11 Best Zoos & Aquariums in Texas

Updated On October 7, 2023

Come to Texas and experience a region that takes pride in the scope of its size and the massive variety of its wildlife, and the range of its diverse ecosystems, from the hill country to dessert regions, lakes to tree-covered acres.

A temperate area of the country, Texas’ zoos, and aquariums are open year-round to help visitors, from locals to those visiting from afar, discover a range of flora and fauna, both indigenous and from around the globe.

Best Zoos & Aquariums in Texas

San Antonio Zoo, San Antonio

Welcoming over a million visitors each year, San Antonio Zoo is the home base for over 750 species, many endangered or extinct in the wild.

Dedicated to educating and inspiring visitors to protect and engage with animals and their environment, this non-profit organization enacts this focus via conservation, animal care, and education.

Discover exciting animal exhibitions in the over 50-acre zoo, including:

Asian Forest: Home to langurs, gibbons, Asian small-clawed otters, and Komodo dragons.

Friedrich Aquarium: The Friedrich Aquarium, opened in 1948, is home to an array of freshwater and saltwater animals and harbors a unique charm for many aquarium enthusiasts. 

Reptile House: Abode to many reptiles from all over the world, from snakes to turtles to lizards!

Africa Live!: See a Nile crocodile, various fish species, dwarf mongoose, okapi, colobus monkeys, African wild dogs, and an aviary too!

Amphibia: Come and hang out in the living quarters of an incredible array of frogs, salamanders, toads, and caecilians from Texas and worldwide.

Kronkosky’s Tiny Tot Nature Spot: This spot is the right size for tiny naturalists from birth –5 years old.

Here, child explorers can enjoy their own wild ways, and kids get to dig, splash, and climb as they engage with the wonders of nature. 

Dallas World Aquarium, Dallas

Dallas World Aquarium is committed to educating, enacting, and presenting the importance of conserving and protecting our earth’s resources, steered by a mandate to create an enriching and inspirational guest experience, fostering respect and interest in the natural environment.

Dallas World Aquarium’s mission is to care for and exhibit diverse habitats, species, and cultures of fauna.

Presenting exhibitions so that guests may observe the natural world within the structure of the aquarium, the Dallas World Aquarium seeks to enhance scientific understanding of the fauna at DWA, many currently threatened with extinction.

Exhibitions include the Cloud Forest Trek, Aquarium, Orinoco, South Africa, Borneo, and Mundo Maya.

SEA LIFE, Grapevine

Meet thousands of creatures and explore over 280 species.

Here, visitors can stroll under the sea, passing through a unique underwater ocean tunnel, the only 360ᵒ Ocean Tunnel in Texas.

Here, you can touch a real sea star and interact with actual sea creatures. 

Discover remarkable creatures, including sharks, rays, rescued green sea turtles, and schools of glittering fish as they swim and flutter beside you!

Exhibitions include such treasures of the deep as the Ocean Tunnel, Sea Turtle Rescue Center, Rainforest Adventure Exhibit, Interactive Rockpools, Stingray Bay, and more!

SEA LIFE Trust is a charity working globally to protect the oceans and marine life, and whose vision is a world where our seas, full of diverse life, are healthy and protected.

Caldwell Zoo, Tyler

Over 3,000 animals from over 200 species live at the zoo. 

Birds and monkeys frolic in the trees as visitors take a path to the South American, African, and North American, or meander to visit the Reptiles & Amphibians.

Intertwining paths connect all parts of the zoo.

Each habitat is custom-built to provide its occupants with a safe and comfortable home.

Many of the creatures at the Caldwell Zoo are threatened in the wild or endangered.

Providing a secure environment while helping to maintain the genetic diversity of the species is Caldwell Zoo’s highest priority.

And they invite the public to explore each habitat and understand more about the animals here.

Austin Aquarium, Austin

The Austin Aquarium exhibits showcase a range of species.

Meet sharks and stingrays, amphibians, lorikeets, and a fantastic range of cold water and tropical fish.

