Fort Worth Zoo Opens New Petting Corral

Pancake the Pig had the honor of rolling out the carpet Thursday for the opening of the Fort Worth Zoo’s newest exhibit — the Toyota Children’s Ranch and Petting Corral.

Toyota Motor North America partnered with the Fort Worth Zoo to create an interactive exhibit, located at the entrance of the zoo’s Texas Wild! section. Visitors can brush, pet and learn about the goats that roam freely through the petting area, as well as interact with other animals like pigs and miniature donkeys. Additionally, zookeepers offer educational demonstrations that showcase snakes and hens.

Fort Worth Zoo executive director Michael Fouraker delivers opening remarks.

The petting corral opened with a ribbon cutting ceremony and remarks from Ramona Bass, the Fort Worth Zoo board of directors chair, and Jack Hollis, group vice president and general manager for the Toyota Division of Toyota Motor North America.

Pancake the Pig rolls out the carpet.

Bass says the new exhibit is not just bigger than the zoo’s older petting area; it also allows visitors to get closer to the animals — “actually getting in there, interacting and physically brushing [and] learning that animals need care.”

The petting corral is a separate project from the Wilder Vision initiative — a $100 million campaign to renovate the zoo. Though Texas Wild! was not part of the original renovation plans, an opportunity to update the petting area came when Hollis met Bass and took a tour through the zoo two years ago.

Hollis says he shares similar ideas with Bass about the importance of learning how to preserve and take care of animals.

“I firmly believe in the positive energy that animals provide and the pure fun of animals,” Hollis says.

-Madelaine Woodhouse