The Houston Zoo Just Opened A One-Of-Its-Kind Galápagos Islands Exhibit

You can now experience the archipelago’s unique wildlife, including tortoises, penguins, sea lions, and more.

Houston Zoo Galapagos Exhibit

Courtesy Houston Zoo; Photo: Daniel Ortiz for the Houston Zoo

The Houston Zoo is paying homage to the Galápagos Islands’ wildlife with a newly opened exhibit, which is the first-of-its-kind in the world to focus on the archipelago’s unique animals. 

After celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2022, the Houston Zoo is calling the project a beloved culmination of its “Keep Our World Wild” centennial fundraising campaign. The goal is to immerse the zoo’s nearly two million annual visitors in a world of natural wonder while promoting the importance of conservation and protection of the Galápagos Islands and similar habitats worldwide. 

During your visit, you can expect to come across many new residents, including giant Galápagos tortoises relaxing in a volcanic meadow, famed Humboldt penguins waddling on a beach, and playful sea lions catching sun rays on a rocky shoreline. In the aquatic section of the exhibit, a Galápagos-inspired reef environment shows green sea turtles, blacktip reef sharks, bonnethead sharks, and other species. 

Houston Zoo Galapagos

Courtesy Houston Zoo; Photo: Daniel Ortiz for the Houston Zoo

“After years of planning and construction, we can now say that our Houston Zoo is home to the first major Galápagos Islands exhibit in any zoo,” said Houston Zoo president and CEO Lee Ehmke during the opening ceremony, according to the zoo's newsroom. The Galápagos Islands are an archipelago of volcanic islands that straddle the equator, which has resulted in an extraordinarily rare ecosystem that was famously documented by Charles Darwin in the 1800s. 

Due to laws that protect the Galápagos Islands’ species and marine life, the animals in the exhibit are not brought directly from the Galápagos, but are closely related species. (The Galápagos tortoises featured in the exhibit are generational offspring of Galápagos tortoises brought to the U.S. in the early 1900s.) Those who visit the Galápagos Islands exhibit at the Houston Zoo will be helping protect the wild species with funds raised through admission and memberships, and as a result, the Houston Zoo will partner with Galápagos-focused and marine conservation programs in future efforts. 

Admission to the Galápagos Islands exhibit is included with general admission to the Houston Zoo. You can also reserve tickets to visit the Houston Zoo here

Consider this a must-stop on your next trip to Space City

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