The Houston Zoo is a 55-acre (22 ha) zoological park located within Hermann Park in Houston, Texas, United States. The Zoo houses over 6,000 animals as a part of over 900 species that the zoo has to offer, and receives 2.55 million visitors each year and is the second most visited zoo in the United States. The Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).
The Houston Zoo's mission statement is "The Houston Zoo provides a fun, unique, and inspirational experience fostering appreciation, knowledge, and care for the natural world."
Since 2002, the non-profit corporation Houston Zoo Inc. has operated the zoo. Prior to 2002, the Houston Zoo was operated by the City of Houston.
Coined the most ambitious project in the Zoo's 88 year history, the African Forest officially opened on Friday, December 10, 2010. The exhibit is home to many african species, including Grant's zebra, Speke's gazelle, White rhinoceros, Masai giraffe and Common chimpanzee. In 2011, the HoustonPress awarded the Houston Zoo the Best of Houston® Award for Best New Ecosystem.
Including habitats from the coral reefs of the Pacific to the Amazon Basin and the Rift Valley lakes of Africa, this exhibit is home to over 200 species of fresh and saltwater fish, including marine invertebrates. The exhibit is also home to a rescued sea turtle, a large school of piranhas, a green moray eel, the giant pacific octopus and the delicate moon jellyfish.
Featuring three main exhibits, the Fischer Bird Garden, the Tropical Bird House and Birds of the World, the Houston Zoo is able to boast one of the largest collections in any US zoo with over 200 species and 800 individual birds. Walking through the exhibits, you will see a rage of diverse birds, including the Mariana fruit dove, Cassowaries, Micronesian kingfisher, the Congo peafowl and the Green-winged macaw.
Hosting the University of Houston's mascot Shasta the cougar, the carnivore exhibit is also home to the African lion, Malayan tiger, African painted dog, Jaguar and the Maned wolf.