Aquarium or Zoo? Your Choice in Dallas!

What do you do with children/grandchildren on a hot or rainy day in Dallas? One idea is to visit the Dallas World Aquarium which is located in downtown Dallas ( The path to the entrance is captivating. Colorful birds call out as we passed their spacious cages. Marmosets played merrily in their tree-filled areas while a tree kangaroo munched his (or was it her?) meal.

We bought our tickets, got a map, which proved to be very important, and climbed the stairs to the third floor. From the high vantage point, we joined others in oohing and aahing at the three-story waterfall that pours into a beautiful river filled with ducks and, our favorite, a manatee. We were fortunate to arrive at feeding time in this Orinoco ecosystem, so we watched the occupants following the diver while waiting not-so-patiently for their food. (We enjoyed seeing the manatee from below water later in our visit, but the third-floor view was our favorite.)

The aquarium does a wonderful job of using displays to give the impression of entering different ecosystems. We wandered by a three-toed sloth hanging lazily from a branch, marmosets playfully leaping from limb to limb, and frogs hiding skillfully in their glass cages. Be forewarned if you are an aquarium fanatic. Even though diverse fish from all over the world are displayed, there are also many non-aquatic ecosystems complete with such fascinating animals as marmosets, birds, and alligators.

The humongous white crocodile, accompanied by his friend, was another highlight of our visit. We had fun watching him from outside his artfully disguised enclosure.

The Mundo Maya held flamingos, an ocelot, seahorses, owls, lizards, and snakes, all displayed amid Mayan murals and ruins. Every corner hid a new surprise that kept us intrigued. Here we were glad we had a map, because, after wandering through the many displays, we reached the exit only to realized that we had missed the penguins. We backtracked and took another path to find the penguins playing with their keeper who was simultaneously attempting to clean their living quarters while petting a very insistent penguin.

The Wolves of the River, River Otters, were another of our favorites. Even though the animal can injure humans, he was fun to watch as he showed off for us, the audience. Another favorite was the Harpy Eagle, a massive eagle that flew from limb to limb while watching us suspiciously.

My husband, granddaughter, and I enjoyed the visit to this aquarium/zoo which reminded us of the vastness and diversity of animal life and our need to take care of it.

Have you been to the Dallas World Aquarium? If so, please share your experience with us.

Candace Ahlfinger has loved traveling since she was little and has always been on the go whenever possible. Now she is retired and gets to do what she loves best… TRAVEL! Whether it’s traveling with her wonderful husband, or our children and grandchildren, traveling is a great experience that enriches her life. Because she always enjoys reading and hearing about others’ travel experiences, she wants to share her travels with the Ellis DownHome readers. 


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