Set aside an afternoon to experience the remarkable Fort Worth Zoo (1989 Colonial Pkwy., 817/759-7555, www.fortworthzoo.com , daily 10 a.m.–5 p.m., winter months until 4 p.m., Mon–Fri., 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Sat.–Sun., $12 adults, $9 children 3–12 and seniors), considered one of the country’s premier zoos, and for good reason.
This sprawling eight-acre complex feels less like a zoo and more like a collection of habitats, with exotic African and Asian creatures (elephants, rhinos, monkeys, lions, tigers, giraffes, zebra, hippopotamus) often lounging a hundred feet away from visitors with only a pond located between man and beast.
Bamboo and tropical trees are everywhere, giving the impression of walking through jungle trails to hunt down the next attraction. Many exhibits, including the World of Primates, include large Plexiglas windows offering views so close, you can practically feel the beasts’ breath.
Kids will love seeing parakeets crawl onto their seed-on-a-stick treat (available for a buck each) and adults will be fascinated with the prehistoric marvel and grace of exotic elephants, wrinkly rhinos, and hefty hippos. The Meerkat Mounds are popular, and the Texas Wild! exhibit is a good way to get a handle on the impressive variety of creatures crawling around the Lone Star State.