They say everything is bigger in Texas and evidently that includes the heat index. During the summer of 2023, the Lone Star state experienced an impressive heat wave. We happened to schedule a visit during the start of this event but being sun lovers, we made the most of it. A stop at the Fort Worth Zoo had already been planned and we weren’t about to let a little heat stop us. With cool thoughts in our minds, we made our way to this world-class park to see how the animals manage being deep in the heat of Texas.
The Fort Worth Zoo started in 1909. Back then visitors would only find a handful of animals. The attraction was owned and operated by the city of Fort Worth until 1991. Over the decades more and more exhibits were added. In 1992 the Fort Worth Zoological Association assumed control of the park. This passing of the torch was hailed with two new exhibits: Asian Falls and World of Primates. With its close proximity to the entrance, we decided the World of Primates was a great place to begin.
Even with an early start, the summer temperatures were on the rise. Of course, being deep in the heat of Texas means it doesn’t cool off much at night. We expected feeding times to be early and knew this would be the most active time for the animals. Sure enough, we spotted most of them leisurely enjoying their breakfasts.
After a short walk through the African Savanna, we made our way toward the Australian Outback. By now the sun was burning brightly and most animals had chosen to seek out shade. We took our cue from them and hung close to areas that provided some protection from the sun. The heat gave us a reason to slow our pace and really examine the exhibits.
Fort Worth Zoo Inhabitants
During the balance of the 1990s, Fort Worth Zoo has added a variety of exhibits. Raptor Canyon, Asian Rhino Ridge, and Flamingo Bay were some of the first. Meerkat Mounds would bring the comical stars of the savannah in 1997. On this day, we found all of the animals choosing to conserve energy. Many were seeking shelter from the sun in shady corners. A few didn’t seem to mind the hot Texas day. This wasn’t the case for us, as we found ourselves slowing down our pace due to the increased temps.
Baking in the Sun
By early afternoon, most all of the animals had retired to the shade. Many had moved indoors, which limited our viewing opportunities. There were some exceptions, like the Komodo Dragon. This scaly beast seemed unfazed by the heat. We enjoyed watching his deliberate movements as much as he seemed to enjoy watching us. Before long, even this activity had become nearly unbearable. Time to do like the animals and seek some indoor shelter.
By now we had reached the far end of the Fort Worth Zoo. Here we discovered the area named Texas Wild! This 8-acre exhibit captures the spirit of the Lone Star state. It’s set up as an old western town and is home to more than 100 native species. Here we found an indoor theater that offered shelter from the midday sun. The show we enjoyed focused on weather and nature in the heart of Texas. We enjoyed the show and the break that it offered.
Deep in the Heat of Texas
It’s safe to say that every summer will bring some excessive temperatures to Fort Worth. That comes with the territory, when you visit the Sunshine Belt. We actually savored much of our time in the area and just had to remember to slow down a little during midday. As the afternoon wore on, we noticed the lack of activity by the animals and decided it was time to move on down the road. Time for us to go searching for a late lunch and some cold drinks.