Your Zoo Transformed

Over the years, you’ve watched your Houston Zoo undergo enormous changes and growth. Now, as we march toward our 100th anniversary in 2022, the Houston Zoo will celebrate by completing the most dramatic transformation in our history.

Completed Projects:

Galápagos Islands

Opened April 2023

The first major exhibit of its kind to showcase the remarkable wildlife of the legendary island chain, the Houston Zoo’s Galápagos Islands immerses guests in an environment evoking the archipelago’s unique landscapes and oceanic habitats.

Renovated Main Entrance

Opened January 2021

The Zoo’s main entrance is new and improved and reopened officially in January 2021. This is part of the construction plan for Galápagos Islands, which is set to open for the Houston Zoo’s 100th anniversary in 2022.

McGovern Plaza

Opened January 2021

This new plaza greets guests upon entering the Zoo and was designed with plenty of seating areas. This is part of the construction plan for Galápagos Islands, which is set to open for the Houston Zoo’s 100th anniversary in 2022.

South America’s Pantanal

Opened October 2020

South America’s Pantanal allows guests to explore the tropical wetlands of Brazil right here at the Houston Zoo. The lush habitat highlights animals we are protecting in the wild, including giant anteaters, tapirs, and more. Partnered with on-the-ground conservationists, the Zoo offers visitors the chance to see these animals in an immersive and engaging trail. As guests enter South America’s Pantanal, they will encounter a set of rustic buildings, set on piers, evoking the eco-lodges that can be found alongside the rivers and streams in the Northern Pantanal region. The nature tourism these lodges support is one of the important ways this vital landscape and unparalleled wildlife assemblage is being protected.

Orangutan Exhibit Renovation

Opened November 2020

In 2020, the Houston Zoo’s orangutan habitat got an extreme makeover! The orangutans have an all-new climbing structure, more shade, and a beach for the turtles who live in the moat surrounding the orangutan habitat.

Zoo Store

Opened June 2020

Our Zoo Store has been completely remodeled and has ample room to showcase the latest Houston Zoo swag including T-shirts, caps, mugs, and more.

Even better, guests can now purchase Zoo Store items online.

Kathrine G. McGovern Texas Wetlands

Opened May 2019

The Texas Wetlands brings together three native Texas species—bald eagles, whooping cranes, and American alligators—in a lush wetland habitat. Thanks to the Endangered Species Act and the efforts of Texans, these three species, once close to extinction, now thrive in the Lone Star State.

Cypress Circle Cafe

Opened November 2018

The fully re-imagined Cypress Circle Café, in the heart of the Zoo, opened just in time for TXU Energy Presents Zoo Lights in November 2018. This conscientious café focuses on providing locally sourced, sustainable fare. Guests can see signature pizzas pass through pizza ovens and watch their seasonal bowl be created in front of them. Cypress Circle Café also overlooks the Kathrine G. McGovern Texas Wetlands and boasts stunning views of the exhibit.

Hamill Foundation Bear Exhibit

Opened September 2018

The Hamill Foundation Black Bear Exhibit was the first project to be completed thanks to generous donor support of the Zoo’s Keeping Our World Wild centennial capital campaign. This expansion more than tripled the space for black bears Belle and Willow to explore. The expanded habitat was designed to give the bears the highest quality of life and includes engaging features throughout like a revamped water feature, specially created climbing structures, and ample shade.

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