Delia Bernal rushed from one zoo exhibit to another, her family trailing behind the feisty grandma.
"I haven’t been to the zoo in years," said Bernal, 56, of Fort Worth. "It’s really different with so many new exhibits. There’s so much to see."
Her daughters were grateful for Bernal’s bright tie-dyed shirt to help keep track of her among the bustling Spring Break crowds. The family was among thousands who visited the zoo on what is typically its busiest day of the year.
Traffic around the zoo backed up University Drive all the way to Interstate 30 at times. To help with traffic flow this week, the zoo hired a dozen off-duty police officers.
Keith Nelson, of Colleyville, said he got lucky on traffic because he mistakenly exited I-30 early, which worked in his favor to get to the zoo from Forest Park Boulevard.
Nelson said the family hadn’t been to the zoo together in about 20 years. He and his wife brought three of their six children.
"It was totally random, but my youngest daughter wanted to come so we all came," Nelson said.
Many day cares and large families took advantage of the zoo’s half-price admission on Wednesday to help "staycation" dollars stretch.
Going on Wednesday during spring break has become a tradition for the O’Neal and Luna family of Fort Worth. This year was their fifth, with 14 family members in tow.
"We come for the kids and us," said Jason O’Neal, pointing to his son Isaiah, 5. "Every year. my son notices something different. Last year it was the tigers.”