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Fort Worth, Texas has one of the best zoos in the nation. And every year at Halloween, it gets even better when the zoo hosts Boo at the Zoo. It is a great (and safe) way to celebrate the holiday with your children. Boo at the Zoo is one of our favorite ways to spend Halloween as a family. Here is everything you need to know to enjoy Ft. Worth Zoo’s Boo at the Zoo with your family.
During the weekend of Halloween, the Ft. Worth Zoo celebrates Boo at the Zoo. This is a family-friendly event that seamlessly blends a trip to the zoo with traditional Halloween activities. Kids are encouraged to wear their costumes during Boo at the Zoo. Throughout the zoo, you will find treat stations, Halloween-themed shows, a pumpkin patch, carnival games, and more. Boo at the Zoo is free with zoo admission, and it is open during regular zoo operating hours. For more information about this year’s Boo at the Zoo, see the zoo’s website. (NOTE: Given the uncertainty that COVID-19 has brought to 2020, it is uncertain at this time if the zoo will have Boo at the Zoo this year. So, be sure to keep checking the zoo’s website for details!)
The treat stations are scattered throughout the zoo, so you can find them as you explore the zoo. There are lots of them to hit up. Local schools, non-profit organizations, and businesses partner with the zoo to man the various treat stations. The zoo provides all of the candy, so the offerings are the same at each station. With your zoo admission, each person (child or adult) gets 6 tickets that can be exchanged for treats or carnival games. You will generally get 4 pieces of candy for each ticket. I find that you get plenty of candy, even if you don’t use all of your tickets for treats. If you need more candy, you can always buy additional tickets.
Tip: The treat stations at the front of the zoo get very crowded, but the ones towards the back are not as busy. So, I recommend heading to the back to get your treats with less waiting and hassle.
There are a few different shows offered as part of Boo at the Zoo. Each is about 20-30 minutes in length. They all run several times a day throughout Boo at the Zoo. The start times are staggered, so it is possible to catch all of them without too much of a wait.
All of the shows are Halloween-themed, but only one includes animals. This show is located in the amphitheater which normally hosts the animal education shows. This particular show is the same basic show with a Halloween twist.
The other shows are silly and fun. They feature ghosts, monsters, and other classic Halloween characters in a fun and non-scary way, so kids will love them. These shows include corny jokes that kids think are hilarious. These shows are in the special events pavilion. My son loves the shows at Boo at the Zoo. Each year, we have to see them multiple times.
Pumpkin Patch/Craft Zone
Tucked away in the Waterfowl Trail area of the zoo, you will find the pumpkin patch and craft zone. The pumpkin patch contains numerous pumpkins which have been decorated by zoo staff and other members of the community. There are several very creative pumpkins here. It is definitely worth taking a few minutes to walk through the pumpkin patch.
In the Craft Zone, which you will find next to the pumpkin patch, they have a craft project for kids to do. If you have a junior crafter in your family, this is definitely something you will want to check out during Boo at the Zoo.
You will find some classic carnival games in the special events pavilion. These games each take one ticket to play. However, regardless of win or lose, you will receive candy for playing. This is great because kids don’t have to choose between using their tickets to play games or get candy. They can do both. There is a special section set up specifically for toddlers.
This particular area tends to be pretty busy, but there is never a long line for any game. There is just a lot of people milling around moving from game to game. The games are all set up next to each other, and in my opinion, they are a little too close to each other. This leads to confusion on where the line is for each game in some instances.
Many times, you will also see clowns or other entertainers walking around in the game area. Another thing that I usually see in this area is an outside snow cone truck. You will need to pay cash at the snow cone truck. This can be a great treat for families. However, whenever the snow cone truck is around, there are usually bees too. So, be cautious if you have someone in your family allergic to bees.
Throughout the day during Boo at the Zoo, the zookeepers will have animal encounters and zookeeper talks at various times. Each talk is about a particular animal and is located at that exhibit. This is a great way to learn more about the animals and interact with the zookeepers. Check the Boo at the Zoo schedule of events for the times and locations of these talks.
Boo at the Zoo is not just for people! The animals get in on the fun too. Throughout the zoo, you will see pumpkins and other special Halloween-themed treats, such as candy corn shaped ice blocks in the animal exhibits. It is fun to watch the animals examine, eat, and play with their special holiday treats!
Boo at the Zoo is a lot of fun. We have been many years since my son was about 2 years old. For us, Boo at the Zoo is the best Halloween activity to do each year. My son has a lot of fun wearing his costume to the zoo, trading tickets for candy, watching the shows, and playing games. I enjoy seeing all the pumpkins and watching the animals with their pumpkins. Plus, I don’t have to worry about the candy being tampered with. It is a great way to celebrate the holiday in a fun and safe manner.
If you are planning on attending Boo at the Zoo, I recommend going as early as possible. The zoo opens at 10 am each day. Plan to arrive earlier than that if you want to avoid the rush. Arriving around 9:30-9:40 will let you beat the traffic into the parking lot.
Let your kids wear their costumes, but try to put them in costumes that they can easily walk and move around in. It is difficult to play games and see the animals if their costumes limit their mobility. The zoo staff will hand out bags to collect candy in, or you can bring your own bucket or bag. We usually take our own bucket.
Remember: don’t stop at the treat stations at the front of the zoo. Head to the back instead. You will find the same candy at treat stations without the crowds.
Be sure to check areas off the main pathways. Most of the events are held down these side trails and aren’t easily seen from the main path. There are lots of signs pointing you in the right directions though. However, if you don’t walk through most of the zoo, you will likely miss many of the activities.
The Ft. Worth Zoo is a wonderful place to spend some quality family time. Boo at the Zoo ups the fun factor even more with Halloween themed activities. I highly recommend it! It is definitely worth your time! For more tips on visiting Fort Worth, see my review of the zoo, things to do with kids, and places to eat with kids. Happy travels!