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NatGeo Photo Ark, Hippo Outpost - What's New at the Dallas Zoo!

Life in DFW

My life as a wife and mom in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex and all things fun about it!

NatGeo Photo Ark, Hippo Outpost - What's New at the Dallas Zoo!

Debora Manusama

While most moms were getting all dolled up for Mother's Day brunch last Sunday, I put on my casual shift dress, sneakers, and straw hat and took J to the zoo. I thought we were the only ones with the idea of celebrating Mama's Day at the zoo! But when we got there at 10.30 in the morning, the parking lot was already FULL. Whaaat?! 

Yup, we had to park at the south lot along with hundreds of other families who wanted to spend the day at the zoo. Turns out, not all moms wanted pretty brunches and a day at the spa for Mother's Day. They just wanted to take the whole family to the largest zooligical park in Texas, the Dallas Zoo. 

How could we not?  It is actually one of USA Today's 10 Best Zoos in America  , the weather was perfect, and I mean...have you been there recently? Have you been on the renovated monorail that is now called the Wilds of Africa Adventure Safari? Or have you checked out the new Simmons Hippo Outpost? Or the live music every Saturday night throughout the summer? Oh yeah, there are a LOT to see and experience here. Even if you're a local who's probably been there a few times since you were younger ;) 

We got there with empty tummies last Sunday, so we headed straight to the Wilds of Africa Grill to get some tacos and snow ice cones. 

The steak tacos are actually pretty good y'all. It's a good option for those of y'all who'd prefer tacos over hot dogs and burgers. 

On our way to get the these food, we saw the FREE National Geographic Photo Ark exhibit that goes on from April 20 to September 4, 2017. 

Stunning photos of animal species taken by NatGeo photographer Joel Sartore are displayed all around the Dallas Zoo, to inspire people to care about these animals while there’s still time. After all, it is Sartore's mission to photograph as many animal species as possible, before it's too late. And you know what's awesome, Dallas Zoo is one of only 3 zoos in America hosting this exhibit! 

What's even more awesome is the fact that some of the photos are installed permanently on the tunnel that connects Zoo North and the Wilds of Africa area. 

So beautiful, inspiring and insta-worthy! 

Next! Since we're already in the Wilds of Africa area, Mr. Man, J, and I headed to the elephant and giraffe habitat exhibits to watch kids feeding the giraffes. 

It's fascinating to see how they big yet friendly they are! The lions were sleeping so we didn't get to see them, but we decided to dine at the Serengeti Grill overlooking the lion exhibit regardless. (I know, we eat a lot lol).

Ideally, this is what you would see from the restaurant's huge window. I took this photo here about 2 years ago. Pretty cool right?

Next! It was time for the newly opened Simons Hippo Outpost!

The 24-foot by 8-foot underwater viewing window is amazing! It allows us to watch the hippos when they are not very visible from the surface, since they spend most of their time underwater. While the indoor Highland Hippo Hut provides informations about the hippos and the exhibit itself, with a life-sized hippo sculpted on to the wall, painted boats hanging off the ceiling, and comfy seating area.

Now that we're full and pretty tired, it's time for us to ride the Wilds of Africa Adventure Safari monorail! 

After 2 years of renovation, the monorail re-opened in March of last year. And since then, it's been one of if not the most popular attraction at the zoo! We also make time for it, because it's so worth it! You just park the strollers by the ticket booth, purchase your tickets for $5/person, and then ride the monorail to see exotic African animals you won't see at the regular exhibits like Nyala, Oryx, Eland, and Gerenuk (don't know what they are? Exactly, that's why you need to ride the monorail!). 

It's such an incredible experience to watch the animals at each of their habitats, from the comfort of the shaded monorail. You get to learn about the animals and the conservation efforts made to help save them from safari guide, while riding through a waterfall and greeneries. And towards the end of the tour, right by the Chimpanzee forrest, you'd actually see this amazing view. 

Yup, the beautiful Dallas skyline, right there in the background! Again, very insta-worthy!

Speaking of instagram, Dallas Zoo is one of the many places where you can find the Dallas B&G installations. When you do find them, take a pic and upload them on instagram using the hashtag #DallasBigMoments for a chance to win cool prizes like the Cowboys tickets, Mavs tickets, and Justin Bieber tickets (+ the limo ride to the concert!). You can also take photos at other Dallas landmarks like the Eye by the Joule hotel or the red pegasus at Omni Hotel in downtown Dallas for the chance to win. Click here to read more about this photo contest!

What are you waiting for? Rediscover our great city, share your #DallasBigMoments and win BIG! :) Discover more family-friendly sights, attractions and more by visiting DallasBIGMoments.com , have a good rest of the week, y'all!