Kansas City Zoological Park

Kansas City Zoological Park

Infobox zoo
zoo_name = Kansas City Zoological Park
date_opened = birth date and age|1909|12|13
location = flagicon|USA flagicon|Missouri Swope Park
Kansas City, Missouri, USA
area = 202 acres (0.82 km²)
num_animals = 1,300+
members = AZA
website = http://www.kansascityzoo.org/

Kansas City Zoological Park (Kansas City Zoo) is the 10th largest zoo in the United States. It is located in Swope Park at 6800 Zoo Drive Kansas City, Missouri. The zoo has a Friends Of The Zoo program.

The Kansas City Zoo was recently voted one of America's best zoos in 2008. [Kansas City Zoo Press Release, May 28, 2008] The Kansas City Zoo was ranked number one in the nation for “African Animals and Exhibits,” with the authors, Allen W. Nyhuis and Jon Wassner, having this to say: “In it’s ninety-five-acre Africa exhibit, Kansas City represents five nations with one of the most extensive collections of African animals we’ve ever seen.” The Zoo was also ranked among the top 10 in the nation for “Australian Animals and Exhibits” and for “Pachyderms: Elephants, Rhinos, Hippos” In addition, the authors re-quoted famed ape expert Jane Goodall’s compliment that Kansas City has “one of the finest chimpanzee exhibits in North America.” In fact, “America’s Best Zoos 2008” ranks the Kansas City Zoo as the number one zoo in the nation to see both chimpanzees and kangaroos.


Planning for the zoo started in 1907, and its gates opened on December 13, 1909. The zoo evolved slowly during its first 40 years, while it added exhibits such as the Bear Pit in 1912. It gained more momentum when it added Monkey Island (1945), Children's Zoo 'Touchtown' (1948), Sea Lion Pool (1951), African Veldt (1954), Giraffe House (1955), and Flamingos (1957). In 1959, the Friends of the Zoo program began. The zoo added an Otter Pool (1961), Elephant House (1962), Great Ape House (1966), Dairy Barn (1971), Great Catwalk (1972), and Gibbon Islands (1973). In 1991, after voting and financed from a grant, the zoo expanded to the current size of convert|202|acre|km2 adding Australia (1993), International Festival (1994), and Africa (1995). Opening of the Africa section drew in approximately 40,000 visitors in first 2 days. A new building was added for the first IMAX in a zoo, the Sprint IMAX Theater. The improvements resulted in record attendance of 700,000 zoo guests, and 400,000 IMAX visitors, in 1998. The zoo has grown from a small building and 60 acres to a large, convert|202|acre|km2|sing=on zoo with over 1,300 animals. The new Orangutan Primadome opened in 2002 as a part of new management. A 20-year plan plots the zoo's future, including new improvements. The Discovery Barn opened in 2006 along with a short-cut path to Africa. In 2007, an endangered species carousel was added to KidZone. The Zoo closed the Sprint IMAX Theater on September 4, 2007 [Kansas City Zoo Press Release, August 28, 2007] . New admission gates to the zoo were opened in May 2008 featuring new parking and animals.

Zoo Guide

The zoo, which was founded in 1909, is convert|202|acre|km2 and is home to more than 1,300 animals. It is located in Swope Park, the 29th-largest municipal park in the United States. The zoo is divided into 5 areas of the following themes: Africa, Australia, Tiger Trail, KidZone, and The Valley. Common peafowl can be seen wandering throughout most of the park (excluding Africa, which has Helmeted guineafowl instead).

Front Entry Plaza

The admission gates and facilities (such as restrooms, gift shop, and food) are located in the entrance to the Kansas City Zoo. In 2010, polar bears will be re-introduced to the zoo near the existing North American river otter and trumpeter swan pool just inside the World Gate, featuring a massive waterfall. The entry plaza also features an educational center and stops for both the zebra tram and train.


The Africa section is broken up into Botswana, Kenya, Tanzania, the Congolese Rainforest, and Uganda. Several snack bars are located throughout Africa, as well as the Rafiki Restaurant and Equator gift shop in the Nanyuki Market (Kenya). A zebra tram station and boat house are located in the Nanyuki Market. Tanzania features a pier for the boat ride on the other side of Africa.

Botswana's section contains African Elephants in a 4 and a half acre exhibit with a water pool at one end. The elephants do paintings and demos during weekends. The Kansas City Zoo was also chosen out of several zoos for elephant breeding, due to its top-notch enclosure. The elephant walk features an overlook near the flamingoes. A large bridge connects Botswana to the rest of Africa.

