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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.

Kathrine McGovern Water Play Park

Open Daily, April 1 – October 31
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 Houston 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 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?

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* – $7 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 a.m. – 5 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.

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

Video: How To Do the Naturally Wild Swap Shop


How do you become a Pollinator Pal?

Plant a pollinator garden! It can be as small as a potted plant or as large as a full scale garden. Once your garden is planted, take some pictures and bring a report about it to the Swap Shop to earn points. Then, as your garden grows and attracts pollinators, bring in reports on what you have seen and how the garden is doing. Your points can then be spent on some amazing natural items in the Swap Shop!