Visit the Fort Worth Zoo’s national award-winning Museum of Living Art!
The Fort Worth Zoo’s, Museum of Living Art (MOLA), a premier, award-winning herpetarium, brings guests eye-to-eye with some of the most exotic and endangered species on the planet. Each facet of MOLA is a piece of art — from the life-like, hand-painted murals on the exhibit walls to the 5,000 reptiles, amphibians, and more that are living, breathing
works of art.
The 30,000-square-foot indoor/outdoor facility houses more than 250 amphibian and reptile species, representing more than 5,700 animals. Upon entering MOLA, guests see North America’s largest saltwater crocodile, measuring more than 15 feet long, in its “oceanfront” exhibit. Other crowd-pleasers include the Zoo’s 15.5-foot Burmese python, Fly River turtles, yellow-spotted climbing toads, and a king cobra, all housed in bright, natural habitats with one-of-a-kind mural and rock work in each exhibit. The Zoo’s Komodo dragons reside in indoor and outdoor exhibits, complete with a dirt bank ideal for digging holes and laying eggs, and a pool that’s perfect for basking in the sun.
Open encounter areas encourage discussion and education and allow guests to come face-to-face with exotic reptiles such as the Fiji Island iguana or the Puerto Rican crested toad. Complete with educational programming and correlating activities such as backpack tours and keeper chats, MOLA also shares messages of environmental stewardship with guests, students, and teachers throughout the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex.
Museum of Living Art (MOLA) Exhibit Areas
Upon entering the Museum of Living Art, guests are greeted by the striking gharial exhibit. Overflowing with dynamic creatures, the thriving backdrop includes beautiful sand and trickling streams. Inhabiting this space are true testaments to conservation, gharial crocodiles, which are one of the most endangered species on Earth and some of nature’s most unique specimens due to their elongated snouts. The sandy beaches are perfect for basking and egg-laying, and deep blue crystal waters filled with turtles and fish.
This “oceanfront” exhibit houses an exciting new edition to the Zoo collection, an enormous saltwater crocodile. The fluid movements and dynamic appearance of the croc is the first thing guests will see as they enter the Museum of Living Art. Guests can also view this magnificent creature from the food court. This giant reptile will surely be a crowd-pleaser!
Aldabra tortoises — back by popular demand! Nature is the artist for this outdoor exhibit yard, housing the second-largest land turtle in the world. Known for their longevity, these high-domed shelled creatures can easily live to be 100 years old but are still threatened with extinction. Averaging in at a hefty 350 pounds, these tortoises certainly enjoy their 4,500-square-foot exhibit space.
Guests encounter some of the most beautiful creatures on Earth — Burmese pythons, green tree pythons, yellow-spotted climbing toads, and even legless lizards — housed in bright, natural habitats. These intriguing figures represent some of the rarest amphibians and reptiles from the world’s tropical climates. A new acquisition— a king cobra— also calls this area home. The Utila Island iguanas are also a rare sight, as the Fort Worth Zoo will be one of only two zoos in the nation to house them.
Crawling with all kinds of interesting critters, the insectarium region of MOLA presents a not-too-creepy look at the exciting lives of the world’s most fascinating insects, from orchid mantis to assassin bugs. Arranged in its own private alcove, this unique exhibit immerses everyone into the remarkable world of insects. Clear boxes projecting from the walls encourage guests to observe these amazing creatures in action, from a number of intriguing levels and angles.
Guests enjoy an immersion experience like no other as they journey through the brightly lit flooded forest region of MOLA. Here, they encounter the very rare West African dwarf crocodiles, separated only by floor-to-ceiling glass. To the left, Pacu and other large fish will dart flamboyantly through the water while orange and green Caiman lizards soak in the sun.
Lions, and tigers and giant salamanders – oh my! Guests come face-to-face with the largest aquatic amphibian on Earth, which can weigh up to 100 pounds! Eye-level with a child, the salamander tank juts into the discovery room and doubles as a counter for keeper interaction. The Zoo’s experts share wildlife and conservation with guests daily during Q&A time and the importance of breeding endangered species.
Lemurs, Birds & More
Vibrant plant life and colorful animals reside in MOLA’s lushly landscaped outdoor experience, representing the “and more” section of the facility. Colorful flora surrounds the macaws, ring-tailed lemurs, and ornamental waterfowl that inhabit this area. The facility’s natural marsh water filtration system also “lives” here. With waterfalls and pools spread out over the complex, brilliant streams keep the impressive water cycle in motion.
Guests cool off with creatures from high elevation habitats in MOLA’s Montane Gallery. They encounter the magnificent Boelen’s python, back-lit and shining iridescently in its naturalistic habitat. Unique species such as palm vipers and Thai bamboo racers aesthetically transform this region of MOLA into their native mountainous regions. The Montane Gallery also introduces several new species to the Zoo, including Chiricahua leopard frogs, Kweichow crocodile newts, and Armenian vipers.
Voyaging along the water’s edge, guests will witness the rarest of the rare— Asian turtles showcased under points of light. This exhibit houses critically endangered species such as Chinese three-striped box turtles, spotted pond turtles, Annam leaf turtles, and Sailfin dragons, all of which the Zoo breeds to form assurance colonies (collections maintained as a hedge against extinction).
North Americans and other arid species inhabit this hallway. With specialized coping and adaptation skills, these unique species are displayed with state-of-the-art exhibitry. This temperature-controlled region of MOLA includes some of the world’s most unique species, including Louisiana pine snakes, Eastern diamondback rattlesnakes, and Eastern indigo snakes. Also featured in this exhibit is one of the Zoo’s premier conservation species, the Puerto Rican crested toad.
A kingdom of gargantuan proportions, this exhibit includes both indoor and outdoor viewing of the Zoo’s Komodo dragons. An exceptional breeding environment has been created for the lizards through the use of a dirt bank, ideal for digging and laying eggs. A pool completes the exhibit so that the lizards can either bask in the sunlight or enjoy the trickling stream. Heated areas will extend the animals’ stay outdoors, creating a longer season for these heat-loving creatures from Indonesia.
Nature provides the learning curriculum at the Zoo. The outdoor classroom section of MOLA provides the educational opportunity of a lifetime. Situated in the facility’s open-air classroom, students, both young and old, learn about wildlife and conservation with all five senses for a truly captivating experience. Utilizing all learning styles— visual, auditory, and tactile— Texas state-certified Zoo teachers lead students as they encounter one educational journey after another.