Houston Zoo entrance
|Date opened||September 1922|
|Location||Houston, Texas, United States|
|Land area||55 acres (22 ha)|
|No. of animals||6,000+|
|No. of species||900|
|Annual visitors||2.1 million|
The Houston Zoo is a 55-acre (22 ha) zoological park located within Hermann Park in Houston, Texas, United States. The zoo houses over 6,000 animals from 900 species. It receives 2.1 million visitors each year and is the second most visited zoo in the United States. It is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).
The Houston Zoo's mission statement is "The Houston Zoo connects communities with animals, inspiring action to save wildlife."
The zoo has been operated by the non-profit corporation Houston Zoo Inc. since 2002, and was previously operated by the City of Houston.
- Live webcams
Called the most ambitious project in the zoo's then 88-year history, the African Forest officially opened on December 10, 2010. The exhibit is home to many African species, including Grant's zebra, white rhinoceros, Red River hogs, Masai giraffe, ostrich, chimpanzee, and the western lowland gorilla. In 2011, the Houston Press gave the Houston Zoo the Best of Houston® Award for Best New Ecosystem. In October 2020, a new Pygmy hippopotamus named Silas was transferred to the Houston Zoo from the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha.
McNair Asian Elephant Habitat
The McNair Asian Elephant Habitat is home to the Houston Zoo's herd of Asian elephants. It features a 7,000-square-foot barn custom-built to house the bull elephants, a brand-new expanded habitat with a boardwalk with an unobstructed view of the elephants in their new yard, and a 160,000-gallon pool.
Including habitats from the coral reefs of the Pacific to the Amazon Basin and the Rift Valley lakes of Africa, this exhibit contains over 200 species of fresh and saltwater fish, including marine invertebrates. It is also home to a rescued sea turtle, a large school of piranhas, a green moray eel, the giant pacific octopus and the delicate moon jellyfish.
Featuring three main exhibits, the Fischer Bird Garden, the Tropical Bird House , and Birds of the World, the Houston Zoo boasts one of the largest collections in any US zoo, with more than 800 birds from over 200 species. It includes a range of diverse birds, including the Mariana fruit dove, cassowary, Micronesian kingfisher, Congo peafowl and green-winged macaw.
Hosting the University of Houston's mascot Shasta the cougar, the carnivore exhibit is also home to the lion, Malayan tiger, clouded Leopard, American black bear, African wild dog, jaguar, persian leopard and maned wolf.
The Sea Lion Pool is located by the zoo entrance & is home to California sea lions Jonah, Cali, Kamia, TJ and her pup Max.
Allen H. and Ethel G. Carruth Natural Encounters
The Allen H. and Ethel G. Carruth Natural Encounters is a special building at the zoo where it simulates an adventure through an entire continent, learning about animals from the river’s edge, rainforest canopy, desert, and coral reef. Animals housed there include the Asian small-clawed otter, Damaraland mole-rat, golden lion tamarin, golden-headed lion tamarin, meerkat, naked mole-rat, Pygmy marmoset, southern three-banded armadillo, straw-coloured fruit bat, white-faced saki, two-toed sloth, Eastern collared lizard, & aracari.
Wortham World of Primates
Reptile and Amphibian House
Opened in 2014, this exhibit displays several insects and arachnids from a variety of forests, jungles, and deserts.
John P. McGovern Children’s Zoo
This area comes complete with a petting zoo and a realistic bat cave.
South America's Pantanal
The zoo offers nine exhibit webcams, including the Rhino Cam, Elephant Yard Cam, and Leafcutter Ant Cam.
The Houston Zoo is an active partner in the AZA's Species Survival Plan (SSP) Program, a population management and conservation program for selected species housed in North American zoos.
The zoo supports more than a dozen conservation projects in Texas and across the globe that assist in the survival of endangered wildlife and habitats. Projects include the Houston toad, sea turtle, Attwater's prairie chicken, Galapagos tortoise, Bornean orangutan, elephant, clouded leopard, African lion, frogs, Brazilian tapir, rhinoceros, African wild dog, chimpanzee, okapi, and cheetah.
Shasta VI, the mascot of the University of Houston, with a Houston Zoo trainer
Houston Zoo Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.