Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Kansas City Zoo


    The Kansas City Zoo in Missouri, which has often been ranked as one of the best zoos in the country, is  especially noted for its kangaroos, chimpanzees, elephants, rhinos, hippos and exhibits.   

      The museum  has more than 1,300 animals  homed in the 202 acres, 1,000  of them in  naturalistic settings. A considerable number of those animals originated from Africa and Australia.   

     We arrived shortly after lunch to find the parking lots full and cars being directed to an open grass field. A young crowd was moving toward the zoo, mothers with babies in their arms, fathers pushing the strollers, and some older people were holding the hands of their grandchildren.

    The map we received at the ticket box was a little discouraging as the large park sections seemed so far apart--how would we ever cover it?   The park designers must have asked the same question, since they provided four ways besides walking around the zoo: a train ride, the Zebra Tram, a Boat Ride and African Sky Safari.

    The first train ride took us mostly through a Australian jungle where we saw varieties of kangaroos and sheep feeding, but that day we couldn't get off at the Australian station.  We did pass the llamas on our way back to the train station.

    Next we took the Zebra Tram that took us through elephant country and past the elephants watering hole where we got off in East Africa. 

    This brought us to the high point of the trip for us, the Sky Safari West.   On a ski lift like carrier we were taken over their version of the Serengeti and had an unusual view of animal life as we looked down.

Taking pictures of Serengeti animals from a sky lift was exciting

    It was somewhat  like taking a balloon trip on a real safari.  Some of the animals we saw were kudu, elands, springbok, giraffe, ostriches, and zebra.   We were able to take photos of the animals at various angles.

    The staff have such control of loading and unloading the chairs that even small children had no problems, and the handicapped lady in front of us could be lifted from her wheelchair and put safely aboard.

    Back at the East Africa station we took the hike to the West Africa section.  Getting there we passed three cheetah, and several warthogs who were acting up, including rolling in a mud bath.

    We rested in the African plains viewing area where we again saw springbok and elands.  With our energy restored we found ourselves at the long swinging bridge that took us across the blue river to West Africa.

The Sky Safari West at the Kansas City Zoo0

    Small cages of the old zoos are non-existent here but even the large screened in natural areas in this West Africa section somehow did not seem large enough for the mangabey, leopard, bongo, and crowned cranes that lived there.

     Each of the areas has information on the diet and habits of the particular animal housed there. The lowland gorillas and their baby gorilla Masika were not in view.  We did see a number of signs warning us to stay on the trail or the leopard might get us.

    We were left off back at the tram station with the feeling that we had not really seen enough of the zoo and suspect that was why so many people were here on return trips.

     It seems that on each return you could probably find something new to see.  We missed entirely the 13 Chats and Shows offered daily.  At the gate  we asked if this had been a record attendance that day and were told no.  There had been 8000 visitors that day, as many as 13,000 one recent day and they have about 700,000 annually.

     We will definitely return later for another visit so we can spend more time exploring  exhibits in the buildings, taking in some of the Chats and Shows, and by walking past more exhibits. 

Wart Hogs right after a cooling bath in their mud pit

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