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NEW Explore The Wild! Nature Play Area

Little imaginations are encouraged to run wild, as sticks turn into wands, leaves become fairy wings, and sand is the main ingredient in the very best mud pie. Explore the Wild! is a nature play area designed to inspire children of all ages to use their imagination and discover the natural world around them.

PLEASE NOTE: Thursday and Friday, July 19-20, construction work in the Nature Play area will cause some of the play zones to be roped off.


Explore the Wild!

In this play area, kids can:

  • Climb on a naturalistic rock wall
  • Build with loose tree branches
  • Create sculptures with sand
  • Dig in mud pits

The Houston Zoo is on a mission to connect communities with animals, inspiring action to save wildlife. We take nature play seriously, because playing in nature leads to protecting nature.


Helpful Hints for Parents


Children can interact with everything they see. They may get muddy, wet and sandy during their unstructured play experience.

Bring a towel and change of clothing for your kiddos for quick clean up. Public restrooms are located in Sarofim Court.

Each visit may be slightly different. The mud pit could become a pile of leaves, water may dry up or there might be more pinecones than you would see in a forest.

Explore the Wild! Today

  • This free area is included with your paid Zoo admission and is free for Zoo members
  • Explore the Wild! is open during regular Zoo hours
  • Look for the entrance behind the Carruth Natural Encounters Building

Parks and Natural Areas Award Winner

The Houston-Galveston Area Council established the Parks and Natural Areas awards program to highlight best practices and innovative approaches to parks planning and implementation. In 2018, Explore the Wild was a recipient of their award.