Sedgwick County Zoo vs. Tanganyika Wildlife Park
Wichita Kansas has two of the coolest zoo's my family and I have been to!
This is not a paid ad, this is just the ramblings from my own experiences!
With endangered species lists growing longer and longer and tv phenomenon like the tiger king getting so much buzz, zoo's are getting a well deserved spotlight these days. Its zoo's like the two I will be talking about in this post that warm my heart and prove that participating in their membership programs, when you can, is totally worth the money you spend and the animals you are helping.
If you are in the Wichita area or you are planning a trip to Wichita, (which I highly recommend) venturing to both of these parks is a must! Very different from each other these two parks have their own great strengths. One focuses on the amount of animals you get to see, and the other has a unique dive into certain animals allowing for up close and personal experiences.
Lets talk about Sedgwick County Zoo first! Plopped down in the north west side of Wichita, its super easy to find seeing as it has its own boulevard right off of the 235 highway. With beautiful rot iron fencing on the road with decorative iron pictures of animals you are welcomed in before you even turn into the parking lot. With ample parking, you will easily acquire a parking spot fairly close to the entrance. Nice customer service employees are standing out to greet you and help guide you to your correct line, whether its the guest ticket line or the members line. quick and easy ticketing as now you are to pre reserve your tickets online, you are in the zoo within a few minutes.
Now is where the fun begins. your first decisions of your journey kick off with a fork in the road. to venture to the main zoo animals, or to check out the American and African farm to the right which during normal operating hours has the ability to pet and feed some of the animals featured. Goats and Sheep are in two separate pens with the main barn between, and in both you can pet and feed these cute fluffy animals! The barn is where the cow and the donkeys pigs and horses reside with their indoor/outdoor pens and at the back their American Bee hive is on display. Next to the barn and the goats the chickens have their coop with a nice big window into the main coop to see chick rearing.
The African side has a large single hump camel and some wild pigs, guinea fowl, and African sheep which you can also feed with the conveniently placed quarter pellet machines. As you leave you get to pass the huge water buffalo, a favorite in our family!
Now is when you venture deeper into the zoo. A beautiful wooden bridge with a huge coy fish pond below it is where you will have to make your second big choice! Another big fork in the road will take you on your journey. Split up by region the animals are divided by where they are located. No worries though, whichever direction you choose this wonderful layout is a big loop so you will come back full circle hitting every exhibit (as long as planned for enough time). On the right you start off with the penguins and the left goes into the savannah animals and the Australian birds.
A must see for this zoo is the enormous elephant enclosure in the back and the amazing rainforest building where they have created an open space rainforest bird sanctuary full of waterfalls and plants! With so much space this incredible zoo takes up 250 acres and is home to over 3,000 animals and nearly 400 species. All geographically themed enclosure are sure to give you the vibe of these animals native homes all while never stepping foot out of Kansas. Yes Dorthy your still in Kansas! Sedgwick County Zoo is the 7th largest zoo in the United States with 3rd largest elephant habitat in the country!
Warm wintery days are one of the best times to visit this zoo as you will be basically alone and get to spend as much time viewing these amazing animals. When the zoo first opens is the best time of day to come as the animals have just been fed and moved onto exhibit and will be the most active at that time. Be sure to check the zoo's website here for hours of operation or special events the zoo may be hosting.
Now for Tanganyika Wildlife Park!
Soon after we moved to Wichita is when we visited SCZ, but every time we would be out and about we would get asked if we had made it down to Tanganyika yet? No we would always reply as we didn't even know what Tanganyika was. On further research we quickly found out that Wichita is actually home to two zoo's. The second, Tanganyika, is a privately owned park that offers 51 acres of beautiful park life. Always expanding, on our trip they were just adding the splash pad next to the playground equipment, this amazing park while smaller than Sedgwick offered a new look into Zoo Culture.
With actual animal experiences, this park offers up close encounters with some amazing animals. Getting to feed the giraffes, or the pygmy hippo is only just the beginning of what they have created here. As you walk in the first thing you get to see is the new addition habitat. A building with lots of windows is where you will get to see the babies of the two snow leopards they house.
Further in, you will get to experience Lemur Island where actual lemurs sit on your lap and eat dried cranberries out of your hand. beside that is an indoor pool enclosure where the penguins live. with an additional pass keepers help you swim with these extraordinary animals! Baby otters and Sloths are next and this is where it gets really exciting seeing as i am a huge sloth fanatic, you can actually help feed their resident sloth Chewie for an additional add-on.
Everywhere you turn there are experiences, from feeding and petting bunnies, tortoises and Lorikeets to petting and feeding alpacas and goats. You will get the opportunity of a life time with all of these animals and its not even that far from town! About 20 miles west of town a short distance off Kellogg near Goddard, this Park is a must see for any and all nature lovers!