We’ve had Dallas Zoo memberships for three years now. It’s been one of our go-to places to coordinate playdates with friends and family, let the kids run to get some energy out, and a nice excuse for the adults to also get some steps in. You probably knew that they were closed for a while in early Spring, right when COVID started. But, did you know that they re-opened with several precautions in place to make your visits run smoother?
Here are a few things for you to know about visiting the Dallas Zoo in 2020:
As of late June, the Dallas Zoo’s mask policy shifted to require guests over age 10 to wear face-coverings at all times, and they “strongly encourage children age 2 and up to wear face coverings as well, especially while indoors and in restrooms.” (NBCDFW). They have added several adult and youth masks to their gift shops near the entrance. They also sell them online. Although, at the time of this publishing most of them were sold out.
Directional Arrows help with Distancing
Throughout the Dallas Zoo there are large signs, some roped areas, and directional arrows taped on the ground to direct the flow of foot traffic. For the most part, these additions are pretty intuitive, and if you haven’t been in a while you may not even notice them. Our four-year-old has, just because he has the place memorized and some of the barriers change the flow of our usual paths.
Order Tickets Ahead
At this time, they are not accepting walk-up ticket purchases. You must reserve timed tickets via their website.
The Dallas Zoo has made significant changes to the ticketing and entry process, as well as their daily operations to keep everyone safe and healthy. All guests, including Members, must reserve tickets and parking online prior to visiting.
We have been to the zoo twice since they reopened. Both times, we were able to log in and find a time slot that worked for us. Also, the slot you reserve relates to your entry. As far as I know, there is no cap on how long you can stay. We’ve found, based on the amount of walking we typically do, 2.5 hours is our personal max.
Food and Drinks
You are able to bring outside food and drinks into the zoo. We typically bring a small cooler bag, water, and snacks and throw them in the bottom of our stroller*. You can see the full list of which concessions are open and closed on their reopen page. One thing worth noting – some of the places are only open on specific days of the week. This doesn’t likely impact you much unless you have a specific treat your kiddos are used to getting during their zoo visits.
*Side-note: The Dallas Zoo (and the Arboretum) are the only places we still bring a stroller. Although our son is older, there are long stretches of walking at the zoo. Also, he tends to be an all day-eater when we are there, so he’ll hop in and ride for a bit while he eats. It’s also helpful because we tend to have a lot to carry on zoo adventure days.
The following areas remain closed for the time being:
- Prime Meridian Café
- Bug U!
- Highland Hippo Hut
- Adventure Safari Monorail
- Lacerte Family Children’s Zoo (bathrooms are open)
Pre-Covid, the Children’s play area (including brushing the goats) and the Monorail were non-negotiables. Sadly, both of those are currently closed.
Although our visits to the Dallas Zoo look different this year, we are still glad to have a place to get out and enjoy family time. Since entry and parking is included in our membership, and the fact that we usually pack food, it’s one of our most budget-friendly sources of entertainment.