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16 of the Best Petting Zoos Near Me & Places to Visit Animals

There are many opportunities to get an up-close and personal experience with animals – visit a Petting Zoo or farm, Touch a Giraffe, or even cuddle a lamb.

I love taking my kids to petting zoos and farms near me in the Dallas area! I didn’t realize there were so many of them until I researched ones around the DFW Metroplex, so I put them together in this post. 

If you have Children who love animals and want to see Animals up close, then get ready to find nearby Zoos, Petting Zoos near me, Aquariums, and Animals out in Nature.

There are some great You Pick farms close to DFW that also have animals too.

From A to Z – Aquariums to Zoos, there is something for you!

More: 10+ of the Most Fun Things to Do in Dallas with Kids

Which are the Best Local Aquariums, Nature Farms and Petting Zoos near me?

Petting Farm, Animals near me

Heritage Farmstead Museum

Address: 1900 W 15th St, Plano, TX 75075

Phone: (972) 881-0140 

Located in the heart of Plano, Heritage Farmstead Museum is so rich in history. It is the premier living history site interpreting the Texas Blackland Prairie region in North Texas.

The Farmstead built in 1891 includes the original Victorian home, which is standing on a 356-acre farm with old-fashioned 3 barns, and other structures that recall early life in the Lone Star State.

Take the kids and introduce them to a piece of living history, take some photos, and meet some cute barn animals.

Animals at Petting Farm Plano TX

Storybook Ranch

Address: 3701 Custer Rd, McKinney, TX 75070

Phone: (972) 369-0874

The Storybook Ranch was established in 1887 as a working cattle ranch, and to this day, they are you excellent venue option for any special events, and they offer activities for the whole family.

Activities include a trail ride, horse camp, horseback riding lessons, tours, a petting zoo, and a pumpkin patch.

petting zoo near me
Photo Credit: Storybook Ranch Facebook Page

Stockyard Stables

Address: 157 E Exchange Ave, Fort Worth, TX 76164

Phone: (817) 239-8830

Are you looking for a true Texas Cowboy Adventure? We have a perfect place for you!

Stockyard Stables is located in the historical Fort Worth stockyards, which offers trail ride for kids (at least 11yr old) and adults.

They take you for a ride down the Old Chisholm Trail and along the Trinity River toward the Fort Worth Sky Line. They also offer arena rides, longhorn steer photos, a petting zoo, and even stagecoach and carriage rides.

Giddy up and have a Texan Cowboy experience!

petting zoo near me
Photo Credit: Country Critters Farm Facebook Page

Country Critters Farm

Address: 3709 County Rd 617, Alvarado, TX 76009

Phone: (682) 593-1866

Petting Zoos near me

Cathy’s Critters

Address: 7422 Co Rd 466, Princeton, TX 75407

Phone: (972) 562-0583

Cathy’s Critters provides high-quality humane education and safe, socially-distanced, outdoor fun.

They’ll be open midday hours Friday every week with special activities in addition to our normal Open Farm Day offerings.  Weekends will feature trail rides, animal care talks from our experts, and pony cart rides.

Friday adds a special “Kid Zone” track of supervised activities for kids allowing parents to drop-off and pick-up and have a “day off” from 9am – 2pm as well as Storytime readings at 10:30am and 12:30pm.

Preston Trail Farm

Address: 15102 TX-289, Gunter, TX 75058

Phone: (972) 382-4995

We like to call it a petting farm and not a petting zoo, because we focus exclusively on farm animals.

Located just North of Dallas, (not far from Prosper, Texas), visitors can see over 50 goats, cows and even some real longhorn cattle up close and personal in their full-time home right here on the farm.

The Best Zoos in the Dallas area

Dallas Zoo

Address: 650 S R L Thornton Fwy, Dallas, TX 75203

Phone: (469) 554-7501

There is nothing more fun than going to the zoo for the kiddos. That smile, while looking at the animal for the first time, is priceless.

And you can experience that at the Dallas Zoo! It has been recognized as one of the top 10 zoos in the US and is the most immense zoological experience in Texas.

With an area of 106 acres of park to explore, thousands of animals to see, and tons of programs for the whole, this is an excellent place for an adventure.

Don’t miss visiting the Giants of the Savanna Exhibit, an 11-acre safari experience where visitors can get up close and personal with giraffes, elephants, lions, cheetahs, and many other African species. You can also book guided tours too.

Fort Worth Zoo

Address: 1989 Colonial Pkwy, Fort Worth, TX 76110

Phone: (817)759-7555

We are so lucky, we’ve got tons of places to visit, and we have the number 1 Zoo in the nation just under an hour’s drive away.

Fort Worth Zoo has finished in the USA Today’s top five for the 4th time, and this year it finally has taken the number one spot. How awesome is that!

It is home to more than 7000 native and exotic animals, and its wide array of indoor and outdoor exhibits includes World of Primates, Asian Falls, and Raptor.

Bring the whole family; there’s something for everyone at the Fort Worth Zoo.