Plus, a parakeet aviary, too! 

Austin Aquarium invites guests to experience a rainforest vivarium home to ring-tailed lemurs, a Capybara, and hundreds of reptiles.

The Austin Aquarium invites guests to experience everything the deep blue sea offers via exceptional interactive experiences.

Visitors can hand-feed sharks, fish, rays, and birds. Meet and greet a caiman lizard or a lemur. 

Cameron Park Zoo, Waco

Visit Waco‘s 52-acre Natural Habitat Cameron Park Zoo along the Brazos River, an oasis celebrating nature’s wonder.

Visitors can see eye-to-eye and nose-to-nose with Kai, the lion.

And the slide-by otters floating around you.

Watch clownfish and serious-looking Komodo dragons.

Listen to bats flutter and get drenched by an orangutan who loves practical jokes.

So come to where the wild things are in Waco, Texas!

Cameron Park Zoo’s Education Department strives to provide diverse educational opportunities that inspire lifelong learning and encourage an appreciation for the natural world while broadening awareness concerning wildlife conservation and preserving biodiversity.

Texas State Aquarium, Corpus Christi

The Texas State Aquarium is committed to whetting the appetite for nature’s mysteries, inspiring appreciation for our seas, and supporting wildlife conservation through exhibits, shows, presentations, education programs, wildlife rescue, and other immersive programs.

Exhibitions include the following exciting showcases: Tentacles, Coral Reef, Blue Hole, Saving Sharks, Caribbean Sea, and Dolphin Bay. Plus, Jungle, Aquatic Nursery, Stingray Lagoon, and Islands of Steel.

And let us remember Otter Creek, Tortuga Cay, Flower Gardens, Living Shore, and Near Shore.

And, of course, the beloved Swamp Tales.

Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch, San Antonio

Experience over 40 species from worldwide who live among rolling hills, sweet creek beds, and majestic live oak trees on this scenic, historic 450-acre Texas Hill Country ranch.

Travel the Safari Drive-Thru from the comfort of your vehicle. 

The memories you create, share, and carry forward will foster an appreciation for animal species worldwide for many more years. 

For over 35 years, Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch has contributed to efforts to help conserve and provide a safe home-away-from-home for endangered species. 

The safari trek takes 1-2 hours and is over 6 miles.

Feeding options are available. 

Admission gets you multiple trips through the safari, and each tour provides different adventures in the free-roaming environment.

Abilene Zoo, Abilene

Enjoy an open-air setting that hosts 600 animals, a safari train, educational classes, concessions, a giraffe feeding terrace, and more directly next to Grover Nelson Park.

At the Abilene Zoo, guests can meet mammals, birds, amphibians, and reptiles, and it is the residence of 127 species, including the giant anteater, the maned wolf, and the capybara.

The Abilene Zoo is a venue for discovery and adventure, perfect for the whole family to experience the joy of discovery and make memories, all while learning about flora, fauna, and stewardship of the environment. 

Houston Zoo, Houston

The Houston Zoo connects animals and communities to inspire education and action to save wildlife.

Home to over 6,000 permanent residents, and is committed to being a leader in the global effort to keep animals in the wild, as they welcome over two million guests annually.

Visitors experience the amazing animals and ecosystems, all while aiding, through tickets, donations, and sponsorship, the Houston Zoo protection efforts on behalf of the zoo’s counterparts, animals in the wild. 

Thanks to guests visiting the Zoo, the Houston Zoo helps to support 49 wildlife conservation projects in 27 countries.

And the Houston Zoo is the most highly-attended cultural attraction in the region and the second most highly visited in the US!

Gladys Porter Zoo, Brownsville

The Gladys Porter Zoo is a visitor-oriented zoological and botanical park dedicated to preserving nature through education, conservation, healthy outdoor recreation, and research; it’s nestled on 31 acres and features four concession stands and a gift shop.

