The Zoos of Kansas wildlife at Kansas Zoos
Many people are surprised to learn that Kansas has 13 named zoos, as well as other animal parks. Kansas zoos range from small operations like the Cedar Cove Feline Conservatory & Sanctuary in Louisburg to one of the country's largest - the Sedgwick County Zoo in Wichita, Kansas.
Caney, Kansas - The Safari Zoological Park is a private zoo, just east of Caney, Kansas, near the Oklahoma state line. Their hours can be a bit irregular and the zoo may not open during poor weather, so be sure to call and confirm before visiting.

The small zoo has primates, large cats of several species, bears, wolves, foxes, and tropical birds. A guide takes you though the park on a one hour tour. 

Safari Zoological Park, Caney Kansas
Clay Center, Kansas - The tiny Clay Center Zoo is free and open 9 AM - 8 PM, 7 days a week. The Clay Center Zoo is run by the Clay Center Utility Company. It is part of a park across from the power plant. Some of the cages are very small and barren. Utility Park Zoo - Clay Center, Kansas
Dodge City, Kansas - Wright Park Zoo in Dodge City is one of the smallest zoos in Kansas. Portions of the zoo are old, but there is more room and better facilities for the animals than many WPA zoos. Wright Park Zoo - Dodge City, Kansas
Emporia, Kansas -  The David Traylor Zoo is a small zoo, but far from the smallest in Kansas. The larger animals are in a separate area behind the zoo, and across the street. They can be seen from your automobile and seen when the zoo is closed. 

This free zoo is open 10 AM - 4:30 PM, 7 days a week, and stays open until 8 PM Sundays & Wednesdays from Mother's Day through the first Sunday in October.

Emporia Zoo - Emporia, Kansas
Fort Scott, Kansas -  Fort Scott's 132 acre Gunn Park has been a popular place for picnics, fishing, paddle boats and RV parking for generations. At the entrance to the park there a small display of mostly domestic fowl. There are peacocks, quail, several varieties of golden pheasant, wood ducks, turkeys, chickens and rabbits. 

Free - open any time

1010 Park Avenue, Fort Scott, Kansas 66701 (620) 223-0550.

Gunn Park - Fort Scott
Garden City, Kansas - With 300 animals of 100 species, the Lee Richardson Zoo is larger than most zoos in Kansas. The layout is not very easy to follow and many of the animals are hard to see. 

Admission is free if you walk in, but there is a charge of $10/car if you drive in. The zoo is open 8 AM - 4:30 PM during standard time and 8 AM - 6:30 PM during daylight savings time. The Lee Richardson Zoo is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day.

Lee Richardson Zoo, 312 Finnup Drive, Garden City, Kansas 67846 (620) 276-1250

Lee Richardson Zoo -  Garden City, Kansas
Garden Plain, Kansas - Eagle Valley Raptor Center was started in 2003 to promote conservation of birds of prey through public education, and provide shelter and care to injured & orphaned raptors. The Center and living quarters occupy 10 acres and there are an additional 10 acres of tall grass prairie with a nature trail & small wetlands area.

Admission to the center is by appointment for individuals or groups. A $5 donation is suggested and includes a guided, personalized tour.

bald eagle at Eagle Valley Raptor Center in Garden Plain, Kansas
Goddard, Kansas - The Tanganyika Wildlife Park opened to the public as a zoo, in June of 2008. Tanganyika is a non-profit breeding facility for rare and endangered species. Species represented in the park include giraffes, tigers, snow leopards, and zebras.

Tanganyika Wildlife Park distinguishes itself from other Kansas zoos by emphasizing interaction between visitors and the animals, There are many opportunities to feed or pet wildlife as diverse as lemurs, camels, birds and snakes.

Closed for the winter, open April through October.
 

