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Open January 15 – April 15, 2016

Washed Ashore is included with your paid Zoo admission and is free for Zoo members. This exhibit will close at 5 p.m. every day. 

The aquatic trash in our oceans is harmful to wildlife like sea turtles. One group came up with a creative solution that would both remove some of the debris and also educate people about the dangers of plastic pollution. The group is called the Washed Ashore Project, and it is a non-profit, community-based organization with a mission of educating and creating awareness about marine debris and plastic pollution through art.

The Houston Zoo is the place to see a special Washed Ashore art exhibit featuring giant sculptures of the sea life most affected by plastic pollution, made entirely of marine debris collected from beaches.

There are roughly 315 BILLION pounds of plastic in our oceans today.

Under the leadership of Angela Haseltine Pozzi, community members of all ages work together to clean up our beaches and process the debris into art supplies to construct the sculptures. It’s a labor-intensive process…dump, rinse, sort, rinse, soak, wash, scrub, rinse, dry, sort, test, sort, test, sort, cut, drill, stitch, twist, string, weave, design, attach, test, secure…but from it, thousands of pounds of debris are removed from local beaches, and a work of art is born.

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From a Styrofoam coral reef to a plastic bottle sea jelly to a recycled plastic whale rib cage (that’s 10’ tall and 23’ long!), guests of all ages will have a blast interacting with these awesome creatures while learning all about how they can help save wildlife.

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The Houston Zoo Has Gone Plastic Bag Free, and You Can Too!

Forget “Paper or plastic?” The Zoo is now asking “no bag or reusable?” in our gift shops.

We have gone completely bag free for wildlife conservation. Guests shopping in our gift shops may choose to be completely bag-free, purchase reusable bags or use a tote they’ve brought from home.

“This is a significant step for our organization, one we hope will serve as an example for other companies,” said Peter Riger, Vice President of Conservation for the Houston Zoo. “As a zoo-based conservation organization it’s important for us to walk the walk, and talk the talk.” Read more about us going bag-free.


Visit the Zoo Gift Shop to purchase your reusable tote bag.
Not-So-Fun Facts About Plastic Pollution:

  • Take Action_Logo_FullColor_webThe average American will throw away approximately 185 pounds of plastic in a year.
  • Plastic bags are petroleum-based and do not biodegrade.
  • More than 100,000 marine animals die each year from eating plastic pollution in our oceans.
  • Sea turtles and other ocean creatures mistake plastics and other garbage as food (such as jellyfish) and ingest it. This causes blockages within their digestive system.
How the Houston Zoo Helps
How You Can Help