Friday, the tribe drove into Houston (TX), to do something other than fishing. 😉 We spent the day at the Houston Zoo! The zoo had excellent parking, and the grounds were clean and well kept. After getting through the gate, the first place that we went was the aquarium building…The tanks were well lit, and each of the tanks had an informative, electronic display above it… There was a different screen for each different species in an enclosure… the screens show a picture, name, and for some animals their status (endangered, threatened, declining, or stable). It also shows a description, and states a few interesting facts… Caleb began to cry when it was time to move on to see other parts of the zoo, and we had to work to convince him that it would be fun to go see the elephants! LOL!
The zoo grounds were very nice. There are 3 café/eateries on the grounds, with lots of other food/treat carts (most of the carts weren’t open during our visit, but are on the weekends).Next we went to the bird enclosures, where we got to see all sorts of tropical birds. This girl was born in 1964, and this kind of toucan can live to around 70 years old! In this area, there was a volunteer that was talking to visitors and offering information about the birds and exhibits. There is a sea lion pool; the sea lions were active while we were there, and we got a great front row seat. Right next to where we were standing, there was a water inlet. The sea lions would come over and swim under it, hanging out under the flow of water, with mouths open – just like a kid drinking from the hose! LOL!The kids loved the meerkats. There were meerkat enclosures in 2 different areas of the park, and you could get very close to them.There were at least six Asian Elephants…We enjoyed the reptile house…and we were sure to check out the poisonous snakes that are found down here. We have Diamondback Rattlesnakes back home, and the kids know what they look like, but we all needed a refresher course on what to be on the lookout for down south! This is a cottonmouth…Check out this guy – he’s a Rhino Viper. When I look at the variety of all the creatures we share this Earth with, I have to think that God must have enjoyed creating creation. In the reptile and amphibian house, there was the nicest volunteer. Alec spent the entire time going from child to child in the building, and showing them a crocodile skull, and pointing out the differences between crocs and alligators. He told us about ‘Blanco’, the zoo’s resident albino alligator. While Blanco is all white, he is not a true albino because his eyes are black instead or red or pink.Blanco was found shortly after hatching in the wild, as part of a nall male batch of albinos. Several of the alligators were rounded up and dispersed to various zoos; albino animals seldom live long in the wild – they are more vulnerable to predators since they lack any camouflaging coloring.
We walked through the primate area; the monkeys were all inside (I’m guessing due to the cold weather), but we did find this guy outside. When he saw the camera, he got up and posed. It was pretty funny!The zoo has a male lion named Jonathan, and at least 2 lionesses; we got to see one up close as she was walking right next to the window. She was nearly as tall as Molly!South American bear…And that was as far as Caleb made it! He fell asleep in the North American animals, and was out the rest of the time; I considered waking him up to take him through the aquarium building again on our way out, but we decided to try to beat the traffic instead. Houston traffic is its own zoo!There were huge African cattle…and an “Africa Forest” area that had some activities for the kids… (little and big)The kids enjoyed the drums.There are quite a few giraffes, and the zoo has public giraffe feeding twice daily (for a fee).The zoo is very kid friendly, and next the little girls’ found their favorite spot…A fun, zoo-animal inspired carousel! Caleb was still sleeping, so he missed out, but the little girls loved it!We realized Molly’s giraffe didn’t go up and down, so we had to change mounts real fast. She would prob not have chosen a baboon otherwise! LOL!Then it was off to the Children’s Zoo! They had a fun playground area (with a couple of other smaller areas also), petting zoo (complete with hand sanitizer stations 😉 ), farm animals, bat cave, insects and small reptiles, and a ‘ship’ that has water on two sides – you walk onto the deck, then down a couple of stairs to some viewing windows. While we were there, there was a large alligator snapping turtle (at least we think that’s what it was 😉 ) that was hanging out right by the window.
The kids liked the meerkats in the children’s area – there were tunnels that the kids could go through, under the meerkat habitat, that led them out to view tubes that popped up in the middle of the meerkat enclosure…There was a river otter in the children’s area; he was such a showoff, and fun to watch!We walked past the flamingoes on our way out of the park. They are so beautiful!We loved all the unique birds. This is a Kookaburra…What? Didn’t your mother ever sing ‘The Kookaburra song’ to you?
“Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree. Merry, merry king of the bush is he. Laugh, Kookaburra! Laugh, Kookaburra! Gay your life must be! Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree…” (my mom did! )
Or how about the parody that is a popular playground tune with Australian children:
“Kookaburra sits on electric wire, jumping up and down with his pants on fire. Laugh, Kookaburra, laugh, Kookaburra. Hot your pants must be.” LOL! (I suppose it loses something if you don’t know the tune 😉 )
We loved our time at the Houston Zoo! It was a fun day for the littles, and the rest of us enjoyed the animals too! We were there from about 10 to 3:45 (and could have stayed longer, but that other zoo experience was waiting for us on the interstate!).
The zoo is located in south central Houston, and is open seven days a week from 9am to 6pm (last entry is at 5). General admission is :
Children Under 2 – FREE
Children 2-11 – $10
Adults 12-64 – $14
Senior 65+ – $7.50
Members are free of course, and there are special rate packages if you would like to experience the 4-D movie that is offered in the African Forest area, and the carousel (rate page is found here – the page also includes info on the Houston City Pass which includes entrance to 5 popular Houston destinations for nearly 50% off!)
The zoo offers free admission the first Tues of every month, from 2 to close, Sept. to May.
The Houston Zoo made for a fun day in the city for our tribe! Definitely a fun, family friendly place to go next time you are in the Houston area!!!