Discover Animals from Around the World at the Houston Zoo


The Houston Zoo is considered to be one of Houston’s best attractions. It is a 55-acre zoological park located in Hermann Park, and it is the second most visited zoo in the U.S. It is home to over 6,000 animals from 900 different species. The Association of Zoos and Aquariums accredits the zoo, and since 2002, it has been operated by a non-profit corporation named Houston Zoo. In this article, we are going to give you a guide on the animals that you can see and interact with at the Houston Zoo.

African Forest Exhibit

This exhibit is called as the most ambitious project in Houston Zoo. The African Forest exhibit was officially opened in December 2010. In this exhibit, you will see several African species, such as white rhinoceros, ostrich, Grant’s zebra, Red River hogs, a western lowland gorilla, and Masai giraffe, and chimpanzees.

McNair Asian Elephant Habitat

The McNair Asian Elephant Habitat exhibit is where the Houston Zoo’s keeps its herd of Asian elephants. Here you can see a 7,000-square-foot barn that is custom-built to be the house of the bull elephants. This is a brand-new expanded habitat with a boardwalk that offers an unobstructed view of the elephants while lounging in their new yard and their 160,000-gallon pool.

Houston Zoo Entrance

Allen H. and Ethel G. Carruth Natural Encounters

The Allen H. and Ethel G. Carruth Natural Encounters exhibit is a unique facility at Houston Zoo. You can try simulation adventures through an entire continent, where you can learn about different animals from the rainforest canopy, river’s edge, coral reef, and desert. In this exhibit, you will see various animals such as the Asian small-clawed otter, golden-headed lion tamarin, Damaraland mole-rat, meerkat, Pygmy marmoset, Southern three-banded armadillo, a two-toed sloth, straw-colored fruit bat, aracari, and Eastern collared lizard.

Wortham World of Primates Exhibit

This exhibit at the Houston Zoo has a winding boardwalk with a natural setting where you can see a variety of rare and endangered primates such as monkeys, lemurs, orangutans, and gibbons.

Texas Wetlands Exhibit

This is a new exhibit that was opened in March 2019. Here you will see this new exhibit you will be able to three native species, namely the whooping cranes, American alligators, and bald eagles.

Reptile and Amphibian House Exhibit

In this exhibit, you will see several venomous snakes and exotic amphibians, such as a blue iguana, a reticulated python, and a crocodile monitor.

Bug House Exhibit

This exhibit was opened in 2014, and here you will be able to explore several insects and arachnids that came from different habitats such as jungles, forests, and deserts.

Clownfish at Houston Zoo

Kipp Aquarium Exhibit

This exhibit offers you a glimpse of the underwater habitats such as coral reefs of the Amazon Basin, Pacific Ocean, and the Rift Valley lakes of Africa. In this exhibit, you will also see over 200 species of salt and freshwater fish, such as marine invertebrates, a large school of piranhas, a rescued sea turtle, a green moray eel, moon jellyfish, and giant pacific octopus.


If you want to see different kinds of birds, then the Houston Zoo is the perfect place to go. The zoo has three main exhibits: the Tropical Bird House, the Fischer Bird Garden, and Birds of the World. The Houston Zoo has one of the largest collections of birds in any zoo in the United States. It is home to more than 800 birds from over 200 species. This includes a wide array of diverse birds such as the cassowary, Mariana fruit dove, Micronesian kingfisher, green-winged macaw, and the Congo peafowl.


The Houston Zoo is home to the University of Houston’s mascot, Shasta, the cougar. Aside from that, the zoo also has a carnivore exhibit where you can see some lions, a clouded leopard, Malayan tiger, American black bear, maned wolf, jaguar, and an African wild dog.

Sea lions

The Houston Zoo has a Sea Lion Pool, which is located near the zoo entrance. In this exhibit, you will see California sea lions named Cali, Jonah, Kamia, TJ, and her pup Max.

Houston Zoo

The Houston Zoo is a fantastic place where you can bring your family and friends for multiple occasions and see for yourself the different exhibits.

From the African Forest, Kipp Aquarium, McNair Asian Elephant Habitat, Natural Encounters, Bird Exhibits, and Shoebill Stork Exhibit, and others, the Houston Zoo will never fail to bring fun, excitement, and learning moments with your children.

As parents, you have to be creative enough to think of different ideas to get the most out of the Zoo with your children and other family members during your visit.

Some helpful tips to maximize your visit to the Houston Zoo

Pack a lunch

Packed food for lunch

Houston Zoo allows visitors to bring their own food and drinks in a cooler. 

However, bringing liquor, plastic straws, and glass bottles is prohibited. While the Zoo has restaurants, it will also be inconvenient for you and your children if the crowd starts to swell. If you have picky kids or if you have to avoid further hassle during meal or snack time, you can pack fresh food for your lunch or snacks.

Ride the Carousel

Do not miss the fun at the Wildlife Carousel near the John P. McGovern Children’s Zoo on the west side of Houston Park.

The carousel is an all-time favorite of the children and old alike. Take some photos of the beautifully painted and hand-carved animals you can find on the carousel. Tickets can be purchased at the admission area or the carousel at $2 for members and $3 for non-members.

Splash around the water park

If you happen to visit the Houston Zoo during summer, do not miss the incredible fun and excitement from the 13,500-square-foot Kathrine McGovern Water Play Park.

The entrance to this fantastic water park is already part of your Zoo admission. The different fountains and 37 water features are the most fantastic way to free yourself from the summer heat.

The water park is located near the Medical Center Entrance and the giraffe enclosure on the west side of the Zoo.  

Ride the train

Do not fail to hop on the Hermann Park Railroad when your children are finished checking the animals at the Zoo. You need to spend a little extra cash for the entrance as the train is separate from the Zoo admission ticket. However, riding the train is the best way to cap your fantastic visit to the Houston Zoo.

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