Kids Appreciation Day

Go on an adventure with your child around the Zoo at the 14th Annual Kids Appreciation Day presented by H-E-B and News Center 23. Kids Appreciation Day coincides with National KidsDay, which is a day set aside each year to celebrate and honor America’s children by spending meaningful time with them.

Every child receives a special passport which takes them on a scavenger hunt around the Zoo where they will visit themed activity stations focusing on health and wellness, safety, animal conservation and enrichment.  Once their passport is fully stamped, they will be eligible to enter a drawing for back-to-school prizes.

In honor of Kids Appreciation Day, the Zoo will also giveaway goodie bags to the first 1,000 children that complete their passports!  The draw-string backpacks will be stuffed with H-E-B Buddy School supplies, such as a box of crayons, safety scissors, glue stick, spiral note book, paper and pencil sharpener, courtesy of H-E-B.

Event is free with regular paid admission or Zoo membership.  Admit one child free with paid adult coupons are available for pick-up at H-E-B Stores in Brownsville and Metro PCS stores in Brownsville.


12:00 p.m. – Passport Office Opens

12:30 p.m. – Book Reading: Ten Little Ladybugs, by Melanie Gerth read by H-E-B volunteer

1:00 p.m. – Zoo Keeper Chat & Enrichment: Russell Aquatic Ecology Center

1:00 p.m. – Book Reading: Diary of a Spider, by Bonnie Worth read by Metro PCS volunteer

1:30 p.m. – Animal Presentation by Students Teaching Students

2:00 p.m. – Zoo Keeper Chat & Enrichment: Russell Aquatic Ecology Center

2:00 p.m. – Animal Presentation by Students Teaching Students

2:30 p.m. – Book Reading: Crickwing, by Janell Cannon read by H-E-B volunteer

2:45 p.m. – Zoo Keeper Chat: Gorillas

3:00 p.m. – Zoo Keeper Chat: Arthropods at South Texas Discovery Center Patio

3:00 p.m. – Zoo Keeper Chat: Caribbean Flamingos

3:15 p.m. – Zoo Keeper Chat: Orinoco Crocodiles

3:30 p.m. – Book Reading: The Grouchy Ladybug, by Eric Carle read by Metro PCS volunteer

4:00 p.m. – Last Opportunity to Drop-off Door Prize Entry Form

4:15 p.m. – Door Prize Raffle


Once your child’s passport is full of stamps, they are eligible to win some great door prizes courtesy of door prize sponsor Rodeo Dental and some of our great community partners.

  • Backpack full of school supplies Liberty Tax Service / Freedom Insurance
  • Bicycle and helmet donated by Jason’s Deli
  • Tickets to Schlitterbahn Beach Waterpark
  • Gift Cards
  • And more!


During Kids Appreciation Day, this year we are focusing on amazing arthropods.  About 84 percent of all known species of animals are members of this phylum. Arthropods are represented in every habitat on Earth and show a great variety of adaptations.  Several types live in aquatic environments, and others reside in terrestrial ones; some groups are even adapted for flight.  Gladys Porter Zoo is home to quite a few arthropods. Some of the activities, crafts and games include:

Termite Fishing – Apes have been known to use tools just like us!  Over 40 years ago, famous chimpanzee researcher, Jane Goodall, first observed chimpanzees using sticks as tools to fish termites out of mounds to eat.  Test your tool-using skills by fishing for termites just like chimpanzees do.

Insect or Arachnid – Did you know spiders are not insects?  In this game, children will learn 5 ways to identify that thing crawling around your home.  Then, test their memory by spinning the wheel and guessing if the body shape you land on is a characteristic of an insect or an arachnid.  Guess correctly and win a prize.

Snack Time by H-E-B – Make yourself a healthy treat to take on your trek throughout the Zoo.  Learn how to make a healthy snack by H-E-B’s own Dietician. 

Scorpions of the World Match-up – Scorpions can be found on every continent except for the frigid Antarctica.  Match the scorpion to the continent to which it makes its home.

Snap a Selfie with H-E-B Buddy – Win unlimited visits to the Gladys Porter Zoo for a year!  Snap a selfie with H-E-B Buddy using the hashtag #KidsAppreciationDay and post to any social media platform to enter.  Five winners will be randomly selected from those who submitted selfies with H-E-B Buddy.  Contest ends at 6:00 p.m. on August 6, 2017.  Winners will be announced on Monday August 7, 2017.

Face Painting & Temporary Tattoos – At this station, kids can get the design of their choice painted or tattooed on their cheek or hand. 

Monster Mural – Kids always enjoy coloring.  Our custom bug themed mural is 7.5 feet wide by 2 feet tall.

How Do You Measure Up? – Japanese spider crabs are one of the world’s largest arthropods. These crustaceans can grow up to 12 feet across!  Kids have the opportunity to get measured next to one of these giants.

Book Giveaway – Visit the Children’s Museum of Brownsville booth in the Special Events Building and your child can get a free children’s book, while supplies last.


Staff from Valley Regional Medical Center (VRMC) Diabetes Team, VRMC Bariatric Coordinator, Brownsville Community Health Center, and Rodeo Dental will be on hand to help with various activities:

Heights & Weights


Vision Screening

Glucose and Pressure Screening

Healthy Snacks

Dental Hygiene

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