Animals up close at Fort Worth Zoo

Gentle Zoo (temporarily closed, Summer 2023)

Address: 12600 FM2932, Forney, TX 75126

Phone: (469) 834-2857

Local Aquariums to Visit in the Dallas area

Dallas World Aquarium

Address: 1801 N Griffin St, Dallas, TX 75202

Phone: (214) 720-2224

This is not your ordinary aquarium; the Dallas World Aquarium is a place where you will be delighted, amazed, and excited with all the kinds of animals housed here.

They feature fantastic wildlife exhibits, including all the different types of freshwater fish, reptiles, amphibians, and exotic birds, along with a wide array of animals that are part of many conservation projects. 

Sea Life Aquarium Grapevine

Address: Mills Mall, 3000 Grapevine Mills Pkwy, Grapevine, TX 76051

Phone: (469) 444-3050

A great place to see all forms of sea life! You name it, and they most likely have it, from a clownfish to starfish to seahorses, sharks, and a lot more.

They’ve got thousands of sea creatures, both exotic saltwater and native freshwater sea life.

The new permanent exhibit, Sea Turtle Rescue Center, allows visitors of all ages to learn about the threats turtles face in the wild and experience first-hand the process of successfully rescuing, rehabilitating, and releasing sea turtles.

You can access many of these venues for free , with the Annual Entertainment Pogo Pass around DFW – we have 50% off your purchase which you can use now.

Where can you see Animals in Nature?

Trinity River Audubon Center

Address: 6500 S Great Trinity Forest Way, Dallas, TX 75217

Phone: (214) 309-5801

Located just a ten-minute drive from downtown Dallas, Trinity River Audubon Center is your gateway to explore the fantastic resources of the 6,000-acre Great Trinity Forest.

As stated on their website, it is the largest urban hardwood forest in the United States; this forest supports a diverse community of plant and animal species and contains a unique mixture of bottomland hardwoods, wetlands, and grasslands.

Make time to explore this part of our city and have a day full of adventure – take a hike along five miles of trails, enjoy birdwatching, and don’t miss the indoor exhibit hall to learn more about the plants and animals that are native to the lands.

More: This is one of 23 Nature Hikes and Trails close by.

Animals near me Plano TX

Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary

Address: 1 Nature Pl, McKinney, TX 75069

Phone: (972) 562-5566

Founded in 1967, the Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary is a perfect place to explore, and the whole family has the indoor and outdoor exhibits to enjoy.

They have a beautiful trail, playground, animal exhibits, butterfly house, a 2-acre plant garden, and the famous Dinosaur Live (where you encounter the 46-foot T-Rex and nine new life-size animatronic dinosaurs)!

The Heard Museum exists to bring nature and people together to discover, enjoy, experience, restore, and preserve our priceless environment.

Heard Museum McKinney

Where can you see Exotic Animals?

In Sync Exotics

Address: 3430 Skyview Dr, Wylie, TX 75098

Phone: (972) 442-6888

In-Sync Exotics is a wildlife rescue and educational center whose mission is to provide a caring, safe haven to many big Cats by putting their needs above all else; the old, the maimed, and the unwanted can find sanctuary in their facility.

Just taking a visit will support their organization and their cause. As a non-profit organization, they are dedicated to rescuing neglected, abused, and unwanted exotic felines.

Today, In-Sync Exotics provides specialized care for over 70 exotic wild cats (and two lemurs) by feeding them with their specific diets, providing them with medical care, spacious habitats with toys, tubs, and pools, enrichment, and loving attention.

Visit them and enjoy your day exploring and learning about exotic cats.

Fossil Rim Glen Rose Animals

Fossil Rim Wildlife Center

Address: 2299 Co Rd 2008, Glen Rose, TX 76043

Phone: (254) 897-2960

Combine your visit to Glen Rose with a stay and a visit to the Country Woods which has cabins, cool airstream trailers, and lots of farm animals. 

It’s a must for any animal or nature lover. You can get tickets for their guided tour or self-guided drive along their 7.2 miles of Texas Hill Country.

You will see several unique and endangered animals, feed the giraffes, and stop for a break at the Overlook Cafe & Store to stretch your legs, pet some animals, and take in the views!

Make a day of it by visiting one of the best historic small town squares in Granbury, TX, before or after your tour. It is full of quaint shops, local eateries, and boutique hotels.

More: Take a Trip to 6 Spots in Glen Rose, Texas

Sharkarosa Animals near me

Sharkarosa Wildlife Ranch

Address: 11670 Massey Rd, Pilot Point, TX 76258

Phone: (940) 686-4600

A smaller and more personalized experience than a traditional Zoo, Sharkarosa offers Kids a chance to experience rare and endangered exotic wildlife in a unique and personal setting.

Located near Lake Ray Roberts, it has 126 acres of land with 130 animals onsite, Barrel train rides & outdoor dining areas.

Related Links

Our Directory Listings for Local Farms

15 Outdoor Spots close to DFW


  • Buena Montero

    Call me BonBon, I am a Mom of 2 kids, a family travel blogger and a travel advisor. My family loves to discover new places, near and far. And we love to inspire families to travel more, to get out of their comfort zone and explore this wonderful world. Check out my blog for travel inspirations

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