Texas Nature Traders | Fort Worth Zoo
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Located in Texas Wild! near the wishing well, this building is the home base for many Texas-based education programs, primarily the Zoo’s Texas Nature Traders. This formalized program encourages kids of all ages (including adults still young at heart) 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. 

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.
your item to Texas Nature Traders at the Fort Worth Zoo and share what you know about your item with our staff.
points for your item and for your knowledge about the item.Trade your points for something in our collection or save them for later.

Earn Points

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

  • Kids of all ages (including adults still young at heart) can become a Texas Nature Trader.
  • Children may trade up to four items per 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.

Items for Trading

What We Want: What We Can't Trade:
  • Antlers, horns teeth and claws
  • Items found on Zoo grounds
  • Beach-combed (non-harvested) coral
  • Items from state and national parks
  • Fossils
  • Arrowheads or Native American artifact
  • Snake sheds (found in nature)
  • Intentionally killed vertebrates
  • Casts of animal footprints
  • Dried seahorses
  • Clean shells (except bird bones)
  • Mounted vertebrates
  • Dry sand
  • Purchased items
  • Rocks and minerals
  • Bird materials of any kind (feathers, eggs, nests, etc.)
  • Clean bones
  • Living plants and animals
  • Deceased insects (spiders, butterflies, etc.)
  • Cave materials
  • Nature journals (printed photos, art, stories)
  • Freshwater mussel shells
  • Pinecones, nuts, seeds and seed pods
  • Materials from the family pet (domestic snake shed, etc.)
  • Petrified wood
  • 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. You can download and print copies at home or visit us at the Texas Nature Traders building.

At-Home Quests

Fort Worth Zoo Quests


Frequently Asked Questions

How do I register to become a Texas Nature Trader?
Visit Texas Nature Trader's home base in Texas Wild! to register. Texas Nature Traders opens one hour after the Zoo opens, and closes one hour before the Zoo closes. Click here to see our current operating hours. 
Why do I need an account?

Your account allows us to keep track of your points earned during trades. Your account will be active indefinitely so you do not have to worry about the amount of time between trades.

May I use someone else's account? Are points transferable?

Unless the account holder is with you at the Texas Nature Traders and gives permission, you may not use his or her account. Points cannot be transferred from one account to another.

May I bring in 1,000 pine cones to trade or take out 100 rocks and minerals?

You may only trade two items, or a collection of five similar items, in or out, per visit. We value the quality of your experience and knowledge of the items over quantity of items traded. In addition this will help us to manage our point-based system and the number of items contained within our space.

I found a flamingo feather on the ground outside of the flamingo exhibit. May I trade this item?

Items found within the Zoo or from Zoo animals cannot be traded. In addition, bird materials of any kind (feathers, eggs, nests, etc.) are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 and cannot be traded. However, a photo of and short story about the feather will be acceptable in a trade.

How do you determine points?

Every item has a base point value. Additional points are determined by three criteria: Experience – The more knowledge you have about the item, and its connection to the ecosystem, will increase the amount of points awarded. Uniqueness – How common an item is and how many we already have in the collection. Quality – The overall condition of your item.

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