When it comes to trips with the family, there’s nothing better than mixing both adventure and education all in one go. This is probably one of the reasons why zoos are still very popular to this date.  For the longest time, zoos have attracted countless families annually. In the U.S., there are thousands of zoos and natural habitats to visit. If you are in the Wichita, Arkansas area, then you are in luck as you have the chance to visit one of the most biologically diverse zoos out there, the Sedgwick County Zoo. If you are looking for a place where the people are happy and the animals are happier, then you’ve come to the perfect spot.

As one of the most biologically diverse zoos in the U.S., the Sedgwick County Zoo is home to 3,000 individual animals of nearly 400 species. What makes this zoo special aside from its wide selection of animals is the fact that the management to its time to ensure that the creatures are living in comfortable conditions.

The Sedgwick County Zoo is a not-for-profit organization that has received the accreditation of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). The AZA logo is proof that an aquarium or zoo is a facility that’s dedicated to uplifting the welfare of its animals. But of course, this is just a small sample of the zoo’s excellence.

The residents of the Sedgwick County Zoo are grouped geographically so as they are thriving in natural habitats that they have been accustomed to. The exhibits include Africa, Asia, North America, South America/Australia, Children’s Farms, Tropics,  Koch Orangutan Chimpanzee Habitat, Slawson Family Tiger Trek, Downing Gorilla Forest, and Amphibians & Reptiles. Moreover, its South America/Australia habitat is the largest walk-through aviaries in the U.A.

Aside from making sure that the animals are happy, the Sedgwick County Zoo implements experiential learning into their exhibits. Each of the attractions is designed to immerse the guests into the animal’s world. This way, they are able to fully understand what it is like to live in their habitat, thus making a more empathetic learning experience more possible. One way they do this is by making some parts of the exhibit easily accessible by foot.

Because of its attention to the learning of the visitors and the welfare of the animals inside, the Sedgwick County Zoo has been recognized time and time again with national and international awards for field conservation programs. It is also recognized for its successful breeding of rare and endangered species.

You’re probably very excited to visit this zoo in Wichita, Arkansas but before you go, here are some important details you can’t afford to disregard.

Operating Hours At Sedgwick County Zoo

The Sedgwick County Zoo is open from 8:30AM-5:00PM. Aside from its overall operating hours, the Sedgwick County Zoo also follows specific programs during the day. Some of the programs include Riverbank Feeding, Afternoon Giraffe Feeding, Live Milking Demonstration and Gorilla Chat. To make the most out of your trip, make sure to check out these programs first.

It’s worth noting that the Sedgwick County Zoo always has a list of all its daily schedules on its website. If you want to make sure that your trip there is fully planned out, visit their website for a complete rundown of the programs and attractions.

Prices At Sedgwick County Zoo

Despite being one of the grandest zoos out there, the Sedgwick County Zoo is relatively cheap and that is just one of the many reasons why you should bring your family along for the ride. The prices are as follows: young children (0-2 years old) FREE, children (3-11 years old) $11.95, adults (12-61 years old) $15.95, senior citizens (62 and up) $11.95. If you are a member of the zoo, admission is free.

Membership at the Sedgwick County Zoo will cost $96 for two adults and $76 for two seniors. There are also family plans which are priced as follows: $139 for 2 adults and children/grandchildren, $159 for 2 adults and children/grandchildren plus 1 free guest per visit, $209 for 2 adults and children/grandchildren plus 2 free guests per visit. Aside from free admission, some of the benefits include:

  • Exclusive invitations to members-only sneak previews and grand openings of exhibits
  • Extra guest coupons to share
  • Discounts on event spaces at the Zoo, education classes, and other select events
  • Discounts at other zoos: 50% off gate admission at over 150 other zoos and aquariums
  • Early entrance to the Zoo, March through October
  • Annual SCZ wall calendar with all the Zoo Special Events already marked
  • Making Tracks program that allows you to earn prizes while you walk your way to health
  • A monthly e-newsletter that reminds you of upcoming programs, events, and Zoo news
  • Partnership in wildlife conservation worldwide

Best Time To Visit Sedgwick County Zoo

When it comes to its operating hours, the best time to visit would be during its opening hours. One thing that you need to consider when visiting is the parking spot. The parking area is fairly limited so it’s best to come early to find one. Of course, the earlier you arrive, the earlier you leave, which helps you avoid the rush during the closing hours.

