The Dallas Zoo is welcoming Hurricane Harvey evacuees, free of charge. Officials at the zoo say it's just part of how they can help disaster victims who have come to North Texas.
Guests who took advantage of the free admission offered by the Dallas Zoo Wednesday said it was an emotional relief. Zoo officials say more than 1,200 South Texas evacuees showed up on Wednesday.
One family after another flocked to the zoo to evacuate the reality they're all facing back home.
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"We just packed everything up, even my dog. I grabbed him, too, wanted to make sure everybody was safe," said Cesar Robles, who evacuated from the Houston area.
He and his three children have been in North Texas for nearly a week.
"It is pretty stressful, we still have family back in Houston," he said.
Robles and other families said it's stressful, but visiting with the animals was therapeutic. It was 9-month-old Sasha Quevas' first time feeding a giraffe, and although she may not remember, her parents say they'll never forget this day.
"Everybody was so welcoming and thinking about family back at home. It was so nice to have that stress off of our shoulders to where we could come and just have fun," said Samantha Pierce, who evacuated from the Houston area.
"It feels really good to be able to help any way we can," said Sean Greene, the vice president of guest experiences at Dallas Zoo. "I mean, what they've gone through, the families that we're seeing come through here, and people that have had to evacuate up to areas like Dallas, it's hard to comprehend."
But it's the smiles and support that the Dallas Zoo hopes in some small way, can help the families heal.
The free admission for Harvey evacuees continues through the weekend and into Labor Day. Officials say anybody affected by the devastation in the Houston area is welcome to enjoy the zoo for free during that time.