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Texas Direct Auto Wildlife Carousel

The Texas Direct Auto Wildlife Carousel is near the entrance to the John P. McGovern Children’s Zoo. It’s a unique work of art, hand carved and painted. Many exotic animals on the carousel are found in the zoo, such as the okapi, bongo, and cassowary, and you can see the only armadillos known to exist as carousel figures! Go for a spin and ride along to the collection of musical styles from across the globe.


A portion of the proceeds from the Carousel helps fund the Zoo’s ongoing conservation efforts. Riders of all ages can have fun taking a spin and knowing that they are bringing hope to endangered species and wild habitats around the world!

Tickets: $2 members, $3 non-members

Carousel Rules

  • Children over 42″ tall may ride alone.
  • Each child under 42″ tall must be accompanied by an adult, who will stand next to the child as he/she rides for safety. (This adult does not need to purchase a ticket.)
  • No food, drinks or strollers are allowed on the Wildlife Carousel.
  • Carousel tickets, including discounted tickets for members, may be purchased at the carousel or at Admissions. Credit cards and cash are accepted.
  • There are no refunds for unused passes.

4-D Experience

A 4-D Experience starts with the stunning visuals of a 3-D movie, and then adds effects like scents, mists, bubbles, lights, and more to bring movies to life. All movies are between 10-15 minutes of fun!

Please note: The 4-D Experience contains theatrical lighting, including strobe lights. Please use discretion if your child is easily startled, or if you have medical conditions related to your back. An assistive listening system is available in the 4-D Experience theater. Please ask a theater attendant for a headset prior to seating.

• Strollers are not permitted within the theater; stroller parking is available.
• The Houston Zoo is not responsible for lost or stolen items.


In this exciting BBC Earth 4-D adventure, explore the mysterious frozen worlds of the Arctic and Antarctic and the effects of the ice on the animals that live there. The seasonal advance and retreat of the ice produces some of the greatest physical challenges experienced anywhere in the animal world–shaping the lives and survival of Polar bears, Emperor penguins, Humpback whales and Sea lions. With in-theater special effects that bring this amazing story to life, Planet Earth: Ice Worlds transports you to the Arctic Circle and Antarctica, and the danger-filled world of the animals that live there.

Planet Earth: Shallow Seas is a BBC/Discovery Channel/NHK co-production in association with the CBC.

Showtimes are available on our Hours and Directions page.


When the villainous Plankton abducts all the Jellyfish with his pollution-belching contraption, it is up to SpongeBob SquarePants to save the day! With his friends in tow, SpongeBob takes us all on a rollicking adventure to free the Jellyfish and destroy Plankton’s terrible machine. See how SpongeBob’s big heart puts him oceans above the rest!

© 2014 Viacom International Inc. All Rights Reserved. Nickelodeon, SpongeBob SquarePants and all related titles, logos and characters are trademarks of Viacom International Inc. SpongeBob SquarePants created by Stephen Hillenburg.

Showtimes are available on our Hours and Directions page.

Giraffe Feeding Platform

Zoo guests have a unique opportunity to interact with our Masai giraffe family at the Giraffe Feeding Platform. Our giraffes are among the most beloved at the Houston Zoo for their charm and curiosity about their visitors! Make your way up the ramp to the shaded feeding area for a view of the giraffes, zebra, and ostriches while you offer a crunchy lettuce leaf snack to your new long-necked pals.


Feedings daily at 11 am and 2 pm* – $5 for giraffe food
*dependent on weather and giraffe participation

Revenue generated from giraffe feeding helps support the care of our giraffes and the other 6,000 animals at the Houston Zoo.

Naturally Wild Swap Shop

Open Daily 9:00 – 11:45 a.m. and 1:00 – 3:45 p.m.
Located in the McGovern Children’s Zoo

Have you ever found a mysterious rock, fossil, shell, or bone and thought “wow…this is really cool! I wonder what it is?” Well, you’ll never have to wonder again.

Children's Zoo Swap Shop

Just visit the Naturally Wild Swap Shop: it’s a place to bring items you have found in nature and trade them for natural items in our collection (only three items at a time, please – our shop gets really busy sometimes!).

How It Works:
1. Find a natural item you are interested in or would like to know more about.
2. Learn all you can about your item.
3. Bring your item to the Swap Shop and discuss what you learned with our Naturalist.
4. Earn points for your item and for your knowledge about the item.
5. Trade your points for something in our collection or save them for later.

You Can Earn Points For:
1. Knowledge – What do you know about your item? Have you learned something interesting about your item?
2. Quality – Is your item clean? Is it in good condition?
3. Effort – What did you do to find your item? How much time did you spend researching and learning about it?

Items you can Trade at the Swap Shop:
Items you CANNOT Bring to the Swap Shop:

Kathrine McGovern Water Play Park

Regular hours:
Open Daily April 1 – October 31, 2014
10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Subject to close for a portion of the day when the ambient temperature is below 70 degrees or due to thunderstorms in the area, to protect the health and safety of our guests.


The Water Play Park, free with your Zoo admission, is more than 13,500 square feet of family fun. This summer oasis has 37 different water play features, from a friendly and colorful sea serpent to a tall ‘fill and spill’ water tree, and a variety of ‘water weavers’, fountains, jets and misters. The design also incorporates private changing stalls and a seating wall allowing families to monitor their children and watch the fun. An advanced filtration system allows us to maintain excellent water quality while conserving water and energy.

The Water Play Park is also notable for its ‘green’ design. The Park’s water features are only activated when a guest steps on one of two touch sensors. When left untouched, the Park remains in ‘sleep’ mode until a guest activates the sensor, conserving both water and electricity.

Find the Hidden Koolookambas

Where are the Koolookambas? Look carefully as you journey through The African Forest. While there is no signage pointing you in the right direction, you will see indications and likely even glimpses of the Koolookamba along the way. There are many hidden images; in essence, a Koolookamba waits around many corners.


Check all around on walls, buildings, trees and other surfaces. Fact or fiction, this forest creature ignited Gorilla Tommy’s transformation from exploiter of the earth to a protector of the environment. If the Koolookamba is a myth, it’s a myth with a powerful impact.

Gorilla Tommy has seen 27 Koolookambas in The African Forest. Can you find them all?