Those who attend my parenting workshops will tell you, my family is a get-up-and-go type of operation. My husband and I actually panic a bit when we have an entire weekend with nothing on the calendar. We love the feeling of exposing our boys to new and interesting things and let’s face it, kids just behave better when they’re actively engaged. As residents of the DFW area, we have visited the Dallas Zoo in the past but not often and never completely to our satisfaction. So this year we decided to change all of that. We recently bought our very first membership to the Dallas Zoo and intend to visit many times before it expires next April. In my Adventures in DFW and How They Relate to Multiple Intelligences workshop I explain the benefit of yearly memberships to a favorite local attraction and the Dallas Zoo is a great option. According to my family, here are the top five reasons to buy a membership to the Dallas Zoo:
1. Affordable. With a family membership for just under $100, two adults living in the same household and all of their children can visit the zoo any day of the year (the zoo is open every day except Christmas) with free parking for each visit (typically $7 a pop). Also, the family membership comes with 4 tickets to the Endangered Species Carousel and 4 tickets to the Monorail Safari – these are tons of fun and very exciting for little ones!
2. Picnics. The Dallas Zoo allows you to bring in picnics from home for easy snacking and leisurely lunches. This is a great option for families on a budget and those with strict dietary guidelines. Bring a stroller or wagon to carry around your kids and pile your picnic in there too. There are plenty of places where you can eat and watch the animals at the same time – this picnic place is right by where the eagles live. (The birds……………not Don Henley’s friends).
3. Animal Encounters. In our experience, the zoo isn’t just a place to look at the animals – being around so many in one place means you’re bound to have your very own animal encounter sooner or later. We happened upon a snake keeper who let us pet her friend as she told us all about the snake. (As a mother of 3 boys, it was only a matter of time before I was asked to pet a snake. ) And one of my older boys was THRILLED when a bird pooped on his shirt sleeve. He was sure that the bird took a special interest in him and that the “gift” was a product of a connection they shared. It was all I could do to convince him that we needed to clean it off and not cherish it forever.
4. Family Time. Watching and learning about the animals together was a loving experience for my whole family. Since my older boys are new readers, they surprised us by reading aloud about each animal that we discovered. Like for example, did you know that huge hairy looking tarantulas aren’t as dangerous as horror movies have led us to believe? And that smaller snakes can’t eat rats because they’re too big and they could hurt the snake WHILE he’s eating it? These interesting tidbits brought to you by the 7 yr olds in the family.
5. The Future. The Dallas Zoo is currently upgrading and about to unveil their newest habitat – the 11 acre Giants of the Savanna. This habitat will house giraffes, elephants, lions, cheetahs and many other African species and is the largest Dallas Zoo project in 20 years. Our family can’t wait to come back through the year and really explore this fantastic new site which will feature multiple swimming holes for the animals.
There are lots of ways to experience the DFW area but in my opinion, the Dallas Zoo shouldn’t be overlooked. Pack a lunch, load the wagon and get there early. I promise you a day your entire family will love.