Texas Nature Traders
Located in Texas Wild! near the wishing well, the Zoo’s newest building is the home base for many Texas-based education programs, primarily the Zoo’s latest offering, Texas Nature Traders. This formalized program encourages kids (age 3 and older) to explore the outdoors and bring to the building fossils, rocks, bones, plants and other artifacts in exchange for points. Traders can redeem points (or save them for future use) for items in the Nature Trader inventory. While exploration is encouraged in many areas, the Zoo’s program will concentrate on native Texas nature items. Texas Nature Traders operates seven days a week, opening at 11 a.m. and closing one hour before the Zoo closes. Stop by to look around, ask questions and become a nature trader!
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How It Works:
Find a natural item that interests you or about which you would like to know more.
Learn all you can about your item.
Bring your item to Texas Nature Traders at the Fort Worth Zoo and share what you know about your item with our staff.
Earn points for your item and for your knowledge about the item.
Trade your points for something in our collection or save them for later.
You Can Earn Points For:
Knowledge – Share interesting facts about your item.
Quality – Your item must be clean and in good condition.
Effort – Research and learn as much as you can about your item.
Texas Nature Traders Guidelines
• Children must be at least 3 years old to become a Texas Nature Trader.
• Children may trade up to two items in one visit. One “item” can be a collection of
five or more like items (such as five pine cones, five sticks, etc.).
• Siblings or friends cannot split points – each trade in and out must be done by
What We Want:
• Clean shells
• Clean bones (except bird bones)
• Antlers, teeth and claws
• Snake sheds (found in nature)
• Rocks and minerals
• Beach-combed (non-harvested) coral
• Pinecones, nuts, seeds and seed pods
• Plant materials (leaves, stalks, etc.)
• Deceased insects (spiders, butterflies, etc.)
• Nature journals (printed photos, art, stories)
• Dry sand
• Casts of animal footprints
• Petrified wood
What We Can’t Trade
• Items from state and national parks
• Arrowheads or Native American artifacts
• Intentionally killed vertebrates
• Dried seahorses
• Mounted vertebrates
• Purchased items
• Items found on Zoo grounds
• Bird materials of any kind (feathers, eggs, nests, etc.)
• Living plants and animals
• Cave materials
• Freshwater mussel shells
• Materials from the family pet (domestic snake shed, etc.)
• Roadkill or similarly “gross” items (No dead animals. Insects are OK.)
Texas Nature Traders now offers more ways to earn points! Quests can be completed at home, at the Zoo and inside the Texas Nature Traders building. Click on the links below to view the available Quests. Download and print copies at home before visiting the Texas Nature Traders building.
Question of the Week
Check out the Fort Worth Zoo’s Twitter feed every Monday at 11 a.m. for the Texas Nature Traders Question of the Week (#TNTQW). You must answer the question correctly in person at Texas Nature Traders in order to receive five points.
Nature Educators in Training (N.E.T.) Program
The Nature Educators in Training (N.E.T.) program provides local teens ages 15 and older the opportunity to assist Fort Worth Zoo education staff with its newest program, Texas Nature Traders. N.E.T. program participants will gain hands-on experience teaching kids environmental science. This program places a special focus on the physical, chemical and biological conditions of the environment and its effect on organisms, as well as man’s role in the environment. Click here for application information.
For more information, contact the Education Department:
Fort Worth Zoo
1989 Colonial Parkway
Fort Worth, TX 76110