Flamingoes at the Fort Worth Zoo receive pumpkins as a special Halloween enrichment. All proceeds from Boo at the Zoo help the zoo care for and feed its 7,000 animal residents. Photo courtesy Fort Worth Zoo
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After a drive-thru event last year, the Fort Worth Zoo’s annual Halloween bash is back during park hours with pumpkin decorating, trick-or-treating and more festive activities for guests of all ages. 

The 30th annual Boo at the Zoo event will take place during the Halloween weekend from Friday, Oct. 29 through Sunday, Oct. 31.

Last year, the zoo moved Boo at the Zoo to a nighttime drive-thru format due to COVID-19, but this year it’s returning to its normal daytime park experience, explained Avery Elander, the zoo’s assistant director of public relations. 

“Coming off of the last 18 months of craziness, I think just being able to have this beloved tradition back in the park again is just something we’re all really looking forward to,” she said.

The daytime event allows guests to have a more interactive experience and connect with the zoo’s 7,000 animal residents, said Elander. 

Read more: Fort Worth Zoo looks to further conservation efforts by advancing exhibits

The zoo will host “keeper chats” throughout the park where visitors can ask questions and learn about the zoo’s conservation efforts in the wild. Animals will also receive Halloween-themed enrichment, which includes novel toys, scents and food items that stimulate their natural behavior.

“It’s much more animal-focused and I think that’s what the zoo is all about,” Elander said.

Visiting the zoo also contributes to a higher purpose. The nonprofit zoo participates in more than 30 conservation projects locally and around the world, including work with TCU’s mascot, the Texas horned lizard. 

“I think there’s a conservation project that almost everyone could feel passionate about and really feel like they’re making a difference just by purchasing an admission ticket to the zoo,” said Elander. 

Know before you go 

Boo at the Zoo is open during park hours from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily on Halloween weekend. Entry for the event is free with an admission ticket to the zoo, which can be purchased on site or prepurchased online at www.fortworthzoo.org

Admission tickets are $16 for adults with a $5 parking fee for nonmembers in the zoo’s main parking lot.

For TCU students, the zoo offers a reduced-price student membership at $56 per year, which includes free parking, discounts on food and merchandise and invites to member-only events at the zoo.

Student memberships must be purchased in person at the Guest Relations window near the entrance of the zoo. Interested students can apply the cost of that day’s admission ticket to the cost of the membership.

Costumes are welcome and protective face masks are encouraged, but full-face makeup or masks are not permitted at Boo at the Zoo.

Traffic is expected to be heavier over Halloween weekend, so be prepared for longer wait times to enter the park. Temperatures are forecasted with highs in the high 70s and lows in the mid-50s throughout the weekend. 

For more information, visit www.fortworthzoo.org/boo-at-the-zoo.

More ways to participate

Interested in showing off your creative side? Zoo guests can decorate a pumpkin and enter it for display during the Boo at the Zoo event.

“Pumpkin artists” can email two or three low-resolution photos to [email protected] with the subject line “Boo at the Zoo Pumpkin Entry” by Friday, Oct. 22. Artists must include their name, age and the title of their decorated pumpkin art. 

Artists of pumpkins selected for display will receive a free zoo entry pass that can be used during Boo at the Zoo, Oct. 29 through Oct. 31.

Artists must supply their own pumpkins and decorating materials. The zoo does not accept carved pumpkins for display.

Supporters of the zoo can also join the Boo Crew, the volunteer team helping to staff trick-or-treating stations and organize the event.

For a $5 fee, volunteers will receive a t-shirt and ticket for zoo admission on another day of their choosing. Spots are going quickly, so register early for the best chance at taking part.

Globally, wildlife populations have declined by 68% since 1970, according to the 2020 Living Planet Report by the World Wildlife Fund. This Halloween, zoo guests can contribute to species conservation and join in the holiday festivities by attending Boo at the Zoo. After all, nothing is scarier than extinction.

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I'm a junior studying biology and journalism, and I believe everyone can make a difference for wildlife. I wear pink, bleed purple and live green. Ask me about okapi and let me know your ideas for making TCU greener.