Kansas zoos

Everybody loves the zoo, and fortunately Kansas is home to a lot of wonderful ones. A trip to the zoo is very inexpensive (and in some cases free), making it the perfect spot for a family outing. Check out some of the top zoos in the state of Kansas.

Sedgewick County Zoo Elephant

Sedgewick County Zoo

The 18th largest zoo in the country, Sedgewick County Zoo is the most popular tourist attraction in the state of Kansas, garnering almost a half million visitors each year. The zoo is home to over 2,500 animals from over 500 different species. Though all the exhibits are fantastic, some of the most popular are Penguin Cove and the Downing Gorilla Forest. In addition to the animal exhibits, the zoo offers a number of educational programs for kids, including overnight stays on the zoo grounds.

Location: 5555 W. Zoo Blvd., Wichita, Kansas, 67212
Phone: 316-660-9453
Rates: Adults: $14; Kids (3 to 11): $9; Ages 2 and under: Free
Website: scz.org

Lee Richardson Zoo

Located on over 50 acres inside Finnup Park in Garden City, Kansas, Lee Richardson Zoo is a hot destination for Kansas families. The zoo is home to more than 100 species of animals, from jaguars to elephants and pandas to camels. When visiting the zoo, go early in the day — that’s when the animals are the most active. The grounds at this zoo are magnificent — perfect for a family picnic.

Location: 312 E. Finnup Drive, Garden City, Kansas, 67846
Phone: 620-276-1250
Rates: Admission is free to walk-through; $10 for a vehicle day pass to drive-through.
Website: lrzoo.com

Hutchinson Zoo

Though this is one of the smaller zoos, it is still a very fun place to take the kids. Located on about nine acres, the zoo features over 150 animals — many of which are native to Kansas. Children love to check out all the animals at the zoo, but one of the best exhibits is the prairie dog complex. Here, kids can get an up-close look at these animals through a specially designed tunnel.

Location: 6 Emerson Loop E., Hutchinson, Kansas, 67501
Phone: 620-694-2693
Rates: Admission is free.
Website: hutchgov.com

Topeka Zoo

This zoo is located within Gage Park in Topeka, Kansas. The Topeka Zoo features a wide range of animals, including mountain lions and river otters native to Kansas, as well as gorillas, orangutans, lions, tigers and bears from around the world. The children’s zoo is a popular spot for kids, where they can feed sheep, goats and other animals.

Location: 635 SW Gage Blvd., Topeka, Kansas, 66606
Phone: 785-368-9180
Rates: Adults: $6; Kids (3 to 12): $5; Ages 2 and under: Free
Website: topekazoo.org

Sunset Zoo

This zoo isn’t huge but it has plenty to offer, and it’s expanding and improving all the time. Home to over 250 animals, the Sunset Zoo is located in Manhattan, Kansas. Though the red panda, chimpanzees and tigers are always popular, kids also like the llamas, pot-bellied pigs and pygmy goats. In the summer of 2012, the zoo will be unveiling a new modern Nature Exploration Center.

Location: 2333 Oak St., Manhattan, Kansas, 66502
Phone: 785-587-2737
Rates: Adults: $4; Kids (3 to 12): $2; Ages 2 and under: Free
Website: ci.manhattan.ks.us

Image credit: Randy Watson – Flickr CC License