The results are in for USA Today’s 10 Best Zoos, and the Fort Worth Zoo has been named No. 1 in North America.
USA Today assembled a panel of industry experts who created a list of 20 zoos that excel in animal care and enrichment, while also creating meaningful interactions between animals and humans.
The news organization opened the voting, asking people nationwide to choose their favorite. The final rankings were revealed Friday, July 17. This is the fourth year the Zoo has finished in the USA Today’s top five and the first time in the No. 1 spot, the zoo said in a news release.
The recognition came as the zoo is planning to debut the second phase of its $100-million master plan, A Wilder Vision, next spring.
Phase two, Elephant Springs, nearly triples the size of the zoo’s current elephant exhibit and offers numerous enriching experiences with natural habitats, splash pools and multiple lush grass settings in which the elephants can roam.
A Wilder Vision will completely redesign the zoo with renovated and reimagined habitats. The plan will not only allow guests to observe and interact with animals in ways that weren’t possible before, but it will also allow the zoo to continue to be an international leader in conservation and animal care, the news release said.
“Thank you to the many people all across the United States for casting your votes and once again showing your support for the Fort Worth Zoo. We are humbled and thrilled by this honor,” said Ramona Bass, the long-time chairman of the board of directors and the force behind the Fort Worth Zoo’s transformation from a simple municipal zoo into the international conservation powerhouse it is today.
“It is the work of our dedicated staff and the support from our loyal guests and friends that make the Fort Worth Zoo truly special. With more than 1 million guests each year, the Fort Worth Zoo provides the best in an educational and entertaining family experience,” Bass said.
To celebrate the occasion, the city of Fort Worth will light the town green.
Sundance Square, Pioneer Tower, Lancaster Avenue bridge and 7th Street bridge will be illuminated with green lights and the Pier 1 Imports building will have a scrolling “1” displayed.