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469.554.7425 office
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 A 67½-foot-tall giraffe took up residence at the Dallas Zoo in January 1997. The giant creature, created by award-winning St. Louis artist Bob Cassilly, stands at the Zoo’s entrance directly off I-35E. It is the tallest statue in the state of Texas.

The giraffe was the final component of the Dallas Zoo’s $4 million entry complex, which opened Oct. 12, 1996. Cassilly and his staff of eight people spent seven months creating the statue. It was shipped to Dallas in pieces on three 40-foot flatbed semis. Cassilly’s crew and a local construction company spent three days on site erecting the giraffe, with the help of a 65-ton crane and an 80-foot boom lift.

The statue’s base is metal armature, built to withstand 100-mph winds. The metal skeleton is covered with a thick layer of urethane foam and a fiberglass shell. The fiberglass is coated with a gel containing 80 percent bronze, buffed to create an antique finish. Each leg is 25 feet long; the body is 22 feet long and 10 feet 2 inches wide; and the neck and head are 32 feet long. Overall, the giraffe is 67½ feet tall, 22 feet long, and 10 feet, 2 inches wide.

The idea for the giraffe grew out of discussions between Zoo management and HKS, Inc., the entry complex design firm. Zoo management wanted an icon to identify the Dallas Zoo on the highway. It had to be tall to be visible over the nearby I-35E overpasses, and it had to be appropriate for a zoo.

Equally natural was the selection of Cassilly and his team to create the giraffe. He was nationally known for his monumental projects, although the giraffe is the tallest statue he ever made. His works in St. Louis include a 50-foot giant squid at the St. Louis Zoo, a series of 25- to 40-foot turtles at Turtle Park, and two 500-foot serpents that form an undulating wall by the International Arts Building. He won numerous awards for his sculptures and urban design in St. Louis and other cities, including New York. Cassilly passed away in 2011 at the age of 61.



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, or call 469 554 7500. 


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