Kansas City Animal Adventures
Animal Encounters: Get Up-Close and Personal with These Kansas City Creatures
By Lysa Allman-Baldwin
Yes, Kansas City has a wild side. From creatures of the sea to the African plains, Missouri’s woodlands, the Australian Outback, the Kansas prairie and a great deal more, Kansas City offers a wealth of unique and exciting animal encounters that delight and inspire.
Situated on a 202-acre nature sanctuary in Swope Park, the Kansas City Zoo is an interactive, entertaining and educational adventure through diverse habitats representing the over 1,000 diverse creatures from Africa, Australia and Asia that thrive here. Attractions include an indoor rain forest, Helzberg Penguin Plaza, Polar Bear Passage, Discovery Barn, Tiger Trail exhibits, and an African Sky Safari, just to name a few.
Beyond Little House on the Prairie
Designed to depict a 1900s turn-of-the-century farm, the 12-acre Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead brings the “charm of the farm” to children and their families living in the big city. A one-room country schoolhouse, working dairy barn, historically accurate Kanza Indian village encampment, push-pedal tractor circle track, mining camp and horse-drawn hayrides are all part of the fun here. Nevertheless, one of the Farmstead’s biggest draws are the more than 200 animals including miniature horses, bison, goats, sheep, turkeys, pigs, donkeys and chickens, among others, some of which visitors can feed during their visit.
Under the Sea
SEA LIFE Kansas City Aquarium, located at Crown Center, is an amazing underwater world. Visitors here can experience and learn about the lifecycles of more than 5,000 creatures dispersed throughout the aquarium, including through an interactive rock pool experience, as well as in an underwater tunnel where Blacktip Reef Sharks, Cownose Stingrays, Clownfish and other creatures of the sea swim over your head.
Get Back to Nature
Hands-on exhibits emphasizing native Missouri wildlife and local conservation projects, coupled with meandering scenic trails, are the focus at Lakeside Nature Center, one of Missouri’s largest wildlife rehabilitation facilities. And in nearby Blue Springs at Burr Oak Woods Nature Center, visitors can enjoy family-friendly expeditions, conservation area trails, bird watching and other natural habitat oriented activities.
Located in Louisburg, approximately 20 miles south of Kansas City, Cedar Cove Feline Sanctuary & Education Center is a non-profit organization devoted to the care and preservation of endangered large exotic felines, or “big cats.” Obtained from private breeders, zoos, nature preserves and other entities, the “family” here encompasses grey wolves, leopards, Coatis (members of the raccoon family) and of course lions, in a stress-free environment designed to educate the public on their habitats, behavior and physiology, as well as to the dangers and threats of extinction.