September 29 - August 1, 2000: A Trip to Austin, Texas
August 5, 2000: Fred's Birthday Party
Return to the Index for 2000

August 18-21, 2000
Rudolf Lowenstein Visits Dallas


This is the year for a biennial visit from our friend Rudolf, who is a Catholic priest and schoolteacher in London. He and Fred ran into each other online years ago when Fred put up a web page about his cats, an animal that Rudolf is very fond of. We got to know him online, and then he came to visit us when he made one of his trips to the United States for vacation. (Interesting Note: Rudolf's father is the business manager for The Rolling Stones.)

On Rudolf's visit this year, we hosted him between his stop in California to see his father and Wisconsin to see friends he has there, and we planned to take him to Fort Worth to see some of the attractions there. We took him to three places in Fort Worth: the Fort Worth Zoo, the Fort Worth Botanic Garden and the Water Garden in downtown Fort Worth.

The map below will show you the day trip that we made:


A Visit to the Fort Worth Zoo

We headed over to Fort Worth, following a route Fred and I have driven multiple times, and headed to an area southwest of downtown where the Zoo, the Arboretum, the Stockyards and many of Fort Worth's museums are located.

The oldest zoo in Texas, the Fort Worth Zoo was founded in 1909 with one lion, two bear cubs, an alligator, a coyote, a peacock and a few rabbits. From these humble beginnings, the Zoo has grown into a nationally ranked facility, housing nearly 7,000 native and exotic animals.

From 1909 to October 1991, the Fort Worth Zoo was owned as well as operated by the City of Fort Worth. During the city’s tenure, a long-standing tradition began of collecting money from the community to purchase animals for the Zoo. In 1939, the Zoological Society (now the Fort Worth Zoological Association) was formed as a non-profit organization to help raise additional funds to purchase even more animals.

In October 1991— with the Zoo facing decreasing city support, demands to replace outdated animal housing and declines in attendance— the Association assumed management of the Zoo’s day-to-day operations under a contract with the City of Fort Worth. Since 1991, the Association has raised more than $20 million from private entities, foundations and corporations for Zoo improvements and new exhibits. In 1992, the Zoo hosted a grand reopening, unveiling two new exhibits— World of Primates and Asian Falls— and numerous improvements throughout the Zoo. Within the first year, Zoo attendance soared to approximately one million visitors in a fiscal year— almost double the previous year— and has maintained ever since.

Since 1992, the Zoo has opened 16 permanent exhibits and support facilities, virtually creating a new zoo. Ten years of improvements and Association management was celebrated with the addition of Texas Wild! in 2001, which houses seven distinct exhibits within an 8-acre complex. The following new features have been opened since the Association assumed management of the Zoo:

•1992: World of Primates, Asian Falls
•1993: Raptor Canyon, Asian Rhino Ridge, Gloria Lupton Tennison Education Center, Portraits of the Wild Art Gallery
•1994: Chee·tos Cheetahs
•1995: Flamingo Bay, FUJIFILM Komodo Dragons, Terminix Insect City
•1997: Meerkat Mounds
•1998: Burnet Animal Health and Science Center
•1999: Thundering Plains (now closed)

Just in case you are interested, the Zoo continued development of new attractions in the years after our visit, including:

•2001: Texas Wild!
•2004: Parrot Paradise
•2005: Great Barrier Reef
•2008: Penguins
•2010: Museum of Living Art (MOLA)

At the Entrance to the Fort Worth Zoo

In addition to these new exhibits, substantial improvements have been made to Zoo facilities, including handicap accessibility as defined by ADA standards, as well as improvements to restrooms, shade structures, walkways, food outlets, picnic areas, animal areas and exhibit space.

Click on the thumbnails below to see some of the pictures that we took while we wandered around the Zoo:

Public reaction to the Zoo’s renaissance has been tremendous, making the Fort Worth Zoo one of the most popular attractions in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. The Zoo has been ranked the no. 5 zoo in the nation by USA Travel Guide, a top zoo by Family Life magazine, the Los Angeles Times and USA Today, one of the top zoo’s in the South by Southern Living Reader’s Choice Awards, and named the number one attraction in the Dallas/ Fort Worth Metroplex by Zagat Survey U.S. Family Travel Guide. We certainly enjoyed showing Rudolf the Zoo today, and you can click on the thumbnails below to see some more of the pictures we took:


At the Fort Worth Botanic Garden

The Fort Worth Botanic Garden occupies an area north of Interstate 30, just north of the Zoo. In 2000, the garden was a good deal smaller than it is now, and located just north of the expressway. Now, the garden has acquired a large tract north of its original location, and now occupies all the area between I-30 and Fort Worth's Will Rogers Center- the location where we have gone to a rodeo and to listen to Frank and Joe perform.

The Fort Worth Botanic Garden (109 acres) is a botanical garden located at 3220 Botanic Garden Boulevard, Fort Worth, Texas. The garden was established in 1934 and describes itself as the oldest botanic garden in Texas, with 2,501 species of native and exotic plants in its 21 specialty gardens. It is open daily. An admission fee is charged for the Conservatory and Japanese Garden; the other gardens are free.

We didn't have a great deal of time to wander through the gardens, but we did spend an hour here, and took just one picture. In it, we were standing on a balcony overlooking a stretch of geometric gardens down to a pool in the distance. The area the picture covers is outlined in yellow on the aerial view of the Botanic Garden. If you will click anywhere in that area, I'll show you the picture.

Our last stop would be in downtown Fort Worth, so that's where we headed next.


At the Fort Worth Water Gardens

The Water Gardens is one of Fort Worth two major downtown attractions, the other being the Fort Worth Stockyards. Fred and I have been to them before- and I had visited them in the late 1970s on a trip to Fort Worth for Cullinane Corporation.

The Fort Worth Water Gardens, built in 1974, is located on the south end of downtown Fort Worth between Houston and Commerce Streets next to the Fort Worth Convention Center. The 4.3 acre Water Gardens were designed by noted New York architects Philip Johnson and John Burgee and were dedicated to the City of Fort Worth by the Amon G. Carter Foundation.

The urban park is frequently billed as a "cooling oasis in the concrete jungle" of downtown. Its focal points are three pools of water and a terraced knoll, which helps to shield the park from adjacent Interstate 30. The quiet meditation pool is encircled with trees and features a flat, still plane of water that cascades almost 90 degrees down to a sunken walkway. The aerating pool features multiple spray fountains. The main attraction of the Water Gardens is the active pool which has water cascading 38 feet down terraces and steps into a small pool at the bottom. The park also contains over 500 species of plants and trees.

The active pool was originally built for people to be able to walk down the terraced steps and experience the water tumbling around them, and we made that walk this afternoon. (It was temporarily closed to the public after one adult and three children died there in 2004, in circumstances never clearly understood. The water had been unusually deep due to a recirculating pump malfunction and heavy rains. The park was reopened in 2007 after the depth of the main pool from 9 ft to 2.)

Part of the film Logan's Run was filmed in the active pool at the Water Gardens in July 1975. The pool is also featured briefly at the end of the 1979 TV adaptation of The Lathe of Heaven.

Here are the two pictures that we took when we visited the gardens with Rudolf this afternoon:

This outing to Fort Worth was the only time we took pictures during Rudolf's 3-day visit, which, I must say, we enjoyed very much.

You can use the links below to continue to another photo album page.

September 29 - August 1, 2000: A Trip to Austin, Texas
August 5, 2000: Fred's Birthday Party
Return to the Index for 2000