Houston offers many fun attractions for wildlife lovers and animal lovers to enjoy. These featured attractions are all on the south side Houston, from the museum district near downtown to Galveston Island. They will entertain and educate visitors to the area or locals looking for an interesting and fun way to spend a day.
The Houston Zoo, located in Hermann Park in the museum district, offers the largest selection of animals for viewing in the area. There are 6,000 resident animals living at the zoo. The beautifully landscaped zoo and animal habitats represent the natural living environments of the animals. There is a petting zoo in the children’s zoo section allowing interaction with the resident goats.
Cockrell Butterfly Center
The Cockrell Butterfly Center is located at the Houston Museum of Natural Science in the museum district. Hundreds of live butterflies in a lush tropical atmosphere surround visitors. The 50-foot waterfall is also a highlight of this three-story exhibit. Exotic plants are everywhere as the butterflies alight on the plants and other food sources, as well as on the occasional lucky visitor.
Bayou Wildlife Zoo
The Bayou Wildlife Zoo in Alvin is a mix of a wildlife safari and petting zoo, with over 500 different animals. The highlight is the 45-minute tram ride that takes visitors through the park. Purchase a bucket of animal food for the journey to entice many of the animal residents to the open sides of the tram. Feeding is encouraged and some of the bolder animals will eat offered food from hand or even stick their head inside the tram to eat out of a bucket. Save some food, if you can, for the petting zoo after the tram ride.
Brazos Bend State Park
Located in Needville, Brazos Bend State Park is a must-visit for close encounters with alligators. An easy hike around Elm Lake will provide many alligator sightings. They are lounging in the water and sunning themselves right on the pathway. Covering around 5000 acres, the park also hosts a large variety of birds and other wildlife. Bring a camera; there are fantastic photo opportunities everywhere.
Galveston Island’s Moody Gardens has two attractions of interest for wildlife lovers: the Rainforest Pyramid and the Aquarium Pyramid. The Rainforest is a 10-story glass pyramid with animals and plants living throughout the tropical habitat. Visitors can walk pathways along the treetops to see monkeys and birds or follow the river at the bottom of the pyramid to see otters, turtles, and more. The Aquarium Pyramid is the only place in the Houston area to see penguins. The 1.5 million-gallon aquarium also features sharks, stingrays, and seals.