Welcome to the Houston Zoo!

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Barn Cam
Platform Cam

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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.


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.


Life is full of stories, from small moments to big feats. In this brand-new 4-D experience, Great Escapes: Life in 4-D takes a never-before-seen look at the ingenious tactics animals have developed to survive and thrive in a danger-filled world. From the award-winning makers of Planet Earth, Great Escapes: Life in 4-D captures unprecedented, jaw-dropping sequences in digital 3-D with added special effects that brings you right into the middle of the action. Run along with the Sengi, free fall with a Pebble toad and outrun African wild dogs. This 12-minute 4-D experience is packed with excitement, revelation and entertainment.

Photography © David Ponton

Wildlife Carousel

The Houston Zoo’s Wildlife Carousel is located at the entrance to the John P. McGovern Children’s Zoo. The carousel is a unique work of art, hand carved and painted.Many of the exotic animals represented on the carousel can be found in the zoo, such as the okapi, bongo, babirusa and giant eland. Also represented are the only armadillos known to exist as carousel figures!


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!

The Wildlife Carousel will be closed August 18 – 29, 2014 for repairs and maintenance.

Tickets: $1.25 members, $2.50 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.

Giraffe Feeding

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 obvious curiosity about their visitors!


Make your way up the ramp to the feeding area for a birds-eye 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

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.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014, the Water Play Park is closed for repairs.

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.

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.


Gorilla Tommy has seen many different Koolookamba images. 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 Koolookamba in The African Forest. Can you find them all?

Before Your Visit: In case you would like a little help with your search, we have provided a slideshow with pictures of each Koolookamba’s location to guide you in the right direction.