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Traveling Around - Dallas, Texas - The Dallas Zoo
Getting There and Getting In
Recently, when traveling around, I have decided to depend upon my GPS to get me to my destination because a year or so ago I kept deciding upon my own and wound up either getting lost or adding miles to my trip. On the way to the Dallas Zoo the signs on the highway said to do one thing, my GPS said do it differently. I followed the instructions from the GPS and proceeded to get lost. She wouldn't even "recalculate". Finally used the telephone to straighten myself out and get to the zoo.
We're glad we did.
There were three zillion kids there but the adult chaperones seemed to be in full control and the youngsters were well behaved.
The zoo is divided into two general areas. There is the ZooNorth and the Wilds of Africa. Each of these two major sections are divided into smaller groupings. Just inside the main entrance is the gift store where stroller type conveyances, wheelchairs, and motorized carts can be rented. Opposite the gift shop is an operational carousel.
As we entered ZooNorth an amphitheater performance was in progress. It had to do with the wild bird life of the world and featured a parrot that had mastered several words and could sing "Old McDonald". We decided that we'd pass it by and return for a later performance. The sky was cloudy and there was a brisk breeze so many of the small animals in this part of the zoo that would normally have been outdoors were hiding in their habitats. We did however enjoy the Birds Landing where you can buy food for the small birds that inhabit the small aviary. When you enter there are many small birds flying and patrons were warned that the birds had been known to bite and to poop. Some of the braver patrons allowed the birds to land on their arms or shoulders so they could take pictures.
Further into ZooNorth was the Australian Outback. There were kangaroos, wallabies, and emus. They didn't seem to be bothered by the temperatures and were enjoying themselves with the attention of the many children. Close to them was an enclosure that housed two koala bears. The Reptile & Amphibian Building was also close by. Inside that building we saw a white alligator, as well as getting pictures of large lizards - a Perentis Monitor and a Rhinoceros Iguana - both fascinating creatures. There were many snakes and lizards and creepy, crawly things in there.
In this general area there is the Safari Express Train. It's a small motorized train replica that buzzes around a preset course through a picnic area. By this time we had worked our way around the ZooNorth and were back near the entrance. It was time for the next performance in the amphitheater so we relaxed on the bleachers and realized that the clouds had dissipated and the sun was shining. The warmth felt good and we enjoyed the 25 minute performance of various birds - particularly the parts where there were no humans visible on the performance stage.
Wilds Of Africa
Leaving the ZooNorth area and proceeding to the Wilds of Africa, we passed the south entrance to the zoo. It's directly opposite the main entrance and when I was following my GPS it wanted me to enter there. The gates had been closed and that is probably what made my GPS unhappy. When walking from ZooNorth to the Wilds of Africa, you proceed through a long tunnel: wide and spacious and well lit.
The first exhibit we saw in this area was an enclosed pond where there were black penguins. They are similar to the penguins that we were used to seeing but instead of white with black trim, they were black with white trim. We also saw a large area devoted to Mandrills. I have difficulty remembering which are the more intelligently advanced of this type of animal and so just enjoy watching them cavort, eat, and sleep.
We headed for the monorail station to take a "sitting down" view of the zoo but got sidetracked by a performance that was going on at the Wild Encounters Stage/
It is a small area where the audience is separated from the performance by only a small roped divider. The show that was going on when we got there featured a Caribbean Flamingo named Aruba. Aruba was a frantic bird about 3 foot tall that thoroughly entertained the group watching. In addition, there is a performance by a young African serval cat that could jump 10 feet into the air. Other animals featured there are African-crested porcupine Chimalsi and other animals, including a three-banded armadillo, spur-thigh tortoise, Eurasian eagle owl, ball python and more.
We did get to the monorail next and when seated found ourselves at a side angle to the front of the train. We were looking out the side of the train and, as the train traversed the outside of the grounds , we peered down into most of the habitats. The narrated tour takes about 20 minutes and travels a mile. We went from forest to mountains to woodlands to river habitat to arid and semi-arid habitats and then through a chimpanzee forest and by a crocodile lake before swinging around the black penguin pond that we had walked by earlier.
Giants of the Savannah
Our walking then took us into the Giants of the Savanna to watch a small herd of female elephants. They had a large habitat and wandered around aimlessly. An attendant told us that the youngest was in her 30's and the oldest about 46. The zebras were next and shared space with the ostriches.
In the area of the giraffes which were next was a feeding area where you could buy giraffe food and hand feed the giraffes. We enjoyed watching those long tongues flick out and take food from someone's hand.
This was followed by the predator encounter which separated the habitats of the cheetahs and the lions. The big tawny manes of the lions waved and shifted in the breeze. Immediately outside this area is the Gorilla Trail and the Gorilla Research Station.
We spent about 3 hours and probably could have seen more but ran out of energy.
Several eating places and snack cafes are situated conveniently throughout the zoo. We did not walk very far without seeing a restroom sign. There is an admission charge to enter the zoo and the riding attractions require an additional fee. Further information about fees and hours of operation can be found on line at their web site. The DART Red Line has a station immediately across the street from the main entrance.