By coming in early, you’ll also be guaranteed to explore this massive facility. It’s also a guarantee that you can participate in all of its scheduled activities for the day.

As for the season, the best time to visit would be during early summer when the heat is just about to arrive. Not only will this make your trip more pleasant, you’ll also see the animals become more active as they aren’t trying exhausted from the heat of the sun.

What’s Inside Sedgwick County Zoo

Zoos, though they usually say that they cater to families, usually have activities that are mostly focused on how kids can enjoy their visit. But Sedgwick County Zoo is different. Yes, it is kid-friendly but even adults will surely enjoy this place. And among many zoos in the world, Sedgwick County Zoo is one of the few ones that have been recognized with both national and international awards. But what makes it so award-winning and buzz-worthy like that? Here are some of the reasons that make it one of the top zoos in the US and probably in the world too.

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1Animals

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A young visitors feeding the penguins of Sedgwick County Zoo (Source)

Sedgwick County Zoo is known as a home to approximately 3,000 animals. It has also successfully bred rare and endangered species. Thus, it has already received several awards. And for that reason, it is definitely worthy of that spot in your travel itinerary as you can get to see thousands of animals.

What’s even better is that you can get closer to many of them too. And when we say “closer,” we mean you can get up close and personal with these animals including farm animals, giraffes, and birds and you can get to feed them too. In fact, as of writing, you can get to feed the animals in its riverbank at 11:30 AM. In the afternoon, you can get to feed giraffes and birds too and more.

2Tours

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Sedgwick County Zoo’s River Blue boat (Source)

At Sedgwick County Zoo, you will not just get to tour the grounds and see the animals in their habitats. The zoo also has a few more tours such as the boat and tram tours for you to fully explore the area and for a more unique experience.

For the boat tour, you will board a motorized boat at the Boat Dock. From there, you will travel under a bridge that leads to the Downing Gorilla Forest and cruise by the Elephants of the Zambezi River for approximately 30 minutes for $4.

On the other hand, the tram tour is free and, as its name suggests, it will tour you in the zoo grounds as you board a tram. Here’s where the tour gets more exciting: a friendly and knowledgeable guide will accompany you and give you facts and tips about the animals, the zoo’s history, and more pieces of information that will surely help you gain more knowledge about the place as well as the animals and their habitat.

3Habitats

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A beautiful silhouette of a giraffe at the Africa exhibit (Source)

The unique and most impressive about the Sedgwick County Zoo that also makes it deserving of its awards is that it has habitants that actually mimic the different continents in the world so animals can fully live their lives in their habitat. From North America to Asia, the zoo has every habitat that its 3,000 animals need. It also makes it for its visitors to learn more about the animals’ different habitat.

Africa

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Here, you can get to have a glimpse of Africa and enjoy unobstructed views of animals from the African savannah. You can visit the rhinoceros and view the hippopotamus too. You can also get to feed giraffes. Aside from that, you can get to see gorillas, African lions, African painted dogs, red river hogs, slender-tailed meerkats, black crowned crane, caracal lynx, eastern black rhinos, eastern black-and-white colobus, eastern bongo, eastern white pelican, Grevy’s zebras, hippopotamus, mongoose lemurs, and okapi. Sedgwick County Zoo’s African habitat also has ring-tailed lemurs, saddle-billed stork, and warthog.

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Asia

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Sedgwick County Zoo’s amur leopard at the Asian exhibit (Source)

Sedgwick County Zoo also has a habitat for its Asian animals that mimics the forests of Asia. Here, you can get to watch birds that share their home with the Malayan tapir. The exhibit also has Amur tigers along with Amur leopards, bar-headed geese, Burmese brow-antlered deer, demoiselle cranes, red pandas, red-breasted geese, red-crested pochards, ruddy shelducks, scaly-sided mergansers, and white storks.

