Elephant Springs is the second phase of A Wilder Vision and opened to the public on April 15, 2021. An expanded habitat for both Asian elephants and greater one-horned rhino, multiple water features including a 400,000-gallon “river” and four waterfalls, merchandise truck and authentic fishing village are all a part of the new Elephant Springs exhibit.
The Asian elephant herd roams among multiple yards (including areas behind-the-scenes) and watering holes. All of the yards are interconnected so that they can be opened up into one large space for elephants to explore.
Greater one-horned rhino explore the neighboring habitats that include soaking pools and waterfalls. Expanded spaces for this vulnerable species will allow the Zoo to continue its breeding and conservation program.
Observe the herd from a themed fishing village; elements like handmade fishing poles, nets, hanging rugs and hand-painted barrels and buoys transport you to the other side of the world.
Interact with the herd by spraying water streams into the 400,000-gallon river. Also hand-painted, these water sprayers can be maneuvered to direct the stream of water in the direction of your choosing.
Complete with educational programming such as keeper chats and training demonstrations, Elephant Springs shares messages of conservation and environmental stewardship.
Lush landscapes and sparkling watering holes – provides a continuously enriching experience for the herd. The multiple varied habitats allow for endless exploring and give the herd members opportunities to mix and mingle in ways that they would in the wild. While they may seem innocuous, these elements contribute to the exemplary care the herd receives here at the Fort Worth Zoo. But there are other features that you don’t see, those behind the scenes, that also elevate the level of care.
Fifteen individual stalls to give the animals their own spaces. The 11 stalls dedicated to elephants are interconnected and can open into one larger space.
A climate-controlled environment includes exhaust fans constantly in motion, keeping the air continuously circulating throughout. There are also heating elements available when necessary.
The barn is equipped with indoor and outdoor training spaces that provide keepers the ability to get close-up views and, in some cases hands-on, examinations of the animals. In this space, keepers will also examine, clean and trim the animals’ feet and nails. Yes, the elephants receive weekly pedicures!
The sand floors provide added comfort for the herd and create an ideal nursery space for calves.
Multiple neighboring yards are accessible should the animals choose to venture outdoors overnight.
The space is equipped with a prep kitchen and food pantry and also includes a second-floor hayloft. In addition to fresh produce, the herd consumes around 900 pounds of hay each day, so it’s necessary to keep an abundance onsite.
The barn includes portable floor scales. Elephants voluntarily do weight checks each week. Keeping current weights on the elephants is another essential health component. Maintaining a healthy weight ensures the animal’s joints, bones and muscles are all functioning properly and any rise or drop in weight may indicate a visit from the Zoo’s veterinary team.
State-of-the-art water filtration system that allows all water features to be purified and reused.
The barn is so much more than a place where the animals sleep. Continuous care and enriching experiences are provided behind the scenes; and this is a space that provides additional comfort to the herd.
In 2022, Elephant Springs received a coveted Thea Award for Outstanding Achievement from the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA). Elephant Springs is one of only 13 international honorees representing excellence, innovation and leadership in the creation of compelling places and experiences. Among the Outstanding Achievement award recipients, the Fort Worth Zoo is the only zoo, the only institution in Texas and one of only six facilities in the United States to be recognized. Last year, with the opening of Elephant Springs, this $32 million, state-of-the-art habitat further solidifies the Zoo’s commitment to Asian elephant conservation and management here at home and abroad.