The other half of the zoo is the Wilds of Africa. Opened in 1990, it was the first exhibit to feature all of the major habitats of Africa. Visitors can visit the rain forests, mountains, woodlands, rivers, deserts, and bush of Africa. The Nature Trail takes visitors through the rain forest past two large, naturalistic gorilla habitats. Nile crocodiles, wattled cranes, and a few other animals are seen before the Forest Aviary. In the middle of the forest is the Kopje, home to rock hyraxes, klipspringers, and meerkats. The rain forest/watering hole is also home to hippopotamus and okapi, which the zoo, in the case of the latter, is famous for in both its breeding and research. About 20 percent of okapi in zoos in the U.S. and Japan can trace their lineage back to it.
Penguin Cove is home to about a dozen African Penguins. The penguins can be seen above and under the water as they walk and swim around their exhibit.
The 19,000-square-foot (1,800 m2) Kimberly-Clark Chimpanzee Forest exhibit opened in 1997. Visitors can observe the chimpanzees from the open air viewing station or from the floor-to-ceiling observation windows. Chimpanzee Forest features a waterfall, stream, climbing structures, trees and rocks that are heated in the winter and cooled in the summer. Another feature is an artificial termite mound where the chimpanzees can fish with long sticks for special treats, such as peanut butter and honey. In addition to their food from the zoo commissary, there are more than 40 edible plants in their area for them to forage on.
Gorilla Research CenterEdit
Originally opened in 1990, the Gorilla Research Center is a 2-acre (0.81 ha) habitat featuring a lush naturalistic landscape. The habitat was designed in a way that encourages the gorillas to roam freely in an environment that replicates, as closely as possible, their native equatorial forest habitat. The exhibit includes two areas, separated by a wall, which provide enough room for two gorilla troops. The exhibit closed in 2004 and reopened in 2006 after undergoing a $2.2 million renovation to raise the exhibit walls from 12 feet to 15 feet and add a visitor's center. The visitor's center is known as the Gorilla Research Station. It features high vantage points and floor-to-ceiling windows where visitors can interact with the gorillas and have their questions answered by on site gorilla guides. The habitat is currently home to two gorilla troops; a bachelor troop and a family troop. The bachelors are named Juba, B'wenzi, Shana, and Zola. Juba and B'wenzi came to the Dallas Zoo in 2011 and Shana and Zola, half-brothers, arrived in 2013. The family troop members are Subira, the silverback, Madge, and her daughter, Shanta, and Megan. The goal was for former silverback Patrick and one of the females to breed but in September 2013 the plan was abandoned due to Patrick's lack of interest in reproducing.
Crocodile Isle allows visitors to view Nile crocodiles from behind glass. Visitors can watch crocodiles swim, lounge in the sun, and even devour their food at public feedings.
The Forest Aviary contains colorful and exotic birds native only to Africa in a habitat featuring a wooded landscape, rock cliffs, and a tranquil stream.
Wilds of Africa Adventure SafariEdit
The Wilds of Africa Adventure Safari is a 20-minute, one-mile, narrated monorail ride, which travels around the watering hole (hippopotamus) rain forest (okapi), mountain (Nubian ibex), woodlands (Grévy's zebra), river (waterbuck, greate white pelicans, Goliath herons, blue cranes), arid desert (scimitar-horned oryx, addra gazelle), semi-arid desert (addax, gemsbok, ostrich) and bush (gerenuk, black crowned cranes, greater kudu, Thomson's gazelle, marabou storks) exhibits. The monorail features aerial views of the Simmons Hippo Outpost, Chimpanzee Forest, Nile crocodile, and Penguin Cove exhibits, which are also accessible via the Nature Trail. The monorail originally opened in 1990 but after two decades of use and over a million passengers, the attraction began to show its age with aging infrastructure and several electrical outages that left passengers stranded on the tour. The final incident in August 2014 prompted zoo officials to shut down the attraction for evaluation. Following the evaluation the DZS decided a $3 million renovation was in order. On March 25, 2016, the Monorail Safari reopened as the Wilds of Africa Adventure Safari featuring a new sound system, an upgraded station, air-conditioning, upgraded mechanical and electrical components and new graphics on the individual cars. Additionally, a diesel powered tug is now on standby to nudge the trains back to the station in the event of a power failure.
Giants of the SavannaEdit
Phase II of the Wilds of Africa, Giants of the Savanna, opened on May 28, 2010. This is an 11-acre (4.5 ha) expansion to the current Wilds of Africa, and features four female African elephants, a large herd of reticulated giraffes, African lions, South African cheetahs, impala, Grant's zebras, ostriches, guineafowl, warthogs, and red river hogs. Visitors have the opportunity to feed lettuce leaves and rye crackers to the herd of giraffe at the Giraffe Feeding Station. Five of the eleven acres are dedicated to the ten African elephants; Jenny, Gypsy, Kamba, Congo, Tendaji, Nolwazi, Mlilo, Zola, Amahle, Ajabu. The elephants' facilities are state of the art with padded floors and a community room with seven feet of dirt that allows the pachyderms to indulge their natural inclination for digging. The exhibit is the first in North America to mix elephants with giraffes, zebras, ostriches, impala, and guineafowl. Also in the exhibit is a pride of four lions and a family of three cheetahs. In between the lion and cheetah exhibits, there is a "Predator Encounter" area where the keepers give educational talks.Climate controlled rocks draw the lions to a floor-to-ceiling bay window at the Serengeti Grill, where they sit or lay within mere inches of diners. On March 11, 2016, five new African elephants arrived from Swaziland in order to escape a drought.
Wilds of AfricaEdit
- African Penguin