraffe ChatGiants of the Savanna

For the day’s most updated keeper talk timings, check at the zoo entrance.


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Dallas Zoo map

With more than two thousand animals to see, it is wiser to have a copy of the Dallas Zoo’s map to navigate the various exhibits.

Besides the animal enclosures, a map also helps you identify visitor services such as restaurants, restrooms, kids parks, souvenir shops, etc.

Carrying the Dallas Zoo’s layout is highly recommended if you are traveling with kids because you won’t waste time finding your favorite animals, and in the process, get exhausted.

You can either download the map or bookmark this page for later.


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Food at Dallas Zoo

Open-air walk-up food & beverage areas throughout the zoo complement the three big restaurants at Dallas Zoo. 

The Prime Meridian Café is in the heart of ZooNorth, next to The Grove. 

It has indoor seating, with tables on an outdoor deck overlooking the flamingo pond.

Prime Meridian serves sandwiches, salads, burgers, pizza, etc. 

Serengeti Grill has outdoor seating only and offers gourmet burgers, kids’ meals, salads & chicken tenders. 

From the tables, you look into the Giants of the Savanna exhibit, and you can opt between viewing elephants or lions. 

Bantu Barbeque is open seasonally and serves up authentic Texas barbecue. 

With outdoor seating, this walk-up food stand also offers draft beer and fresh brewed iced sweet tea.

Visitors can also bring their food and drinks. However, glass items, alcoholic beverages, and single-use disposable straws are not allowed inside the zoo.


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Dallas Zoo vs. Fort Worth Zoo

Since they are just 56 km (35 miles) apart, many visitors wonder if they must visit Dallas Zoo or Forth Worth Zoo. 

We think both zoos have their advantages and disadvantages and you must visit whichever is convenient or closer to you.

In 2020, USA Today announced that Fort Worth Zoo was the No. 1 in North America. 

However, if you do want to decide after some research, check out this Reddit discussion.

Other Zoos in Texas

# Houston Zoo
# Austin Zoo
# Fort Worth Zoo
# San Antonio Zoo

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Divya Sachdeva: She doesn't follow the usual traveler's convention and rules and has her own definition of an enjoyable holiday. Amongst her friends and family, she is known as a free-spirited traveler ready to pack her bags at 5-minutes notice. Favorite Cities: Hamburg, Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Cairo

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