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!
tnt member login

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
one individual.

What We Want:

• Clean shells
• Clean bones (except bird bones)
• Antlers, teeth and claws
• Snake sheds (found in nature)
• Rocks and minerals
• Fossils
• 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.

At-Home Quests
Backyard Field Guide Quest
Insect and Arachnid Quest
Nature Center Quest
Sound Map Quest
Take a Hike Quest
Volunteer Your Time

Fort Worth Zoo Quests
Acrostic Poem Quest
Bird Beak Quest
MOLA Scavenger Hunt
Texas Wild! Scavenger Hunt

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

Want to learn more about zoology, ecology and the natural sciences? The Fort Worth Zoo’s Nature Educators in Training (N.E.T.) program provides local high school students the opportunity to learn more about environmental sciences and prepare for their fields of study, as well as earn class credit. Over the course of 10 weeks, students will take 10 two-hour classes and participate in 20 hours of homework, 10 hours of field trips and 10 hours of volunteer work, totaling the state-required 60 hours for class credit.  Classes will take place at the Zoo and are offered five days a week, year-round. (Students who wish to only audit the classes will receive a certificate for 20 hours.)

To apply for the program, please email your completed application to jconnor@fortworthzoo.org. After an interview, you will be provided a link to register. The fee to participate in N.E.T. is $75.

Questions? Please email jconnor@fortworthzoo.org.


For more information, contact the Education Department:

Fort Worth Zoo
1989 Colonial Parkway
Fort Worth, TX 76110
phone: 817-759-7200
fax: 817-759-7201
email: txnaturetraders@fortworthzoo.org

2014 © Fort Worth Zoo                                                                                                                                                          1989 Colonial Parkway • Fort Worth, TX 76110