Fritz Park Petting Zoo, Irving
Nestled under the shade of pecan trees, Fritz Park Petting Zoo is a delight to anyone who loves animals! With my youngest out of school, he and I made a day of it. Follow along as we made a list of 9 simple steps to having a great time!
STEP 1. Leave your money in your pocket, because it’s FREE. The petting zoo, which has been open since 1970, is run by the City of Irving as a way of allowing its urban residents a chance to see animals, mainly those you would find on a farm, at no expense. The park is FREE to everyone, regardless of residency. It’s only open June and July each summer, Tues – Saturday, from 10am – 6pm and 2pm – 6pm on Sunday. Come early, when it’s cool and the animals are most active.
Step 2. Get to know the animals. I fell head over heels for this sweet little cow. The turkey is a complete ham, posing for pictures like he has an instagram account! The two baby goats have completely different personalities, one wants constant attention and one just wants to have its neck rubbed. Jack the donkey doesn’t like flies and Dusty likes fingers, but the animal handlers will assist you so you can pet him without losing any!
Step 3. Take advantage of the knowledgeable handlers and volunteers to learn something about the animals. Ask questions, and teach your children to ask questions. It will help them later in school, and in life.
The handlers were terrific, taking out some of the animals so we could see them better. Youth volunteers (starting at age 12) are chosen at the beginning of each summer, based on their knowledge of animals and willingness to learn.
Step 4. Slow down. You never know what the animals will do unless you take the time to observe them. Yes, this little guy just rolled his head back and stuck his tongue out at me.
Step 5. Visit the Crayon Fun Room
Grab a complementary coloring book all about the farm. Kids can use the provided crayons for working on it there, or take it home. They have also supplied chalk for drawing on the walkway.
Step 6. Enjoy lunch under the trees.
We chatted with Xavier the peacock while we had a picnic lunch on one of several picnic tables at the zoo. It was a nice way to enjoy the quiet of the zoo. After lunch, we walked around again. Since they rotate out the animals, we were able to pet a few of the animals we hadn’t before lunch! Before we knew it, we had spent two hours at the zoo!
My Mommy Tips:
- The zoo provides water for guest, but there are not any concessions, so pack a lunch if you plan to stay awhile.
- There are restrooms in the zoo.
Step 7. Step on over to Fritz Park. Walk over to the nearby playground at Fritz Park. You’ll find many more picnic tables here, along with grills for hot dogs in the park. The West Fork of the Trinity River runs through the park. There is also a 9 “hole” disc golf course. It’s a fun game for the entire family, and this quiet park is the perfect place to give it a try!
There’s a couple of geocaches in the park, as well. Geocaching is another GREAT family activity! If you haven’t tried it yet, this summer would be a great time to start!
Step 8. Ponder Safety Town Located just next door to Fritz Park Petting Zoo is Safety Town. It was closed and locked during our visit, but we walked around it and turned it into a teaching moment, discussing the importance of following road rules when riding a bicycle (if he EVER takes off his training wheels)!
Step 9. Make a splash at nearby Southwest Spray Park 2800 W. Shady Grove Rd, Irving. We skipped playing at Fritz Park, and made the short, 2.8 mile drive to Southwest Park, which has a small spray park, in addition to soccer and baseball fields. It was a great way to beat the heat! Restrooms are available for changing, if you didn’t at Fritz Park, or the backseat of your car like my little guy. The park is FREE to the public, and opens at 1 pm. We arrived right at 1 pm, and stayed for 2 more hours.
Step 10. Chill out with a Bodacious Snow Cone. 2431 W. Shady Grove Rd Open 7 days a week 2:30pm – 9pm. What a great way to end the day! Just a couple of blocks down the road from Southwest Park is Bodacious Snow Cones! My little guy had a blueberry/raspberry mix, and I enjoyed a Pink Lady, a concoction of sweet nectar and cream. Yum!! We found some trees in the back of the parking lot, and sat in our car in the shade to enjoy our snow cones.
For more information on Bodacious Snow Cones, click HERE.
Fritz Park Petting Zoo
312 E Vilbig St, Irving
Click HERE to visit their website.
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