Houston Zoo

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Houston Zoo
Houston Zoo logo.svg
Houston Zoo entrance.jpg
Houston Zoo entrance
Date openedSeptember 1922
LocationHouston, Texas, United States
Coordinates29°42′58.074″N 95°23′26.05″W / 29.71613167°N 95.3905694°W / 29.71613167; -95.3905694Coordinates: 29°42′58.074″N 95°23′26.05″W / 29.71613167°N 95.3905694°W / 29.71613167; -95.3905694
Land area55 acres (22 ha)
No. of animals6,000+
No. of species900
Annual visitors2.1 million
OwnerHouston Zoo Inc.
Entrance marked as HZE
Location within Hermann Park

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.[2] 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.


African Forest

Called the most ambitious project in the zoo's then 88-year history, the African Forest officially opened on December 10, 2010.[3] 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.[4] In 2011, the Houston Press gave the Houston Zoo the Best of Houston® Award for Best New Ecosystem.[5]

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.[citation needed]

Kipp Aquarium

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.[6]


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.[7]


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.[8]

Sea lions

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

A winding boardwalk through a natural setting, this exhibit displays a variety of rare and endangered primates, including lemurs, monkeys, gibbons and orangutans.

Texas Wetlands

Opened in March 2019, this new exhibit displays three native species: American alligators, whooping cranes, and bald eagles.

Reptile and Amphibian House

This building displays several venomous snakes and exotic amphibians, including a blue iguana, a crocodile monitor, and a reticulated python.

Bug 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

This exhibit displays macaws, jaguars, giant river otters, tapirs, rheas, capybaras and toucans

Live webcams

The zoo offers nine exhibit webcams, including the Rhino Cam,[9] Elephant Yard Cam,[10] and Leafcutter Ant Cam.[11]


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.



  1. ^ "Currently Accredited Zoos and Aquariums". aza.org. AZA. Retrieved September 13, 2011.
  2. ^ Shilcutt, Katharine. "The Houston Zoo Is the Second Most-Visited Zoo in the Nation, All Thanks to You". Houstonia. SagaCity Media. Retrieved February 22, 2017.
  3. ^ Peter Riger Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2010 (November 24, 2010). "The Making of the African Forest - Houston Zoo". houstonzoo.org. Retrieved March 1, 2017.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  4. ^ The African Forest - Houston Zoo, houstonzoo.org, retrieved March 1, 2017
  5. ^ The African Forest, Houston Zoo - Best New Ecosystem, houstonpress.com, retrieved March 1, 2017
  6. ^ Birds Exhibits - Houston Zoo, houstonzoo.org, retrieved March 1, 2017
  7. ^ Kipp Aquarium - Houston Zoo, houstonzoo.org, retrieved March 1, 2017
  8. ^ About the Carnivores - Houston Zoo, houstonzoo.org, retrieved March 1, 2017
  9. ^ Rhino Cam
  10. ^ Elephant Yard Cam
  11. ^ Leafcutter Ant Cam

External links