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7 Totally Unique Houston Zoo Gift Ideas

7 Totally Unique Houston Zoo Gift Ideas

7 Totally Unique Houston Zoo Gift Ideas

Have you been blanking on gift ideas for this Christmas? We have, too. It’s been a rough year for all of us, and we could use some inspiration…and a little fun. Luckily, we discovered some totally unique Houston Zoo gift ideas that we are super excited about!

And not only are these great gift ideas, but a portion of all the proceeds from any purchase at the Houston Zoo goes to the care of their animals and to conservation efforts to help other animals in the wild. So they are all gifts that keep on giving. 

This year has been stressful for most businesses, and that includes our zoos. But unlike other businesses, a zoo cannot just shut down and allow their employees to work from home. There are still animals in their protection to feed and provide care for. So when they had to shut their doors to help protect all of us, their finances and ability to maintain care for the animals took a hit

Zoos and Conservation

AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums across the nation and the world are some of the largest contributors to wildlife conservation efforts, species survival and recovery, research, and education of the public. Wildlife expert Sir David Attenborough himself is a supporter of zoo efforts, saying:

“Breeding programmes for animals that are on the verge of extinction are of incredible importance. If it was not for zoos, there would be no Arabian oryx left in the world, for example.”

Mr. Attenborough similarly defends the importance of zoos in wildlife education efforts for the public:

“There is no way you can appreciate the quiddity of an elephant except by seeing one at close quarters. People ought to be able to see what an animal looks like. And smells like. And sounds like. I think that is quite important. Actually, very important.”

And you know you just read those quotes in his iconic voice…

Your Houston Zoo

The Houston Zoo is not just one of the best zoos in Texas, it’s also one of the top-rated zoos in the country. We are so lucky to have access to this wonderful organization that’s been responsible for such a huge impact over the years on wildlife conservation and our community. And also lots of memories and fun, too. 

So let’s use the holidays this year to help support the efforts of our hometown zoo by giving gifts that give!

Here are 7 totally unique Houston Zoo gift Ideas:

1. Zoo Lights Tickets

2. Houston Zoo Membership Gift Certificates

3. Adopt a Houston Zoo Animal

4. (Socially distant) Houston Zoo Animal Encounter Gift Certificates

5. Houston Zoo Animal Art

6. “Gift of Grub”

7. Houston Zoo Online Store

1. Houston Zoo Lights Tickets

One of our favorite Houston Zoo gift ideas (because it’s also one of our favorite holiday traditions) is tickets to the Houston Zoo Lights presented by TXU Energy!

The weather is chilly and perfect to snuggle up in your layers with some hot chocolate and other holiday treats available, and take an enchanting Yuletide stroll through the picturesque grounds of the Houston Zoo at night.

There are plenty of opportunities for making memories and snagging some great pics (and, of course, selfies) as you wander through attractions such as a 125ft-long Infinity Tunnel of Lights, a 4D Enchanted Forest with dragons, a giant ice throne, photos with Santa himself, and perhaps the most unbelievable of all – “snow” in Texas! 

Although, it’s also possible you’ll be so swept away by the magic and glow of the lights and smiles that you might forget to take any pictures at all, and we would not be surprised…or disappointed.

Surrounded by thousands of twinkling LED lights and blanketed by billions of starry ones, this luminous themed display is one of the best ways to soak in the magic of the holidays. And it makes a surprising and unique gift, too. 

The display runs from November 14, 2020 through January 10, 2021. So you can make tickets to Houston Zoo Lights a gift to be opened on Christmas day to extend the holiday festivities through the new year. Or you can use this opportunity as an early gift and surprise for the whole family to add to the excitement before the big day. 

Either way, this is a gift that’s sure to be full of memories. 

2. Houston Zoo Membership Gift Certificates

Next on the list of Houston Zoo gift ideas is a gift that truly keeps on giving all year round: a membership gift certificate to the Houston Zoo.

There are various levels of membership that will work for you or your intended gift recipient depending on family size and specific perks desired. But whichever level you choose, all memberships come with amazing values, discounts, savings, and exclusive perks. You’ll discover that a membership will pay for itself in just a couple of visits.

All membership levels include free admission for 12 months, exclusive use of a members-only entrance, monthly members-only mornings, discounted admission at over 100 other zoos and aquariums nationwide, other various discounts within the zoo, early registration to special events, etc. And most importantly, as always, your membership supports the care of animals at the Houston Zoo and conservation efforts of those in the wild. 

3. Adopt a Houston Zoo Animal

One of the most heartwarming Houston Zoo gift ideas is to adopt a zoo animal. 

If you’re not ready to adopt a pet into your home this holiday season, consider adopting a Houston Zoo animal to honor your special someone’s love for animals!

Help your animal-loving friend become a conservationist. By adopting an animal at the Houston Zoo, you’re not only helping to care for and feed that specific animal, but you’re also contributing to support the education and conservation programs of the Houston Zoo.

