The Sedgwick County Zoo was established through volunteer efforts as they formed the Sedgwick County Zoological Society years before the zoo opened, and with their help, the zoo was eventually built, and opened in 1971 with only the American and Asian farms exhibits. Every few years new exhibits opened, and when the original director, Ronald L. Blakely retired in 1991, he was replaced by Mark C. Reed who brought with him many changes, as he improved, enhanced, and opened exhibits.
The zoo consists of different continental areas, North America, South America, Asia, Africa, and Australia, and special exhibits, such as The Downing Gorilla Forest, Pride of the Plains, Koch Orangutan Chimpanzee Exhibit, Jungle, Amphibians and Reptiles, and Children’s Farms. Each area is quite specific to the different animals there, and allows you to experience the animals just as you would in the wild, such as crossing a wooden bridge that takes you into The Downing Gorilla Forest where you can sit under a large tree amongst the gorillas, and feel like you are actually in Africa.
This zoo is all about learning and discovering. There are several classes here that are broken down by age group such as Early Childhood, Middle School, Adult, etc. They include programs such as Wee Wigglers, Ewe and Me, Adventure Seekers, and Senior Wednesdays. Schools can schedule field trips to the zoo, as there are many programs that are organized by specific grade levels.
A unique experience at Sedgwick County Zoo includes an overnight campout at the zoo. On select Fridays throughout the year, it begins at 5:30 PM, and includes dinner, games, a guided tour, flashlight tour, and bedtime snack. Before going home in the morning, campers get breakfast and a boat ride. The cost is $25 for members and $30 for non-members. The zoo also makes the perfect setting for a child’s birthday party, with the guests each receiving admission, cake, popcorn, drinks and a party favor. Prices start at $100.
From March 1st through October 31st the zoo observes summer hours from 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM. From November 1st through February 28th or 29th, the zoo observes winter hours from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Adults and children 12 and over pay $9.00 admission, senior citizens pay $7.00, children 4 through 11 pay $5.00, and children ages 3 and under are admitted for free. Most schools pay $4.00 per person with Title 1 schools paying $3.00. Groups of 20 or more pay $8.00 for adults and children 12 and over, $6.00 for senior citizens, and $4.50 for children 4-11.
Sedgwick County Zoo – Wichita Kansas