#54 – Kansas City Zoo
6800 Zoo Dr, Kansas City, MO 64132
Features: Gift shop, multiple concession stands, carousel, playground and learning center.
Good for: Seeing adorable animals and meeting your daily steps goal by noon.
Tip: If you live in Jackson or Clay County, show your ID for a ticket discount.
The Kansas City Zoo is a 202-acre complex located in Swope Park near the Starlight Theater. With more than 1,300 animals from penguins to pythons, everyone can find their favorite animal at the Kansas City Zoo.
History of the Kansas City Zoo
Thomas Swope, a major Kansas City real estate owner, donated the land for the zoo in 1896. It opened 13 years later with four lions, three monkeys, a wolf, fox, coyote, badger, lynx and birds.
Over the past 100 years, the zoo has grown to the 202-acre nature sanctuary it is today. Major projects throughout the years have added a Discovery Barn, Polar Bear Passage, Orangutan Canopy, transportation, restaurants and more.
About the Kansas City Zoo
Growing up in the Midwest, the Omaha Zoo gets a lot of praise and hype. With Omaha’s close proximity to Kansas City, I wasn’t expecting a lot from the Kansas City Zoo. But after our trip, I was so surprised. The Kansas City Zoo is great (and seriously SO big)!
There is free parking and residents of the surrounding counties get half price tickets. Without a discount, adult tickets cost $14.50 and child tickets cost $11.50, so it’s still not terrible. The Kansas City Zoo also offers transportation tickets. For $10 more, you get unlimited access to the zoo’s train, tram, sky glide, carousel and boats. It’s a surprisingly large zoo, so I’d recommend the pass, especially with kiddos.
We didn’t get the pass because we weren’t planning on going to the Africa exhibit, which is quite a walk from the main area of the zoo. Despite staying in the main area and visiting in mid-December, there was a lot to see. Most animals were out and about, and while we were there, the zookeepers took the penguins on a march around their enclosure.
We spent about three hours at the zoo, but you could easily fill a whole day. My favorite part was the Orangutan Exhibit – there was a baby! Ape expert, Jane Goodall, has even complimented the zoo, saying it’s “one of the finest chimpanzee exhibits in North America.” I also loved the Penguin Exhibit and the Elephant Walkway.
The Kansas City Zoo is also in the midst of building a Sting Ray and Shark exhibit, where visitors will be able to touch the fish.
Keeping up with the recent trend of animal cams, The Kansas City Zoo website features live footage of their penguins, orangutans and polar bears. So check those out if you can’t make it to the zoo soon. Xx, Libbie.