Tanganyika Wildlife Park
Great Bend, Kansas - The Brit Spaugh Zoo has two parts. The main part appears to be much older and includes many small, out of date cages. The second part is north of the main area about 60 yards away. The North American Exhibit has larger pens and most of the zoo's larger animals. Much of this portion of the zoo can be viewed from the outside even when the zoo is closed. Several new exhibits are under construction,

The Brit Spaugh Zoo is free, and the zoo is open 9 AM to 4:30 PM daily.

White tiger at Brit Spaugh Zoo in Great Bend, Kansas
Hutchinson, Kansas - The Hutchinson Zoo has only about 160 animals and doesn't take very long to visit. It says a lot about the pride of the community, that Hutchinson maintains this zoo, when the spectacular Sedgwick County Zoo is only 40 miles away. The Hutchinson Zoo is currently expanding.

Open limited hours, seven days a week. Free Admission - at least until the expansion is complete..

Hutchinson Zoo, 1500 S Plum Street, Hutchinson, KS - (620) 694-2693

Hutchinson Zoo - Hutchinson, Kansas
Independence, Kansas - The Ralph Mitchell Zoo is one of Kansas' oldest zoos. Older features include a monkey island built as a 1930's WPA project, and "Kiddy Land." Although the surrounding Riverside Park seems to be doing well the Ralph Mitchell Zoo has declined from its best times. 

Open 7 days a week. Free.

Ralph Mitchell Zoo, Riverside Park Independence, Kansas 67301 - (620) 332-2513

Ralph Mitchell Zoo - Independence, Kansas
Lawrence, Kansas - The Prairie Park Nature Center displays more species than several of the attractions that call themselves zoos. The display hall has a surprising large selection of plants, birds, insects, reptiles, amphibians, fish and small mammals.

The live species on display are supplemented by dioramas with stuffed animals, and also by wild birds and mammals which come up to the nature center's windows.

Open Tuesday - Saturday: 9-5   Sunday: 1-4.  Free.

Parry Park Nature Center, 2730 SW Harper, Lawrence, Kansas 66046  (785) 832-7980

Prairie Park Nature Center - Lawrence, Kansas
Louisburg, Kansas - Cedar Cove Feline Conservatory & Sanctuary isn't a park, but a preserve for tigers and a refuge for big cats of other species which are abandoned, neglected or whose owners are unable to care for them. Cedar Cove is open to the public on Weekends only. Each visitor or group of visitors have a personally guided tour.

Admission is $5 for age 4 and older.

Cave Cove Feline Conservatroy and Sanctuary
Manhattan, Kansas - The Sunset Zoo is one of the most popular zoos in Kansas. Most displays are modern & roomy, and the animals all appear healthy. This zoo is fun. 

The Sunset Zoo is open 9:30 AM - 5:00 PM from April through October, and Noon - 5:00 PM the balance of the year. Admission is $4.

Sunset Zoo - Manhattan, Kansas
Manhattan, Kansas - The Insect Zoo at Kansas State University includes displays of preserved, live and fossil insects. Several of the displays are hands on, including the use of microscopes to view preserved insects, and a creative kitchen display where each cupboard or drawer had examples and details about the creatures that may be found there. 

Before visiting the K-State Insect zoo, I never realized that there are scorpions in Kansas.

Open limited hours Monday through Saturday. Admission to the Bug Zoo is $2, $1.50 for seniors. 

Insect Zoo - Kansas State University
Nickerson, Kansas - The Hedrick's Exotic Animal Farm Bed and Breakfast in Nickerson is open for both overnight guests and tours.

Tours include seeing 30 varieties of exotic animals and feeding and/or petting cattle, camels, ostriches, rheas, zebras, antelope, kangaroos, and giant tortoises. The tour concludes with a pony ride (for those under 85 pounds) and camel rides for all.

Open year around, with tours by appointment only.

The Hedrick's Exotic Animal Farm Bed and Breakfast
Overland Park, Kansas - The 12 acre Deanna Rose Children's Farmstead has farm animals, birds of prey, gardens, nature trail, a one room country schoolhouse, fishing pond, Kanza Indian encampment, horse drawn wagon rides, and pony rides. This petting zoo has become more of an agricultural theme park. 