Kenya has cheetahs (with a lookout building), warthogs, and a dock with a view of some Lesser Kudu, Rhim Gazelle, Common Eland, waterbuck, and some rare Scimitar-horned oryx that roam across an African plain. There are Southern ground-hornbill, Marabou stork and saddle-billed stork in wetland-themed exhibits on the opposite side. There is a bomas area, with huts to simulate a Kenyan village and some Lappet-faced Vulture, aldabra tortoise, Bateleur Eagle and blue duiker worked into small exhibits. There is a walk-through Scrubland Aviary with several species of birds (such as the Vulturine Guineafowl, Hammerkop, Silvery-cheeked Hornbill and Lilac-breasted Roller), Red Ruffed Lemur and dik-dik.

Tanzania features an African lion exhibit with a lookout building. There are small exhibits that appear carved or surrounded by rock to simulate a natural kopje. These include: serval, bushbaby, rock hyrax, black-footed cat, three species of lovebird, gold-breasted waxbill and bat-eared fox. A log-themed bridge crosses to the black rhino exhibit and a top chimpanzee enclosure. The chimpanzee lookout building allows guest to view a very large area for a troop of 26 chimps to play and explore. This side of the African plains features Masai giraffe, African Crowned Crane, Grant's Zebra, and ostrich. Nearby are some ground birds, the Kori Bustard and secretary bird. There is a small house with Slender-snouted Crocodile, and a hippo pool.

Uganda's section has a small outdoor theatre stage (Ruwenzori Theatre). Spacious enclosures with African Wild Dog and a troop of Guinea baboon sit adjacent to one another.

The Congolese Rainforest is across a swinging bridge from Kenya with Grey-cheeked Mangabey and Collared Mangabey exhibits. There is an African leopard exhibit, which is on both sides of the path connected by an overhead area, that you walk under. There are Lowland Bongo, Red River Hog, and Yellow-backed Duiker exhibits nestled in the dense forest. Two bachelor groups of Western Lowland gorillas can be viewed from a lookout building and from a wooden shelter.


Australia lies in the northernmost part of the zoo; there you can find a large field that is home to free-roaming kangaroos. It features a walk-through Woodland Aviary, which includes black swans, tawny frogmouth, Straw-necked Ibis, Umbrella cockatoo, Sulphur-crested cockatoo, Palm cockatoo and many other bird species. Beside the exit to the aviary is an emu exhibit. A pair of Singing dogs live beyond that, formerly home to dingoes. Also featured are two species of wallaby and a Matschie's Tree-kangaroo house. The last area recreates an Australian sheep farm, featuring a farmers home, a building with various animal hides and preserves, snakes, and a pair of kookabura, and a hands-on sheep pen. The last exhibit in Australia is home to Dromedary Camel. The area has a train station and snack bar with a patio overlooking the kangaroo field.

Tiger Trail

The Tiger Trail was home to many types of animals; and recently, the area was renovated and is now the Tiger Trail, and is themed around Asia. The entire trek is filled with oriental plants, lanterns, statues, and various pictures of animals. The Francois Langur is featured in the first enclosure. The path leads to a tunnel with the endangered Bali Mynah and Red Panda. The langurs and the pandas swap exhibits according to outdoor conditions (Pandas are outside in fall & winter, while in tunnel during spring and summer). The next area is home to a small family of Bornean Orangutan, and their large outdoor "primadome", which became their new home after moving from the outdated Ape House in 2002. The focal point of the Tiger Trail is the critically endangered Sumatran Tiger exhibit, which is home to two male tigers. Other animals on exhibit are the Tufted Deer, Golden Pheasant, Wreathed Hornbill, Demoiselle Crane, and the Binturong. Near the former ape house, Asian waterfowl can be viewed in a wetlands exhibit.


The KidZone area features a large cage for lories and lorikeets, with feedings that guests can participate in. There is a large sea lion pool, which has many shows and is often crowded with viewers. The original 1909 building, which was basically the original zoo is located behind the sea lions, and will reopen in 2008 as a Tropics House (formerly Zooville, a retpile house). There is a lot of farm animals in the KidZone, including pot-bellied pig, llama and alpaca, and many types of chicken. It also features a Bird Show Stage, that includes some animals in its' lineup that aren't in regular exhibits (such as the African fish eagle). Recently, the Red Barn closed and is now reopened as the Discovery Barn. Sheep and pygmy goats are located near the new barn. At Christmas time, there are sometimes reindeer on exhibit. Within KidZone there is a birthday bungalow, Carousel Cafe, a snack bar, an endangered species carousel, and camel rides (which are located near the Discovery Barn).

* Discovery Barn: Scarlet Macaw, squirrel monkey, Prevost's Squirrel, meerkat, and ring-tailed lemur are housed alongside educational and fun features for kids (including slides).
* Tropics House: Saki monkeys, Golden lion tamarin, white-cheeked gibbon, small-clawed otter, capybara, and a variety of birds, including crested screamer and toucan among others in a 13,000 square feet building. Exotic plants species and a vaulted glass roof for natural light will also be included. [ [http://www.kctv5.com/community/16771916/detail.html KCTV5 News] , July 2, 2008]
** "Opens Spring 2009"

The Valley

An aviary row which includes barn owl and red bourbon turkey, as well as a flamingo pond border the outside edge of the valley. The actual inside of The Valley is closed for future renovations that will take place.


