Zoo Hopes Safari Splash is Summer Success

New splash park opens on Friday

A trip to the zoo during the summer can lead to a pretty sweaty afternoon.

But at the Fort Worth Zoo, they're giving visitors a chance to cool down thanks to one family's generous donation.

Kids are use to watching the animals from afar, but now they can play right along side them, sort of.

Just a short walk from the real things, plastic lions, giraffes and elephants spray water giving kids 12 and under a way too cool off when the dog days of summer roll in.

"It's nice to have a spot within the zoo, for people to come and the kids to play, the mothers to rest," said Zoo Board Chairman Ramona Bass. "And it's wet and it's cool and I actually wish I could be in there right now because it's awfully humid."

Typically as the temperature goes up, Bass says the zoo's popularity goes down.

"Attendance does drop in the summer because of the heat," she said.

But with the new Safari Splash park, the 14,000 square foot play area, with 300 gallons of cool water being cycled through every half-hour, 136 lounge chairs, eight spill buckets, four water slides and plenty of water cannons, the zoo hopes to change that.

"I think it's wonderful in the hot weather," said parent Molly Nelson. "I think it's going to be so fun in the hot summer."

Nelson's daughter was one of the many kids given a chance to break-in the park on Thursday, a day before it officially opens.

It's an experience only made possible by the donation from the Dillard Family of Fort Worth.

"Success unshared is a failure and our family has been very blessed," said Kelly Dillard. "Giving back to the community is what makes our hearts happy. And it's what we were led to do."

The Dillards hope their donations help inspire others to give, especially when it benefits local kids and the zoo.

Safari Splash opens Friday, May 8, and will operate during park hours. It costs $5 to get in on top of your zoo admission. For more info click here.

Zoo leaders say they don't know of any other zoo with a splash park incorporated as an attraction inside a zoo.

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