Swope Park, Kansas City
Just imagine that the Kansas City Zoo is just 80 years old! To think that it just started with one building and has now grown to over 200 acres of open land and water to present themed areas like Australia and the big cats, Asia and the gorillas, and Africa and the animals indigenous to that area.
They offer educational classes and feature an animal. They focus on education and fun and often both at the same time. In the summer they offer programs kids to where they can stay overnight in the zoo. There are several food areas and a large petting zoo for kids of all ages.
The recent renovations to the Zoo have produced a more open air safari like setting and much more natural. There is a Sprint Imax theater on property and currently The Maxtrix: Reloaded is showing. Other than the special feature films, there are other more educational films that run indefinitely. My favorite has been "The Ring of Fire". This Imax is also the only Imax theater in Kansas City. Somehow watching movies on a large screen makes a huge difference. My favorite spot is the very back and towards the middle.
Transportation and Rides:
World Express Train $2.00
Tram to and from Africa (each way) $ .50
Lake Nakuru Tour Boat $2.00
Combo Ride Package (per person)
Unlimited rides on the train, tram and boat for same day of purchase only. $4.00
Camel Ride $2.00
Pony Ride for riders under 90 lbs. $2.00
Parking is free.
Kansas City has a fine zoo. Many animals appear to roam free in open spaces. The animals they have include elephants, rhinos, hippos, lions, cheetahs, gorillas, leopards, and giraffes.
Because of its large area, it is advisable for you to avail of the zoo's transportation: tram, boat, shuttle bus, and train. Only the shuttle bus, called Chimp Express, is free.
The zoo also has an IMAX theatre. The zoo and the IMAX theatre have separate admission fees but you can pay for the two combined at a discounted price.
Kansas City Zoo is my favorite zoo. Located in Swope Park, it is easily navigable and affordable. All admission prices are under $8. In addition to numerous impressive animal displays, there are animal and train rides, shows and an IMAX theatre. The gift shop is worth a stop too- lot's of cool stuff! The main themes of the zoo are Australia, Africa and Farmland USA (replete with excellent petting zoo.) In the past few years the zoo has been undergoing extensive renovation and improvements. The sea lion shows are really fun (my daughters favorite.) The whole family was very impressed with the zoo and highly recommend it!
I'm a big champion of Kansas City, but frankly, the zoo has gone down in quality over the past several decades. There are a fair number of animals but they are far, far apart. In other words, you have to walk hundreds of feet between many of the exhibits. This has really become more of a conservation effort than a zoo. In their efforts to give the animals natural habitats, the zookeepers allow the animals to hide out of sight of visitors to the zoo. The buildings that were once an integral part of the zoo experience are still present but have been allowed to deteriorate into eyesores. Adult admission is now $9.50, and the value just isn't there.
Kansas City Zoo at 6700 zoo drive in Kansas City is great! The people of Kansas City passed a special tax a few years ago in an election. They voted to allow themselves to pay a small tax in order to raise money to renovate the zoo. In the last few years the KC Zoo has added many fine new buildings and exhibits thanks to the people of Kansas City.
It is not just cages any more. The zoo is educational and animals are in natural looking habitats. Will add a travelogue with photos of some of the animals.
Swope park and the zoo not only have beautiful animals, but indigenous and landscape plants delight all who would care to notice. Particularly on the grounds of the zoo, particular care has been taken to make the grounds attractive and functional. Previoulsy the zoo had a reputation as a bit of concrete jungle, but now it is beautifully landscaped.