* Zebra TramsA zebra-themed tram takes zoo guests along the African elephants and Chilean flamingo, from the World Gate to the African section of the zoo known as "Nanyuki Market" (in Kenya).

* Zoo Train RideA mini train takes visitors around the main area of the zoo with stops at World Gate and Australia. Dromedary camel and Kangaroos can be seem from the ride.

* Lake Nakuru Boat Ride (Memorial Day thru Labor Day) A boat takes visitors for an up-close view of the African savannah animals, such as the Lesser Kudu and Scimitar-horned oryx.


Extensive renovations of the zoo begain in late 2005 [Kansas City Zoo Press Release, August 10, 2007] . The Discovery Barn opened in 2006, formerly the Red Barn. It contains many exhibits, and slides for children. Outside, there is a Peek-a-Boo Tree, that is fun for children to play in and get a sky-high view at the top of the tree, and like the Discovery Barn, it also contains a slide. The Promenade was also added in 2006, which is a wide path straight to the African elephants exhibit. The Promenade makes getting to Africa much faster. A large polar bear exhibit, including a massive waterfall, this is planned for 2009. Originally, the polar bear exhibit was planned for the Valley area, which previously housed the Red pandas, maned wolf, and other animals, which was closed around 2005. Zoo management decided against this location because there are approximately 140 acres of land that drain into that area and the cost to have a safe polar bear exhibit was too prohibitive. The polar bear exhibit is now planned to be located near the new entrance, in the location formerly occupied by stroller rental. [ [http://www.kansascity.com/news/local/story/658589.html Kansas City Star] , June 10, 2008] It is unknown at this time what will replace the former bear pits and valley area. Many other proposed additions to the zoo include a ski-lift/gondola ride from the World Gate, down the hill to the Nanyuki Market in Africa; an aquarium (with penguins); a new predator hill exhibit (where the former primate house is); a South America area behind the tropics building; and a Missouri Trails exhibit (which will include bears, prarie dogs, and more).It is unknown when or if these projects will be completed. City funding was cut in 2008, which slowed zoo projects down. The new entrance admission gates opened in May 2008, with an educational center and a North American river otter/trumpeter swan pool. In early 2009, the Tropics House will open behind the Sea Lion pavilion in the 1909 Building, and the polar bear exhibit will begin construction in 2009 with a projected opening of April 2010.

Completed Projects
* Discovery Barn/Peek-A-Boo Tree (2006)
* Promenade, short-cut to Africa (2006)
* Carousel Cafe (2006)
* Endangered Species Carousel (May 2007)
* New Admission Gate & Entrance (May 2008) [Kansas City Zoo Press Release, April 30, 2008] Upcoming
* Tropics House (Spring 2009) [Kansas City Zoo Press Release, January 30, 2008]
* Polar Bear (to begin construction in 2009 and open in 2010) [ [http://www.kansascity.com/news/local/story/658589.html Kansas City Star] , June 10, 2008] Future
* Penguins (unknown)
* Aquarium (unknown)
* Ski-Lift (unknown)
* South America (unknown)
* Missouri Trails (unknown)

Zoo Events & Shows

Shows and events:
* Zooper Snapshots Photo Contest
* Do The Zoo Family Get-A-Way Weekend Contest
* Bird Show: located at the Bird Show Theatre, in KidZone
* Reptile Show: located in Zooville, near the Sea Lion Pool
* Sea Lion Show: located at the Sea Lion Pool
* Lorikeet Feeding: located in KidZone, at Lorikeet cage
* Chimp Chat: located at Chimpanzee exhibit, in Tanzania (Africa)
* Elephant Demo: located in the elephant exhibit, Botswana (Africa)
* Elephant Painting: located in the elephant exhibit, Botswana (Africa)
* [http://www.kansascityzoo.org/Imax/Imax.asp?IdS=002536-427F190&x=130|010&~= Find Detailed Info Here!]


Golf Cart Tours - [http://www.kansascityzoo.org/Visit/Index.asp?IdS=0009E0-B2230C0&Reference=352&~= Info (Golf-Cart)]

Wild Safari Tours - [http://www.kansascityzoo.org/Visit/Index.asp?IdS=0009E0-B2230C0&Reference=353&~= Info (Wild-Safari)]


External links

* [http://www.kansascityzoo.org/ Official Website]
* [http://www.kansascityzoo.org/FotZ/Index.asp?IdS=00031D-94DBF60&x=110|010&~= FOTZ Info]

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