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NEWS ROOM :: Filming & Photography Guidelines

Filming & Photography Guidelines

Dallas Zoological Society (DZS)
Commercial Filming/Photography Policy*

 Dallas Zoo and the Children’s Aquarium at Fair Park

Commercial — those images that ultimately result in profit-making 

Wedding and Portrait — those images that are taken solely for the use and enjoyment of the person/people being photographed.

Non-commercial — those images that are for personal, recreational or scholastic purposes.

Stock Photography — those images shot for the purpose of being offered for sale on the web and by individuals and stock photography agencies.

The Dallas Zoo and the Children’s Aquarium at Fair Park welcome visitors who wish to photograph on Zoo or Aquarium grounds.  All images made for personal enjoyment (non-profit making) are allowed free of charge.  These are images that are taken from visitor viewing areas and don’t involve Zoo or Aquarium personnel or special equipment.  While shooting, consideration must be given to other visitors so the view of the animals and exhibits are not obstructed.  Students who are using the Zoo or Aquarium for a school assignment will need to contact the Dallas Zoological Society Marketing Department to discuss whether staff assistance is required.  These requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis, and a fee may be charged depending on the level of Zoo or Aquarium involvement.

Wedding and portrait photography is allowed at the Dallas Zoo.  Fees are charged by the hour.  Some of the same considerations apply to portrait and wedding photographers that are listed below for commercial photography.  Please contact the Dallas Zoological Society for specifics.  For general consideration and safety of our visitors, the public is not permitted to change clothes in our public restrooms.  Brides must come dressed for photographs.  If a bride needs a place to change clothes, a room can be rented by calling 469.554.7423 in advance of the photo session.

The Dallas Zoo does not allow photography that is intended to be placed with stock photography agencies or that is offered for sale on personal websites.

For persons intending to take photos/film/video for commercial purposes at the Dallas Zoo or the Children’s Aquarium at FairPark, a request must be submitted in writing to the DZS Marketing Department prior to the date of the intended photo shoot.  A commercial photography/filming application is available by contacting Cathy Burkey, staff photographer at 469.554.7423.  DZS will determine the appropriateness of the request and feasibility of scheduling.  Policies and requirements are as follows:

  • Fees are charged in ½ and full day increments.  Additional fees may be charged depending on the necessity for special assistance.  (Fee schedule attached.)
  • A completed application, signed by an authorized representative of the organization requesting permission to photograph, must be submitted five (5) working days prior to the scheduled production.  Fees must be paid in full before the production takes place.

Additionally, a copy of the script, storyboard, layouts, comps, etc., must be submitted along with the application for DZS to review and approve. (Photography request form attached.)

  • Normal hours of operation are 9:00am to 5:00pm (4:00pm winter hours) at the Zoo and 9:00am to 4:30pm at the Children’s Aquarium atFairPark.  We encourage photo shoots to take place during these hours.  However, if before or after hours are needed, special permission will be required and additional fees of $250.00 per hour plus overtime charges for the staff, if required, will be charged.
  • Although rare, weather conditions, exhibit changes or unexpected animal occurrences may cause delay or cancellation of a scheduled production.  The Dallas Zoo and the Children’s Aquarium atFairParkwill attempt to reschedule in a timely manner.  All procedures for acquiring permission and scheduling will apply.
  • Extreme noise, lighting or special effects can be detrimental to the animals.  Anything deemed dangerous to the Zoo or Aquarium, its exhibits or animals will not be allowed.  Prior permission will be required if filming/photography includes unusual production techniques.
  • Any damage or loss to plants, property or animals which occurs during the filming/photography production will be assessed and charged back to the party responsible for requesting use of the Zoo or Aquarium.  The applicant/photographer agrees to provide the Dallas Zoological Society with a valid certificate of insurance in the amount of no less than one million dollars, listing the Dallas Zoo or the Children’s Aquarium at Fair Park as an additional insured for the period of the production.  The certificate shall accompany the check for site fees.
  • Handling the animals and entering the exhibits or animal care areas is prohibited.  All filming/photography must take place within areas designated for public use, and shall not restrict the public’s access or viewing of animals or exhibits.  A standard photo/film release must be completed if Zoo or Aquarium visitors are included or asked to participate during the course of shooting.
  • An authorized representative from the Dallas Zoological Society Marketing Department must accompany photography/film crew at all times while production is underway.  If deemed necessary, the Dallas Zoo or Aquarium, at its sole discretion, may stop any on-grounds production at any time.  Applicant agrees to abide by this decision should such occur.
  • Any photography/film/video taken at the Dallas Zoo or the Children’s Aquarium at Fair Park must not be used in any manner that could negatively impact or influence the public’s impression of the Zoo or Aquarium.   Furthermore, there will be no implied or actual endorsement of a product, idea or institution.  Any misrepresentation will be considered grounds for legal action.
  • Applicant/photographer agree to indemnify the Dallas Zoo/the Children’s Aquarium at Fair Park, including its staff, volunteers, and visitors against all liability and loss which may occur as a result of accident, negligence or inadvertent damage or injury to the person or property of the party entering into this agreement.

*Exceptions to this policy must be submitted in writing and approved (3) three days prior to the shoot.


Commercial Filming/Photography Request
Commercial Photography/Video Fee Requirements