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Beautiful weather brings snarled traffic, packed parking lots to Dallas Zoo

Snarling traffic, packed parking lots at Dallas Zoo
Snarling traffic, packed parking lots at Dallas Zoo 02:26

NORTH TEXAS - It was Penguin Day at the Dallas Zoo when the zoo encourages families to visit during the coldest months of the year with discounted admission prices.

"The weather's awesome it's a good day to be out with the kids and not be stuck in the house," said Armando Arias.

The warm sunny weather was enough of a draw for thousands of families. At least 10,000 visitors headed to the Dallas Zoo each day this weekend, snarling traffic and packing parking lots.

"Awful wasted a lot of time we could've been at the zoo already," said Arias.

It took Shannon Deutsch and her family an hour and a half to find a spot. 

"Super frustrating, but then we just found back roads took the scenic route," said Deutsch.    

The Dallas Zoo says they expect big crowds on weekends with great weather and to handle all those additional visitors they open up overflow parking lots, grass lots and even street parking to create more space.  

"Just now we managed to find a parking spot. We went to two different parking, three different parking areas; no spots. Just now we found one," said Arias. 

The Dallas Zoo, the oldest and largest in the state says it has a plan to manage the growth it's seen in recent years. The Zoo is asking the City of Dallas for $30 million in funding as part of the $1.25 billion 2024 city bond package. The project would include the construction of a parking garage with almost 600 parking spots. 

"We appreciate all the work the bond task force and City staff and City council have done as they've gone through this bond allocation process," a Dallas Zoo spokesperson said in a statement. "We know they've had to make hard decisions and we look forward to helping voters understand why this support for the zoo and our parks in general is so critical." 

In the meantime the zoo suggests on busy days, visitors consider using ride-shares or taking DART so they can spend less time in the parking lot and more time inside the zoo.

The Dallas City Council will decide which city projects it will ultimately include in the bond by early March. Voters will get the final say in May at the ballot box. 

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