We have two zoos in the area - the Dallas Zoo and the Fort Worth Zoo - but we almost always go to the Dallas one because we can take the train (a train ride for the girls!) and it's closer. It's generally cheaper, too, but maybe that's because we only go to the Zoo when it's discounted admission (re: the recent Penguin Days - $5 a pop for everyone 3 and older. Can't beat that!!)
Anyway, the Dallas Zoo has improved SO much these past few years. The girls LOVE the African Safari area, and we're all looking forward to the new Koala exhibit opening. That should be really cool. The Squid and the Monkey both have their own Safari Passports now, so they get a new stamp every time we check in to Base Camp. The Squid loves hers, but the Monkey just wants to color and rip the pages out of hers.... just like a 2-year-old. We'd be golden if I could remember to bring either one to the Zoo. A volunteer took pity on me last time and gave the girls new passports with extra stamps because I said I'd left mine at home. Some of the volunteers are real sticklers about the "only one stamp per visit" rule, but if you go when there are a lot of people at the desk, you can generally get another stamp. It helps to ask nicely!
Going to the Zoo with a two-year-old and a 4.5 year old is definitely an experience that I'm not sure I would recommend to those with a faint heart. We took the double stroller mainly for the Monkey, but she absolutely refused to be strapped into or even sit on the edge of the stroller. She used it as a ladder to see the animals, but not for traveling. She wanted to walk - actually "strut" with her hips swishing from side to side. That girl has attitude and style, and yes, both the husband and I realize that we are so in for it when they become teens.
The Squid, on the other hand, walked for a bit, but then rode in the stroller between EVERY single exhibit - even if it was all of 100 feet away. I think she was afraid we'd leave her with the monkeys or something. The thought did cross my mind once or twice.... just kidding.
The weather that day was fabulous, so all the animals were out. We saw the elephants, giraffes, penguins, lions, gorillas (woo hoo! We saw 2 of them playing), chimps, etc. We also saw the sole rhino and a tiger (just barely - he was pacing the edge of his area; seemed to be having a moment). We skipped the bugs, snakes, and reptiles this time. Watching your child have a total meltdown in the middle of a room filled with giant snakes on the other side of a single glass pane is not something I want to experience ever, ever, ever again.
I've about decided that the secret to a successful trip to the zoo - or any other place with kids - is to take food. Lots and lots and lots of food - and don't forget the gummy bears for dessert!