Chillin' at the Zoo

Chillin' at the Zoo: As temperatures soar, animals get an icy break from the Houston heat

As temperatures soar, Houston Zoo animals get icy break from the heat

News, Shelby, Houston Zoo chillin', June 2015
Bears at the Houston Zoo receive a chilled watermelon as part of the ice pop "Ice Animal Enrichment." Courtesy of Houston Zoo/Stephanie Adams
News, Shelby, Houston Zoo chillin', June 2015
Chimpanzees receive an icy treat daily at 12:30 p.m. Courtesy of Houston Zoo/Dale Martin
Houston, Houston Zoo Gorillas, May 2015, gorilla family in outdoor habitat
Gorillas receive their ice pop treats daily at 3 p.m. Courtesy photo
Houston Zoo exhibit paintings by elephants and orangutans April 2014 Baby_Elephant_Duncan
Elephants at the Houston Zoo receive baths daily during the summer. Photo by © Stephanie Adams/Houston Zoo
News, Shelby, Houston Zoo chillin', June 2015
Even the kiddos can get into the icy act at Houston Zoo. Courtesy of Houston Zoo/Stephanie Adams
News, Shelby, Houston Zoo chillin', June 2015
News, Shelby, Houston Zoo chillin', June 2015
Houston, Houston Zoo Gorillas, May 2015, gorilla family in outdoor habitat
Houston Zoo exhibit paintings by elephants and orangutans April 2014 Baby_Elephant_Duncan
News, Shelby, Houston Zoo chillin', June 2015

We two-legged creatures aren't the only ones in H-Town in need of a break from the summer inferno. The four-legged variety, which inhabit the Houston Zoo, can be just as miserable in the heat and humidity as the rest of us.

Ice pops and daily baths to the rescue.

Zoo officials call it "icy animal enrichment" in which cooling programs are designed to give the most sensitive-to-the-heat inhabitants a little cooling refreshment. There are ice pops for the bears and daily baths for the elephants — all part of TXU Energy's "Chill Out at the Houston Zoo."

Bears are gifted with ice pops at 9:15 every Thursday and Saturday morning while the elephants receive a cooling shower of water every day at 10 a.m. in the elephant barn. Monday through Friday, in the Children's Zoo Contact Yard, there is icy enrichment for the goats. 

For those who haven't yet seen the gorilla habitat, the new residents receive ice pops daily a 3 p.m. You can view their refreshing delight from the gorilla boardwalk. And so it continues with ice pops at 12:30 daily for the chimpanzees, ice pops and chilly enrichment for the sea lions at 1:45 Friday through Sunday, ice pops for the orangutans every Wednesday at 3 p.m. and sprinklers for the birds daily at 2:15 p.m.

And now for the rest of us mammals, the zoo offers 14 indoor chill zones including the KIPP Aquarium, the gift shop and the Shani Market in the African Forest.

For the summer season, the Houston Zoo is open until 8:30 p.m. And "Cool Nights" programming will run every Friday evening from June 26 through August 21, when guests can bring family and friends to enjoy the animals, music and kid-friendly activities, all of which are included in zoo admission.

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