Australia

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A Cassowary enclosed at the Australia habitat exhibit (Source)

Sedgwick County Zoo has an exhibit specially made for the animals local to the land down under. See a lively population of birds that includes the Australian shoveler, Australian wood duck, black swan, blue crowned pigeon, blue-faced honeyeater, crested pigeon, eclectus parrot, eastern rosella, emu, freckled duck, galah, and grand eclectus parrot. There is also the cute laughing kookaburra, kea, masked lapwing, pale-headed rosella, palm cockatoo, pied imperial pigeon, plumed whistling duck, and radjah shelduck. There is salmon-crested cockatoo, southern cassowary, tawny frogmouth, Victoria crowned pigeon, and straw-necked ibis as well. Aside from the birds, you can also get to see tammar wallaby and wallaroo.

North America

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Sedgwick County Zoo’s grizzly bear at the North America exhibit (Source)

Of course, Sedgwick County Zoo will not forget North America’s habitat. Here, they have American bison, American elk, American wigeon, bald eagle, black-tailed prairie dog, cinnamon teal, copperhead snake, and cougar. This exhibit also houses glossy snake, great plains rat snake, grizzly bear, hooded merganser, Mexican wolf, North American black bear and North American river otter. There is North American ruddy duck, northern pintail, prairie rattlesnake, sandhill crane, timber rattlesnake, western hognose snake, whitetailed deer, and wild turkey as well.

South America

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Sedwick County Zoo’s maned wolf at the South American exhibit (Source)

While the other exhibits house various of animals, the South America habitat that Sedgwick County Zoo is more on birds. In fact, it has approximately 150 birds of different species. It includes the argentine ruddy duck, blue-and-yellow macaw, blue-billed curassow, blue-crowned motmot, blue-headed pionus, blue-throated macaw, and blue-winged teal. It also has boat-billed heron, buffon’s macaw, chiloe wigeon, coscoroba swan, golden conure, and green aracari. Along with these birds, the South America habitat also houses green-winged macaw, guira cuckoo, hyacinth macaw, king vulture, orinoco goose, Peruvian thick-knee, puna ibis, and pun teal. In addition to that, the South America exhibit also has red shoveler, red-fronted macaw, red-legged seriema, roseate spoonbill, scarlet macaw, southern screamers, sun conure, thick-billed parrot, and umbrella cockatoo. There is white-cheeked pintail, white-faces whistling duck, wood stork, yellow-collared macaw, yellow-headed amazon, and yello-naped amazon.

Aside from the birds, it also has white-nosed coati, southern pudu, maned wolf, giant anteater, common squirrel monkey, chacoan peccary, and capybara.

4Learning Programs

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Adults learning from Sedgwick County Zoo’s experts (Source)

What’s great about the Sedgwick County Zoo is that it isn’t a mere attraction that puts animals on exhibit for entertainment. Rather, it raises awareness and educates people of all ages more about the animals and its habitat. As a matter of fact, it offers various learning programs that cater to people of all ages – not just for kids. Normally, zoos offer learning programs for children up to 12 years as well as for teenagers. But SCZ offers more even for visitors who are 55 years old and above. For younger adults, the zoo sometimes offer programs where you can learn about the wildlife around the world as you enjoy delicious food, wines, and coffee.

For senior citizens, of course, they can enjoy the zoo too. The zoo has some informational programs where they can enjoy breakfast sundries as they learn as well.

5Special Events

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A wedding ceremony held at the Sedgwick County Zoo (Source)

And again, Sedgwick County Zoo is for everyone. It can even be enjoyed in special occasions like weddings and birthdays! The zoo has beautiful function halls and gazebos where you can tie the knot and celebrate other special occasions. From an intimate celebration to a grand one, the zoo has the perfect spots for you.

Sedgwick County Zoo also has special events to celebrate other special occasions like Father’s Day, Fire Prevention, Veterans Day, and more wherein you can get to enjoy the zoo more with special presentations, freebies, and more exhibits. Check out the zoo’s calendar of events here to see what’s on so you can time your visit.

Indeed, there is a lot to love about the Sedgwick County Zoo that makes it all the more worthy of the buzz around it as well as its awards. So why not add this to your travel itinerary as you visit Kansas? We’re sure that you will love every corner of this attraction.