True, Iowa is a predominantly rural state, but it should never be overlooked. Iowa is a charming, lovely, and pleasant state that is ideal for both children and adults. It features a fantastic natural environment that people will adore, complete with adventurous and magnificent State Parks, and zoos with an abundance of wildlife. Whether you want to go on a safari or stroll around a petting zoo, Iowa’s animals are ready to have fun.
Here are the best zoos in Iowa to visit with your family and friends.
Blank Park Zoo – Des Moines
Blank Park Zoo is a 49-acre zoological park located near historic Fort Des Moines on the south side of Des Moines, Iowa, United States. Blank Park Zoo is home to a variety of fascinating animals that children may learn about, explore, and enjoy. They may learn about the Aldabra Tortoise’s lifespan and get up and see the cute Golden-headed Tamarin. The suited penguins can be seen playing, while the playful Sea Lions can be heard cheering. Blank Park Zoo is also an excellent place for youngsters to learn about conservation, especially when it comes to endangered species like the Eastern Black Rhino. Animal feeding sessions, where you may hand-feed giraffes, fish, and even ostriches, are a great way for families to get a closer look at the animals.
Blank Park Zoo also hosts events throughout the year, such as Halloween and Easter festivities for the whole family, animal days, and many more.
The Sunrise Children’s Zoo – Waterloo
The Sunrise Children’s Zoo is located on the grounds of the National Cattle Congress in Waterloo, Iowa, and is home to a variety of animals from May to September. The zoo will undoubtedly delight children by interacting with friendly creatures. Cats, dogs, goats, donkeys, chickens, ducks, cats, dogs, horses, and even a handful of peacocks are among the farm animals featured at the zoo. Admission is free, although food to feed the animals can be purchased for a modest cost. The zoo also allows birthday parties to be arranged. The cats and dogs can be adopted at the end of the season.
Storybook Hill Children’s Zoo – Dubuque
The Storybook Hill Children’s Zoo was founded in 1976 in collaboration with the Optimist Clubs of Dubuque to promote the public’s knowledge and comprehension of common animals. The zoo houses a large variety of agricultural animals that a visitor of this age may encounter on a real farm. Additionally, the zoo is a great spot to host a memorable birthday celebration, a family reunion, or just a modest family picnic.
This Storybook Hill Children’s Zoo offers a once-in-a-lifetime experience of engaging with animals up close. You can pet and feed animals, such as:
- & Many more
Iowa City Zoo – Iowa
Iowa City Zoo is a nonprofit zoo in Iowa City, Iowa, located in Hickory Hill Park. It opened in 1967, following the zoo’s 1955 opening. The zoo has undergone several changes, and today, it houses over 120 types of animals in naturalistic habitats. The following are some of the animals you can observe at the main building of the zoo:
- Prairie dog
- Burrowing owl
- Komodo dragon
- Galapagos tortoise
- Goliath bird eater
- & More
Exotic Trail is another attraction of the zoo, where you may observe animals such as:
- Pygmy hippo
- Red panda
- Different types of Lemurs
- Olive baboon
There’s also a section called The Woods where you can see animals like:
- Red wolf
- American black bear
- White-tailed deer
- Great horned owl
- North American river otter
In the zoo’s east area, you can observe animals like:
- American flamingo
- Trumpeter swan
- Canada goose
- Maned wolf
Quick Tips in Visiting Zoos in Iowa
- Think about how you’ll get there. Most of the zoos are conveniently located near public transit. Some zoos have limited parking spaces, so get there early if you plan on driving.
- Find out when the best time is to go. Determine the feeding schedule, as well as the show and event timetables. Examine schedules to ensure you don’t miss out on zoo activities that your entire family can enjoy.
- Look at the weather forecast. You don’t want to go to the zoo when it’s pouring.
- Purchase tickets in advance online. This will ensure that you get your tickets and prevent situations where the zoo tickets are sold out when you arrive.
- Bring lunch, sunscreen lotions, some tissue paper, and a bottle of water.
- Wear comfortable clothes and shoes. Visiting the zoo will require a significant amount of walking and physical activity.
- Get your cameras ready.
Outside of televisions and cartoons, children enjoy seeing animals. A trip to the zoo allows them to bring their imaginations to life and form emotional connections with animals. Iowa zoos provide hands-on experience that is quite beneficial in learning about animals and their needs.
Aside from having quality time and great family bonding, you might be shocked to learn that visiting a zoo provides children with a wealth of educational possibilities. Plan your zoo journey today and pick one of the best zoos in Iowa!
Looking to explore Iowa? Here are some other great things to do in the state: