We spent Thursday morning of our trip at the Kansas City Zoo. This was our second visit there over the past few year. We had looked forward to the fact that it would be much cooler in May vs our July visit years ago. This happened to be our coolest day of our trip, and had us both wishing we had thought to bring sweatshirts along with us!
The Kansas City zoo currently allows members in without a reserved ticket, but non-members must reserve tickets ahead of time. These tickets allot you a 15 minute window to enter the zoo. We picked ours as the first entry slot in the morning, but we did get them two weeks in advance as they sell out quick for non-members! I’m sure as pandemic restrictions lessen it will return to members and non-members can show up at anytime.
The Kansas City Zoo is huge and is split into different sections based on continent. We started off with some basic animals found at most zoos: polar bear, otters etc and then decided to head left into the Asia and Australia areas. While headed that way, we came across this wild pig that they had out greeting visitors at the entrance! Pretty cool to see him up close!
The Australia section is my favorite part of the Kansas City Zoo. You enter it through the Australian Bird Aviary and then walk through a series of exhibits located on the outer ring of the Kangaroo exhibit. This means that you are walking INSIDE the Kangaroo exhibit. A few years back when we visited one hopped right across the path in front of us. This year, we were not so fortunate, but they were all chilling within eyesight in the middle of the exhibit.
After exiting the Australia area through a fence, we explored some of the Asian birds, checked out the stingray exhibit, koalas, and penguin house, and then took the bridge over to Africa. This is a long bridge! We walked the whole way over, but if you want to get there a little quicker they do offer a tram to and from that area. The tram has three pickup/drop off locations. One near the main entrance, one right before the bridge to Africa near their new elephant exhibit, and one on the opposite side of the bridge in Africa.
Throughout the zoo on this visit they had arrows painted on the ground that made it easy to navigate through different areas without crossing paths with too many people (I suspect this is a pandemic precaution because I don’t recall that from our previous visit). I’d done well in following them up until Africa, at which point I didn’t see any, so we turned left to go clockwise as we had for the main zoo portion. About halfway through we were going against the arrows, so apparently we made a wrong choice (although so did the school group in front of us and several behind us, so I didn’t feel too terrible about it!)
The Africa section is actually split into two sections as well. The East Africa section is large and expansive and has a large walking path with exhibits on the outer ring and several viewpoints and overlooks looking inward toward a large savanna/plain exhibit that holds the zebras, gazelle, giraffe, rhinos, and other African birds. As you near the end of that loop, you can also take a suspension bridge further from the outer loop that leads you to a much smaller West Africa section. There you will find some unique animals to that area, including the wild pig we saw at the entrance earlier in the day. Cross the bridge again to finish out East Africa (the cheetahs were especially fun the day we visited) and then head back over the bridge once again to access the remainder of the zoo.
Currently during out visit they were just finishing out a final section of their new elephant habitat, but we could still view them further down the path away from the sections they were working on. They also are working on a brand new construction project which a little internet sleuthing proves it may be a coming aquarium? That meant following the elephants we just rounded out our visit with the Primate house and the sea lions. The primate house was also home to the very entertaining and active otters and the lovely capybara.
The Kansas City Zoo is an absolute must for anyone visiting the area, and well worth the price of admission. You can easily do it in half a day if you keep yourself moving relatively quickly like we did, or you can also easily spend the whole day (and they do let you bring in outside food!) if you really want to take time exploring each and every exhibit for a lengthier amount of time!
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