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Kids & Families

Zoo Overnights

Overnight programs immerse families and community groups in unique after-hours experiences to form richer connections to our Zoo animals and encourage empathy for all wildlife. Each program is designed to engage adults and children in positive outdoor experiences such as night hikes and meeting ambassador animals up-close to bring awareness that personal actions can save animals in the wild.  

Important Information

  • Age requirement: individuals ages 6 and up. Children under 6 years of age will not be permitted to attend.
  • Chaperone requirement: one adult per every five children, ages 6 – 17 
  • Group size: the capacity for public program dates is 20-60 individuals. We do not require a minimum headcount per family.
  • What’s included: scheduled activities plus evening snack, light breakfast, and next-day admission to the Zoo.
  • Timeframe: Select Saturdays, 5:30 pm-9:00 am.

What To Bring

  • comfortable walking shoes
  • a filled water bottle
  • weather-appropriate outerwear – ponchos/jackets
  • bug spray/insect repellent
  • sleeping bag, pillow, sleeping pad, air mattress, or cot
  • tent (individual, double, or 4-person tents encouraged)
  • pajamas, personal care items
  • change of clothes (showers not available)
  • wagon (helpful to transport gear but not required)

Note: Please follow all Houston Zoo guidelines for food and drink items. Glass bottles, alcohol, and straws are prohibited. For a full list of Houston Zoo rules, please click here.

Sample Overnight Schedule

5:30 p.m. Arrival and campsite setup*
6:30 p.m. Welcome and introductions
6:45 p.m. Animal presentation, activities, and night tour
10:00 p.m. Evening wrap up and prepare for bed
11:00 p.m. Lights out (quiet hours start)
6:00 a.m. Wake up, pack up, and load vehicles
7:30 a.m. Breakfast
8:00 a.m. Morning tour before Zoo opens
9:00 a.m. Program ends

All times, excluding arrival and program end time, are approximate and subject to change.

*Please plan to eat prior to your arrival or pack a ready-to-eat picnic dinner. We do not schedule time specifically for dinner, so any meals packed should be eaten during arrival and campsite setup.

All overnights will be held on the following Saturdays, from 5:30 pm-9:00 am:

Feb 4* Mar 4* Apr 15* May 20
Feb 11* Mar 11* Apr 29
Feb 18 Mar 18  May 6
Feb 25 May 13

Full payment required at the time of reservation. Cost is $75/person.

Note: Strikeouts indicate a sold out date. An asterisks indicates fewer than 20 spaces remaining.

Register Here

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Do we need to bring our own flashlights?

For any Houston Zoo overnight, while on tour our staff will provide lighting to maintain animal welfare. A personal light is permitted for use around your campsite only. For additional information, please contact us at education@houstonzoo.org

Where do we go when we arrive?

All participants will enter the Zoo through Gate 8, the Brown Education Center entrance. Staff will be on hand to help coordinate parking in the Zoo’s main lot, as security will be provided for all vehicles overnight. The gate will open at 5:30 pm and participants will be greeted by our Overnight staff to provide additional instruction. For after-hours assistance, please call 713-533-6646 after 4:00 p.m. to speak with one of our staff members.

Hermann Park Dr. is closed; how do we get to the Zoo?

When traffic is heavy throughout Hermann Park, officers will close Hermann park drive from traffic turning north off of Cambridge. If you are attempting to reach the Zoo and Hermann Park Drive is closed, continue on Cambridge until you arrive at Fannin. A right on Fannin will take you towards a roundabout that will allow you to turn southbound onto Hermann Park Drive. If you stay on Cambridge all the way to Main St, you will have gone too far and may have to circle back.

Will I get to go into behind-the-scenes areas during this program?

Overnights and twilight safaris are front-of-scenes for the safety of our animals and guests. If you are interested in other interactive experiences for your family, please check out our Animal Encounters page!

What if it rains?

Overnights occur rain or shine! In the event of extreme weather, notifications will be sent out by 2:00 p.m. on the day of the event. Should the event be cancelled, every effort will be made to reschedule, or a full refund will be provided. Should the weather become inclement during an event, activities will be modified and held within the Education Center until the weather passes.

Can I get a refund?

Life happens! We understand that plans can change after you have already registered for a program. Guests who provide written notice of cancellation to education@houstonzoo.org on or before 2 weeks (14 days) prior to the program date will receive a full refund. No refund will be issued after this date.

Accommodations or Special Requests

We want you to have a great experience! Please advise us of any disabilities, special needs, medical conditions or any other concerns you may have that could prevent you from fully participating in the experience. The more information you can provide, the better we can assist you. Please contact us before registration at education@houstonzoo.org.