THE LACERTE FAMILY CHILDREN’S ZOO
|Director of Communications and Social Media|
THE LACERTE FAMILY CHILDREN’S ZOO
Funded entirely by the Dallas Zoological Society, the $7 million, two-acre Lacerte Family Children’s Zoo (LCFZ) at the Dallas Zoo opened Sept. 9, 2000. The children’s zoo features educational, interactive and entertaining exhibits for toddlers to pre-teenage children. Its goal is to help children learn about the diversity of life on Earth, the importance of respecting animals and the environment, and the need to conserve nature for future generations. The LCFZ received numerous awards when it opened in 2000 and has served as a model for other children’s zoos.
Components of the children’s zoo include The Wander, an intriguing entryway with a bubbling fountain called Raccoon Springs, where children can dip their hands. The pathway opens up to a large plaza focused around The Stream, which resembles a creek with water running through rock boulders. Children can play and splash in the water feature on warm days while parents cool their heels.
The Stream is surrounded by a recently renovated play area featuring a giant, bouncy spider web; crawl-through tortoise shells; an enormous bird’s nest with eggshells; a hollow tree with slide, and other play structures. Oversized butterflies and a flower made of nylon shade the playground. The substrate under the play area is covered with colorful shredded rubber tires that cushion falls and provide greater protection for the giant oak tree in the center.
The Hillcrest Foundation Nature Exchange is a unique swap shop for children. They can bring a fossil, leaf or other object from nature to the interactive. The interactive, hands-on “store” and earn points to trade for other wild treasures. The more background that children can provide Nature Exchange educational interpreters, the more points they earn for their account.
The JC Penney Discovery House and A.H. Belo Discovery Yard is a replica of a familiar home and yard with discovery opportunities about animals living in our urban environment, from cockroaches to opossums. Interpreters introduce children to educational animals and provide opportunities to pet snakes, turtles, rats, and other creatures. The building is also filled with puzzles, books, displays, and other fun outlets for discovery.
Also included is The Farm, where children can ride ponies, climb aboard a wooden playhorse, pet babydoll sheep and miniature goats and donkeys, and interact with pot-bellied pigs, rabbits, guinea pigs, and other farm animals.
Kids can crawl through tunnels to get a mongoose-eye view of life underground. The Underzone features animals that live below the earth’s surface or inside trees such as naked mole-rat colonies, mongooses, Jackson’s hornbills, and reptiles.
The most recent addition to the Lacerte Family Children’s Zoo is Travis & Zach’s Birds Landing. The unique, interactive aviary provides visitors with the opportunity to feed worms and seed sticks to almost two dozen species of hand-raised birds. Added in 2007, Birds Landing is one of the Zoo’s most popular exhibits.
About the Dallas Zoo: The Dallas Zoo, an accredited member of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums, is the largest zoological experience in Texas featuring a 106-acre park, thousands of animals, and an education department that offers programs for all ages. The official airline of the Dallas Zoo is American Airlines. The Zoo is located at 650 S. R.L. Thornton Freeway (I-35 at Marsalis). Admission is $15 for ages 12-64, $12 for ages 3-11 and 65+, and free for ages 2 and younger and Dallas Zoological Society (DZS) members. The Zoo is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, download the free iPhone app, visit DallasZoo.com, or call 469.554.7500.
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