Open 7 days a week April - October. Admission is free.

Deanna Rose Children's Farmstead - Overland Park, Kansas
Pittsburg, Kansas - Nature Reach is an outreach program of Pittsburg State University's Biology Department. Nature Reach offers interactive small group programs both on the Pittsburg State campus and in schools. The campus location has a collection of wild animals which exceeds the size of most nature centers.

Nature Reach also has a Natural History Reserve which is located several miles southwest of Pittsburg. There are 79 acres of partially reclaimed mine land and the Natural History Reserve Laboratory & Raptor Care Facility with its owls, hawks, vulture and crow. 

Nature Reach - Pittsburg State University
Pratt, Kansas - The Pratt Education Center, Aquariums and Fish Hatchery are operated by the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks. Displays, dioramas, and exhibits display both living and preserved native birds, fish, mammals, and reptiles of Kansas.

The Aquarium Room contains twelve 400-600 gallon aquariums displaying fish species that are native to Kansas or that have been successfully introduced into Kansas. Other rooms include live snakes and prairie dogs.

Open Monday - Friday. Free.

Aquariums at Pratt Education Center
Salina, Kansas - The Zoo at Rolling Hills Wildlife Adventure is on 60 acres, adjacent to the Rolling Hills Ranch and the Museum. The animals are in spacious enclosures and appear to be in excellent health. If you visit on 2 or 3 zoos in Kansas, Rolling Hills should be one of them. 

Admission is $12.50 for adults. Closed Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year's Day.

Rolling Hills Zoo - Salina, Kansas
Salina, Kansas - The largest free standing aquarium in Kansas is the Kansas Fishes Exhibit at the Central Mall in Salina. The 15,000 gallon aquarium is home to 50 - 100 turtles and native fish, including channel catfish, blue gill, crappie, wipers, largemouth bass, white bass, and walleye.

Free - open during regular mall hours. The fish are fed daily at 4 PM. 

Central Mall, 2259 South 9th Street, Salina, Kansas 67401 (785) 825-7733

Kansas Fishes Aquarium - Salina, Kansas
Topeka, Kansas - The best known feature of the Topeka Zoo is the tropical rain forest which was impressive when it was built over 30 years ago. The zoo is well laid out, and the animals are in large attractive enclosures. 

Recent additions to the Topeka Zoo include the Jungle Cats exhibits for Sumatran tigers and Black leopards which opened in 2005 and the Grant's zebra exhibit in 2006.

Topeka Zoo - Topeka, Kansas
Wichita, Kansas - The small Kansas Wildlife Exhibit in Wichita's Central Riverside Park opened in 1988, but there has been a zoo here in one form or another since 1901. There are 8 cages with over 20 species of birds and turtles, mostly birds of prey that are also used in education programs. The cages are old and fairly heavy, making it hard to see and photograph the wildlife. There is a lovely adjacent pond. 

Admission is free and it is open from dawn to dusk.

Kansas Wildlife Exhibit, Central Riverside Park, Wichita, Kansas - (316) 683-5499.

Kansas Wildlife Exhibit - Wichita, Kansas
Wichita, Kansas - The Sedgwick County Zoo is the largest zoo in Kansas and one of the largest zoos in the United States. One of Kansas' largest attractions, the zoo is home to more than 2,500 animals of nearly 500 different species. One of the most impressive features is the Downing Gorilla Forest, and they just opened a new penguin house in 2007. 

Adults admission is $12. The Sedgwick County Zoo is open 364 days a year.

Sedgewick County Zoo - WIchita, Kansas
Kansas zoos and refuges still to be reviewed: Operation Wildlife (Linwood). Please let me know if there are other animal parks or zoos that I have missed or if you hear of changes at the zoos or parks already visited..

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copyright 2005-2012 by Keith Stokes