Any links in this post to a merchant may contain an affiliate link, which means that if you click on that link and then buy something, I may earn a commission from it. However, all opinions in this link are 100% mine and 100% honest. If I didn't believe in a particular product, I wouldn't recommend it to you.
Fort Worth, Texas is the 19th largest city in America, but it feels more like a small town. It is a laid-back, family-friendly city that is the perfect location for a family vacation. One of the gems of Fort Worth is the zoo. It is consistently ranked as one of the top 10 zoos in America. If you visit Fort Worth with kids, you must go to the zoo. This is my review of Fort Worth Zoo.
The Fort Worth Zoo is located in the heart of the city. It is nestled into a small area between the TCU campus on one side and the trendy 7th Street area on the other. It is also just a stone’s throw away from downtown Fort Worth and the popular Magnolia neighborhood. This all makes its location extremely convenient to get to, but also makes it easy to get to restaurants and hotels after your visit.
The zoo has its own parking lot sitting right in front of the entrance. During busy times, like Spring Break and summer, this parking lot will fill up rather quickly in the day. When this happens, the zoo opens up overflow parking across the street from the entrance. When the overflow parking lot fills, as it sometimes does, zoo employees and Fort Worth police officers will park cars in additional parking lots down the street from the zoo. Parking in the primary lot will cost you $5 per car. If you must park in any of the overflow parking areas, you will be allowed to park for free.
The good news about this is that finding a parking spot at the zoo, even on the busiest days, should be no problem for you. The bad news is that if you get there during late morning or early afternoon on a busy day, you will probably have to walk a bit to get to the entrance, but at least it will be free! I recommend getting to the zoo when it opens at 10:00, or even a little bit before in order to get a close parking spot.
Hours of Operation and Price of Admission
The Fort Worth Zoo is open 365 days per year. From early March through early July, the zoo is open from 10 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday and 10 am to 6 pm on Saturdays and Sundays. From early July to late October, the daily hours of operation are 10 am to 5 pm. During the time from late October to early March, the zoo is open each day from 10 am to 4 pm. On Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day, the zoo is only open from noon to 4 pm. On these two holidays, all dining, retail, and attraction locations are closed, but you can enter the zoo to see the animals. Admission is $14 for individuals age 13 and over, $10 for senior citizens and children ages 3-12. Toddlers under the age of 3 are free. Wednesdays are half-priced admission days at the zoo.
I love that the zoo is open every day. This means that the animals will be ready to see you whenever you are ready to go see them. While a trip to the Fort Worth Zoo is always fun, try going on an unexpected day, like during Christmas week. Another great time to visit the zoo is when the weather is on the cooler side. The crowds will be virtually nonexistent on these days and the animals tend to be more active when it is not as hot. We love visiting the zoo on these days!
At the zoo, you will see all of the expected animals such as giraffes, elephants, tigers, lions, and zebras. They also have a primate house and a rather large exhibit that features various birds of prey. The zoo also features three species of flamingos. The two most popular exhibits at the zoo are the Texas Wild area, which showcases animals native to Texas and the Museum of Living Art (MOLA), which is the zoo’s state of the art reptile, fish, and amphibian exhibit. My son’s favorite exhibit is the Parrot Paradise, where you can buy sticks of bird feed for $3 per stick and feed the parrots and parakeets inside an aviary.
The animal exhibits are all cleverly designed to give you the best views of the animals. The only real exception to this is the hippos exhibit, which is difficult to see into especially for kids. This isn’t helped by the fact that the hippos tend to stay under the water most of the time. The exhibits are all built in such a way to make them resemble the animals’ natural environment as closely as possible.
The Fort Worth Zoo has several entertainment options to experience during your visit. In the zoo’s Outdoor Learning Theater, they put on a cute little stage show multiple times a day which gives you an up-close look at some of the animals in their outreach collection. Boston really enjoys watching this show. Additionally, throughout the zoo, they have zoo keeper talks at various times. Each of these talks focuses on a specific breed of animal giving you more in-depth information and allowing you to ask questions.
The zoo also offers a petting zoo, shooting gallery, and play barn in the Texas Wild section. For an additional charge, you can ride the Yellow Rose Express Train or Country Carousel or try to climb the Tasmanian Tower. In the summer, the zoo offers a zero-entry splash pad for the kids. We sometimes go to the zoo just to play in the splash pad. It is $5 per person in addition to your zoo admission. They only allow a certain number of people into the splash pad at a time, so I suggest you head there early in your day. This is our favorite splash pad in all of Fort Worth.
The zoo offers multiple special events throughout the year. During October, the zoo celebrates Halloween with its annual Boo at the Zoo. You can read more about that here. In June, the zoo is host to Beastro, which is an adults-only event that is part food tasting, part concert. The zoo has a Mother’s Day brunch each year too. Additionally, you can have birthday parties or other events at the zoo. Please see the zoo’s website for more information on any of the special events.
We have attended Boo at the Zoo many times. It is a lot of fun, especially if you have younger children. It is a great place to safely let your kids trick-or-treat while also seeing some animals. We have attended Beastro and the Mother’s Day brunch in the past as well. I enjoyed all of these events. I particularly love the Mother’s Day brunch. The only drawback to it is that it sells out quickly, so you must order tickets very early in order to take advantage of this special day.
There are numerous places within the zoo to buy food. In addition to several zoo-owned places, you will also find chain restaurants such as Pizza Hut, Dickey’s Barbecue, and Burger King. You can get everything from burgers to chicken to hot dogs. Also, there are a lot of snack locations throughout the zoo. You will find a candy store and an ice cream parlor. Crocodile Cafe is a food court located close to the front of the zoo. It is next to MOLA. While it gets quite busy at times, it is one of my favorite places inside of the zoo to eat. Two walls of the seating area are all-glass and look out onto saltwater crocodiles, fish, and turtles.
The zoo also will allow you to bring in your own food, if you prefer. They have several picnic areas with plenty of shade. Straws, glass containers, and alcoholic beverages are strictly prohibited, however.
You will find several gift shops scattered throughout the zoo. The main gift shop is located right at the entrance to the zoo. There are also places to find fun souvenirs in other areas. During the busy spring and summer months, the zoo also sets up souvenir carts with some of the more popular souvenir items. If you need an umbrella, ponchos, sunscreen, or other necessities during your visit, you can find them at any of the gift shops. The zoo has strollers for rent, as well. You will find the stroller rental once you enter the zoo and cross the bridge. It is right across the path from the primate house.
The Fort Worth Zoo is one of the nation’s top zoos each and every year. It is a wonderfully laid-out zoo with pleasant exhibits and tons of entertainment options to keep you and your kids busy all day. There are plenty of food and souvenir options in the zoo too. In the summer, the kids can cool off at the zoo’s own splash pad. MOLA is a beautiful building that houses the zoo’s collection of reptiles, fish, and other aquatic animals. At the back, you will find the Texas Wild section featuring animals native to Texas. If you visit Fort Worth with your kids, you need to make it a point to go to the zoo. You won’t regret it. I hope you enjoyed this review of Fort Worth Zoo. Happy travels!