There are five different levels of animal adoption to choose from, all including an adoption certificate, fact sheet, 5×7 animal photo, and an adoption e-newsletter. Most levels also come with a cute, cuddly plush animal!

The decision to adopt an animal at the Houston Zoo as a gift for someone is easy. The only hard part is deciding which animal to adopt! 

(p.s. If you don’t know where to start and need a suggestion, up until the 1900’s okapis were considered mythical and referred to as the “African unicorn”, and that’s pretty rad. They are on the adoption list. So essentially you could adopt a unicorn. Maybe start there.) 

4. (Socially Distant) Houston Zoo Animal Encounter Gift Certificates

Up next on the list of unique Houston Zoo gift ideas could be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for that special animal lover in your life. Make someone’s dream come true this Christmas with one of the Houston Zoo’s (socially distant) animal encounters!

Go behind the scenes and get up close to one of your favorite animals and learn about them from the ones who know them best – the zookeepers

Bathe an elephant, help train a sea lion, feed an okapi, take selfies with a Galapagos tortoise, *brush a goat, and more! With several different animal encounter options and price ranges to choose from, you’re sure to find the perfect animal encounter that will be the perfect, unforgettable gift for your favorite animal lover. 

And if you’re thinking, “But that’s me!”, then go ahead – it’s 2020. “Treat yo’self”.

* [author’s note] If you’ve never brushed a goat, you need to. It’s arguably one of the most calming and delightful things you’ll ever do. The goats love it and you will, too. Trust me. You’ll thank me later.

5. Houston Zoo Animal Art

Drawing a blank on a gift to get your artsy friend (pun intended)? We got you. One of the most unique Houston Zoo gift ideas is “extra-unique” because each item is truly one-of-a-kind: animal art. As in…art made by animals! And it’s adorable.

Yes, you heard that right. At the Houston Zoo, the animals have become artists! Think: Vincent Van Goat, Pablo Picocelot, Henrhino Matisse, Gustav Chimpt, Salvador Dalemur, Paul Cezantelope. (Okay, some of those are terrible. But here we are.)

Did you know that animals enjoy painting? At the Houston Zoo, zookeepers “work to enrich the lives of the animals in their care every day by introducing fun, interesting and complex activities, such as painting, to the animals’ daily routine”. 

The animals paint using non-toxic paint on a canvas (and maybe a little help from their keepers) to create their own unique masterpieces. With paw prints, brushstrokes, and some cute critter color combos, each of the artists’ creations is truly one-of-a-kind.

The artwork from dozens of animals comes in various sizes of unmatted flat canvas, and every purchase comes with a photo of the animal artist with a short biography. And a reasonable price range makes this an affordably unique gift that’s sure to be a crowd-pleaser.

A special edition of Houston Zoo animal art this holiday season is also available as ceramic Christmas ornaments! So be sure to snag one of these unique little pieces of functional and festive animal art that will be one of the cutest keepsakes on your tree for years to come.  

6. “Gift of Grub”

Zoo supporters like you help to provide care and food to the animals. And this holiday season your Houston Zoo needs your help more than ever. 

So in this season of giving, don’t forget your favorite animals at the Houston Zoo! Giving the “Gift of Grub” will help provide care and feeding for our favorite animal family.

Did you know:

  • $50 could buy 60 pounds of crane feed for whooping cranes
  • $100 could buy 40 pounds of carrots for a North American porcupine 
  • $250 could buy 120 pounds of meat for African painted dogs
  • $500 could buy 240 pounds of catfish for giant river otters

And if you were planning on donating, there’s no better or exciting time than now. Thanks to an anonymous friend of the Zoo, the first $100,000 in gifts will be matched, dollar-for-dollar through December 31! So, maximize your impact by considering to donate today!

7. Houston Zoo Online Store

Last, but certainly not least on this list of Houston Zoo gift ideas is to head to their online store

If you’re stuck in a rut of giving people repeat Christmas gifts, why not check out all the fun merchandise from the Zoo? There is a wide variety of gift items to be found, such as plushes, toys, accessories, apparel, drinkware, cooking utensils, and more. And all with a unique animal twist. They even have plenty of suggestions for super cute stocking stuffers!

And since we all have to wear one right now, you should check out these adorable animal-themed masks!


We hope you found these unique Houston Zoo gift ideas useful! Any one of these gifts is sure to make Christmas special for anyone who receives it. And it’s even more special knowing that, as always, much of the proceeds from any purchase at the Houston Zoo goes towards helping the animals in their care and their conservation efforts to help animals in the wild. 

And now, I’ll just leave you with the hilarious fact that Benedict Cumberbatch can’t say the word “penguin”…

Like this content and want more? Read more about pets and wildlife here. And be sure to subscribe to our newsletter at Dock Line Magazine so you don’t miss out on getting more free content like this straight to your email!

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