Jan 04

Great Plains Zoo & Delbridge Museum of Natural History

Red Panda CubsSioux Falls South Dakota should feel very lucky for such a small town they have such a gem in their Great Plains Zoo and Delbridge Musem of Natural History.  Karen and I are zoo fanatics and no matter where we travel if there is a zoo chances are we are stopping.  We have found that outside of national or state parks zoos have probably the biggest bang for our hard earned bucks.  While traveling through South Dakota on our way to Minnesota we spent the night in Sioux Falls to see the local attractions and heard about the Great Plains Zoo so we decided to stop.Delbridge Museum of Natural HistoryKnowing that Sioux Falls is not the biggest city that we have ever traveled to we did not expect a whole lot from this zoo, but were presently surprised at what we found.  The Great Plains Zoo consists of 45 acres that is home to more than 1,000 animals that represent North America, Africa, and Asia.  While they did have all of the big three- elephants, big cats, and large primates their collection was varied and impressive for its size.Asian Cats ExhibitKaren and I were also impressed with several of their exhibits.  While nothing at the zoo wowed us like other zoos that we had been to, the Asian Cats area along with their Rare Rhinos of Africa and the Flamingo Aviary were well put together exhibits that were nicer than some of the “bigger” city zoos we have been to. Other animals of note that can be seen at the Great Plains Zoo were several species of small primates, grizzly as well as black bear, penguins, cheetahs and giraffes.   We also liked the size of several of their exhibits giving plenty of space to their animals and it was great to see areas that they have set aside including an exhibit for Snow Monkeys and expansion area for their African animals of the savannah.Young RhinoFor the kids the Great Plains Zoo has several activities (for a fee) for them to choose from.  There was a very neat farm area called the Hy-Vee Face-to-Face Farm.  There they could feed goats which have a series of platforms to walk on and there is a camel they can ride, and an area they can pan for goodies in a mining sluice.  During the summer months there is a custom-designed carrousel and a train ride.Stuffed LionOne the things that set the Great Plains Zoo apart from other zoos of its size was its very notable Delbridge Museum of Natural History which has a collection of 150 mounted animals.  Their collection of mounted animals was very impressive and included several rare species like pandas and African Elephants.  The Delbridge Museum was well put together and very educational.Lemur HuddleOverall the Great Plains Zoo was a wonderful stop on our way to Minnesota.  While it is not a “must see” destination stop like the Omaha Zoo or the Minneapolis Zoo might be for some people, the Great Plains Zoo had a lot of quality about it.  For a small town zoo Sioux Falls should feel blessed that it is in their hometown.Baby Giraffe and ParentsGreat Plains Zoo
Located at 815 South Kiwanis Ave, Sioux Falls
Hours of Operation: April through September 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and October through March 10: a.m. to 4 p.m.  Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years Day
Cost as of this Posting: Adults 13 to 59 $8.50 Children 2 to 12 $5.50 and Seniors 60 and over $7.75
For more information visit their website at http://www.greatzoo.org/

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