Hoofed Animals Get a New Barn!

If you had to design a place for a giant eland to live, how would you do it? Our Hoofed Stock and Facilities Departments had to work together to answer that exact question. They were tasked with creating a new barn and updated exhibit area for a number of different species, including giant eland, nyala, and warthogs. From the first meeting to the last bolt in the fence, this $1.3 million project involves 24 months of careful planning and building to create the best possible barn for these animals and the keepers that care for them.

The barn’s 16 separate stalls are state-of-the-art and include dirt and natural floors, which are good for the animals

To start the project, J.D., the Zoo’s Senior Project Manager, and the facilities team met with architects, talked with hoofed stock experts at the Zoo, and designed a building. As the project went on, they worked with engineers and skilled craftsmen to turn the paper plans into reality. Along the way, they had to make adjustments as the barn went up to make sure the structure would fit the needs they originally set out to meet.

“You’re building a barn to house animals – it’s not like building a bank. You have to think about things like horns getting in the way of cables, and you have to make sure the animals have a visual barrier so they can’t see each other,” J.D. said.

John Register, the Hoofed Stock Supervisor, couldn’t be more excited about the barn.“This will give us 16 separate stalls to hold multiple species. 12 of the stalls are dirt and natural flooring, which is better for the animals, and we will have 4 concrete stalls that work great when you have to sanitize an area for medical procedures or new animals coming to the Zoo,” John remarked.

Custom-made doors help animals shift safely from inside the barn to outside in their exhibit

Keepers have big jobs that include not only caring for animals, but also changing out substrate like rocks, sand, and gravel. This barn actually allows them to get machinery inside to help out. And when it comes time to scoop poop, keepers don’t have to run wheelbarrows up ramps to dump them into the dumpster anymore. A special ground-level dumpster has been created to serve this purpose.

“We also made this barn even better than the plans, because we are the general contractors. Because of this, we were even able to add a new pool and fencing for the red-crowned cranes next door,” said J.D.  You can bet the birds department is also thrilled about this project!18 months into the project, the barn looks almost complete, but there is still a lot of work to do. Once the barn is done, a fence must be torn down and replaced, and there are countless finishing touches to be made. We expect the animals to enjoy their new barn this spring, and you’ll see the entire exhibit complete by the summertime.

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Sets up a surprise sloth encounter as a birthday present for Simone Biles. You might think his shirt is made out of cotton. Turns out, it's boyfriend material. ... See MoreSee Less


Sets up a surprise sloth encounter as a birthday present for Simone Biles. You might think his shirt is made out of cotton. Turns out, its boyfriend material.


Comment on Facebook

Can anyone do this?


Where is the sloth's exhibit located within the zoo?

I'm not sure who is the cutest- the sloth, Simone, her boyfriend or SMG!!!

Christopher Vavrecka 😍 this is what I want for my birthday

And that is Curly- the best sloth in the world!

Erica Gunter when we going to see the giraffes?? 😍

JasonSara Pipkin, I do have a membership next time you want to go to Houston. 😉

Chris Roach, since Chelsea loves sloths.

Jason! I want an encounter with Succotash for my upcoming bday!!

I signed my wife up back in December. She gets her sloth encounter in May and is very excited!!

Julia Tompkins you and Simone have met the same sloth

I like the way the sloth looks right at the camera and poses for the picture.

what a cute picture... that sloth sure did pose for it too 😂😂

Glynis Henry we could have seen her there if we went today. i'm sad now, i love her!

Maria Diaz you could do this for Jenn!

Why is the red panda sold out forever in advance 😩 or is it just not really an encounter

Coming to the zoo this Saturday. Can not wait!

Cameron Caylor Robyn Davis Deddens apparently we can pay to meet a sloth. If you two care about my happiness WHAT SO EVER, you’ll make this happen.

Melissa Nitsche - we held a sloth & baby in Cartegena while on vacation when we lived in Panama City, Panana

Ashley Janitz Montalvo I knew there was a sloth at the Houston zoo!

We met Curly shortly after he came to Houston Zoo! So glad he's still alive and well!

Amanda Leigh Ramirez Even better! Let's chat when you get back from all your time out of the office.

Janet Roper Gratkowski, Laci is in good company with her sloth-love! 😂😂

Sloth says, “Wow, I’m usually too slow to photo bomb. Cool!”

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Houston Zoo was live.
Houston Zoo

Spring break is over and it's back to the grind, so here's something relaxing. Enjoy watching our giraffes eat lettuce during our 11 a.m. giraffe feeding! ... See MoreSee Less



Comment on Facebook

Adam Thornton we should go do this!!

What a way to relax during lunch! The giraffes are so graceful!!

Just went two months ago planing to go again !

One of my favorite things to do when we go to the zoo!

Please tell me it won't be as crowded as Sunday if we come during the week

One of my favorite parts of the zoo.

How fun ... I love going to the zoo

My favorite....Giraffes!!😁😁



They so beautiful


Aww ❤️ ❤️

Dustin Badgerow

Karina Rocha


😍 excelente experiencia !! 😍💜

Dustin Badgerow

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