The Gladys Porter Zoo showcases its conservation mission by contributing to various conservation projects that aid endangered species, like Kemp’s ridley sea turtles, Philippine crocodiles, and Western lowland gorillas.

In addition, they participate in the American Zoo and Aquarium Association’s Species Survival Plan program, which works to secure the survival of wildlife species.

11 Best Zoos & Aquariums in Texas – Summary Table

Zoos & AquariumsAddress
San Antonio Zoo, San Antonio3903 N St Mary's St, San Antonio, TX 78212, USA
Dallas World Aquarium, Dallas1801 N Griffin St, Dallas, TX 75202, USA
SEA LIFE, GrapevineMills Mall, 3000 Grapevine Mills Pkwy, Grapevine, TX 76051, USA
Caldwell Zoo, Tyler2203 W Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Tyler, TX 75702, USA
Austin Aquarium, Austin13530 US-183 Hwy #101, Austin, TX 78750, USA
Cameron Park Zoo, Waco1701 N 4th St, Waco, TX 76707, USA
Texas State Aquarium, Corpus Christi2710 N Shoreline Blvd, Corpus Christi, TX 78402, USA
Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch, San Antonio26515 Natural Bridge Caverns Rd, San Antonio, TX 78266, USA
Abilene Zoo, Abilene2070 Zoo Ln, Abilene, TX 79602, USA
Houston Zoo, Houston6200 Hermann Park Dr, Houston, TX 77030, USA
Gladys Porter Zoo, Brownsville500 E Ringgold St, Brownsville, TX 78520, USA

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are some famous tourist attractions in Texas?

Famous attractions that bring visitors from worldwide to visit Texas include The Alamo, the Big Bend National Forest, the San Antonio River Walk, Austin’s State Capital, the Space Center Houston, and many more incredible attractions, beauty spots, historical constructions, cultural offerings, and much more!

What is Texas known for?

The stories about Texas are as big as the state, and Texans love to tell them, too.

Some things that the Lone Star State is celebrated for include, in no particular order, The Alamo (remember it), Football, BBQ, and Tex-Mex cuisine. Then there’s Crude Oil, Chili, Iced Tea, and the Texas Longhorn Hand Sign.

Lakes, Highways, Football, and Rodeo Culture. In addition, there’s the LBJ Library, Football, the JFK Assassination, and the sheer size of it all.

It’s also known for celebrating the great outdoors, recreational and sports opportunities, and distinctive regional cultures.

What wildlife is there in Texas?

The big predators in Texas include cougars, wolves, and ocelots.

Lone Star rodents include tree squirrels, pocket gophers, beavers, porcupines, and nutria.

Heavily treed areas are residences for creatures, including badgers, bobcats, and black bears.

Avian life features finches, doves, owls, kestrels, and bald eagles.

And, of course, Texas is celebrated in myth and legend for its cattle, ranches, and horses.

What are Texas' state symbols?

Know as the Lone Star State, the state tree is the pecan, the flower is the bluebonnet, and the Northern Mockingbird is the state bird.

The “small state mammal” is the nine-banded armadillo, and the state song is “Texas, Our Texas.”

The state’s flying mammal (there is indeed such a thing) is the Mexican free-tailed bat.

And on the equine front, the mascot is the American Quarter Horse.

1 Comment on 11 Best Zoos & Aquariums in Texas

  1. San Antonio Zoo: A diverse and educational experience with a wide range of animal species, including endangered ones.

    Dallas World Aquarium: An enriching and inspiring aquarium that focuses on conservation and protecting the natural environment.

    SEA LIFE Grapevine: A unique underwater adventure with thousands of sea creatures to discover.

    Caldwell Zoo Tyler: A well-maintained zoo that provides a safe home for threatened animals while educating visitors about wildlife conservation.

    Austin Aquarium Austin: Offers interactive experiences where guests can hand-feed sharks, fish, rays, birds, and meet various reptiles.

    Cameron Park Zoo Waco: An oasis celebrating nature’s wonder with diverse habitats showcasing lions, otters, Komodo dragons,and more!

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