Sep 18

Kansas City Zoo: 200 Acres of Animal Goodness

Polar Bear LeapThe Kansas City Zoo is a very large zoo located in Swope Park in Kansas City.  One of the largest zoos in the United States at 202 acres and houses over 1300 animals.  Make sure you bring comfortable shoes because you will be in for a long walk when you visit this zoo.  The Kansas City Zoological Park was opened in 1909 and does show its age with out-dated exhibits in their Asian area with bar and cement enclosures for its tiger, red panda, and other animals from the continent of Asia.  The good news is that the Kansas City Zoo now has a 20 year plan to make major improvements some of which have already been initiated like an endangered species carousel as well as the KidZone, a discovery barn, a tropics house, and a state-of-the-art polar bear exhibit.  The zoo also has plans for a new Asian exhibit with brand new homes for the creatures stuck in and behind those small enclosures as well as penguins.
New Exhibits The do not miss multi species exhibit of the Kansas City Zoo is their African habitat which was opened in 1995.  Their African exhibit is broken up into five different regions and houses many animals like African elephants, cheetahs, lions, and a variety of African bird species, hippos, black rhinos, and chimpanzees.  It is a very large open area where you can see the animals from foot, a sky ride, or by boat.  It does a wonderful job trying to make you feel like you are on safari.  It is a long walk to get from the admission gate to the African area so Karen and I recommend that you stop by the polar bear exhibit and then head straight to Africa, or you can also save yourself the walk and take the tram.

Another exhibit that is worth your time is their Australian habitat which is home to a herd of free-roaming kangaroos.  The first time that Karen and I went to this zoo she was shocked to see the kangaroos just grazing in an open field.  This area is also home to a walk-through aviary which has many colorful birds from that part of the world.  It also takes the visitor to a replica of an Australian sheep farm with a hands-on sheep pen and several reptiles from the Outback.  Australia also features camels because thou they are not native to Australia they were imported there during the 19th century to aid in transport and construction.  Today experts estimate the Australian feral camel population to be over one million.
Free-Range KangarooThe Kansas City Zoo does have an extensive KidZone featuring a carousel, several different farm animals for the young and young at heart to feed including fallow deer, which I think Karen would have taken home with us if she could.  There is also a Discovery Barn which houses a variety of creatures that children love.  Upon entering prepare yourself for the cacophony of shreeks of delight coming from the children and squirrel monkeys that are there.  It can get very loud inside the Discovery Barn.  The KidZone also has a snack bar, a snake house and the outdoor stage for the Wild Wonders Animal Show.
Feeding the Deer

The newest and best single exhibit at the Kansas City Zoo is their Polar Bear Plunge which features a 140,000 gallon pool for the polar bear to play in.  There are also several indoor and outdoor viewing areas to see the magnificent Nikita, the only polar bear the Kansas City Zoo has at the moment, but according to their information they could house up to two more polar bears in their current enclosure.  Adjacent to Polar Bear Plunge is a new river otter exhibit and according to our sources they are also going to put a penguin area near the polar bears sometime in the near future.
Polar Bear

As with all zoos, we recommend that you be there the moment the gates open in the morning.  This has been our best chance to get photographs, miss the crowds and see the animals awake and active.  The Kansas City Zoo is not the best zoo that Karen and I have ever been to, but it is nice to see them moving the in the right direction when it comes to adding new exciting exhibits for their animals.  We are looking forward to seeing their new enclosures for their tigers and other Asian animals as well as their future penguin exhibit.
Sea Lion

Kansas City Zoo
Located at 6800 Zoo Dr. Swope Park Kansas City, Missouri
Hours of Operation- 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. during the week and weekends from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Cost as of 2011- $11.50 for Adults, $10.50 for seniors and children 3-11 are $8.50
For more information visit their website at http://www.kansascityzoo.org/

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  1. freda phillips

    How did you get that bear to jump just at the right time??

    1. Kenny and Karen

      patience 🙂

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