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What's New at the Zoo

Visit The Zoo> What's New at the Zoo

Thanksgiving Day 

The Zoo will be closed on Thanksgiving Day and will reopen at 9:30 a.m. on Friday, November 28. Happy Thanksgiving! 

Watch the Penguin Waddle 

 In celebration of the 1-year anniversary of Helzberg Penguin Plaza, one very special penguin will strut its stuff.  At 1 p.m. on Saturday and Sundays in November, Zoo Keepers will assist a penguin down the red carpet. Join us for the Penguin Waddle each weekend in November at 1 p.m. 

Spend Thanksgiving Weekend At The Zoo 

Bring your flock to the Zoo on Friday, November 28, Saturday, November 29 and Sunday, November 30 for a weekend of Zoo-rific fun with our feathered friends. Our penguins are getting into the "black & white Friday" spirit by wadding down the red carpet outside Helzberg Penguin Plaza at at 1 p.m. Bring your camera and take a photo with our underwater Santa inside the cold weather penguin exhibit. St. Nick will be diving with our penguins. Find out what they think of his fluffy white beard at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

FOTZ Members Bring A Guest For Free

It's "the more the merrier" for Friends of the Zoo members during the weekends following Thanksgiving and Christmas. FOTZ members are invited to bring up to four guests to receive complimentary admission on November 28, 29 &30 and December 26, 27 & 28. The Zoo is closed on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. 

Santa Dives With Penguins 

During the first three weekends in December, you can catch Santa Claus swimming with penguins. St. Nick will don a suit of another type and dive into the Helzberg Penguin Plaza's cold pool. Wonder what the penguins will think of his red suit and fluffy white beard. Join us at 1 p.m. on Dec 6, 7, 13, 14, 20 & 21 to find out. Be sure to bring your cameras; this could be quite the penguin-rific adventure!   

Meet Santa at Holiday Wild 

What better place to brave the polar-like temperatures than the Polar Bear Passage and Helzberg Penguin Plaza. Join us for Holiday Wild on Saturday, December 6 and Sunday, December 7 for festive activities that are sure to inspire your holiday spirit. From 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. the kids can write letters to Santa in the lobby and then meet the jolly ol' guy in person at the Helzberg Penguin Plaza. Be sure to bring your camera to capture those candid moments with Santa. 

FOTZ Exclusive Santa Meet & Greet

Friends of the Zoo (FOTZ) members will enjoy an exclusive breakfast snack in the Polar Bear Passage and a special meet and greet with Santa in Helzberg Penguin Plaza from 8:30 to 10 a.m on Saturday, December 6

Family Science Night-Science is Cool 

Find out what makes science cool at Family Science Night on Thursday, December 4. Enjoy an evening of ed-zoo-cational activities and mind-bending experiment from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Family Science Night is complimentary and perfect for children from Kindergarten to 12th grade. All junior scientists must have an adult with them. Family Science Night activities are in the lobby and are complimentary thanks to the R.A. Long Foundation.

Goodnight Zoo-Penguins Vs. Polar Bears 

They may live on opposites ends of the earth but they share a love of cold temperatures. Find out more similarities and differences between polar bears and penguins at Goodnight Zoo on Friday, December 5. This evening program is designed for little ones ages 3 to 5 years old.  Enjoy exploration stations, songs, educational games and activities, themed lessons, crafts, a snack, and animal encounters. You can wear your jammies and even bring your favorite stuffed animal. Each child must be accompanied by an adult! Registration is $20 per child and $5 for adults. Register today!

Two New Sea Lions Means Four Times The Splash 

Two new sea lions, Tamale and Debby, joined the two current sea lions, Sunshine and Delilah. Let the splashing begin!
All four sea lions are female. Sunshine and Delilah have been here since 2010. One of our new females, Tamale, came to us from Sea World Orlando. She weighs 94 pounds and is two years old. Our other new female is named Debby and arrived from Sea World San Antonio. She is three years old and weighs 140 pounds. Debby will easily be spotted in the pool; she is the biggest of the four. 

New Zebra Foal on Exhibit

A Grant’s zebra was born on October 2 at the Kansas City Zoo. She has brown stripes instead of black and weighed in at 80 pounds. Brown stripes are natural among newborn zebras; they will turn to black when she is between 9 and 18 months old. Within 20 minutes of birth she was walking. She her on exhibit in Africa. Best views are from the African Sky Safari. 

New Playground Is Open  

The KCZoo has opened an all new and updated playground! Children will have a brand new place to run wild and play during their Zoo adventure. Kids will be able to slide like a snake, climb like a leopard and swing like a gibbon in a habitat designed just for them! The new animal-themed playground replaces our older and much loved playground near the Discovery Barn. The old equipment was repurposed and given to some of our animals for enrichment. It appears they are loving it as much as our young Zoo guests always have!

Orangutan Canopy Is Underway

The official ground breaking of Orangutan Canopy was Wednesday, August 27 and construction on the new exhibit is underway. It will look very different from the existing one on Tiger Trail and will include a large outdoor habitat with a canopy and hillside trail that will challenge both the dexterity and intelligence of our orangutans while offering viewing of our apes like never before. 

The current indoor orangutan room will be transformed into an "Orangutan University" that will serve as a fitness studio and learning lab for our apes and our guests. We are so excited to give our Orangutans a brand new home! The Zoological District along with many donors helped to make Orangutan Canopy possible. Check back for construction updates in the coming months. The exhibit is scheduled to open in Summer of 2015

Science Adventure Club

Calling all preschoolers! Do you want to learn about science in a fun and interactive way? Science Adventure Club is just right for you! Children ages 3-5 will learn about different animal related topics each week through songs, stories, crafts, an animal encounter and a brief science lesson. Science Adventure Club meets most Wednesdays and Thursdays in the Zoo Learning Center from 11 a.m. to noon. We recommend that you pre -register as dates fill up quickly. Only $5 per child and an adult chaperone is complimentary. Learn more

When Science Attacks 

Join us for our all new homeschool class: When Science Attacks! Classes this year will explore the world of science through animals and nature for children K-8th grade. Join us twice a month from September to December to see the Zoo in a whole new way. Save 20% by signing up for the entire semester! To participate in When Science Attacks you must be a FOTZ member. If you have questions or want to register for the full semester, please call 816-595-1765. Learn more 

Try Out Tuxedo Grill 

The Tuxedo Grill is now open and serving up delicious twists on your old favorites. Located just a penguin-hop from Helzberg Penguin Plaza, the new restaurant has indoor seating for 100, outdoor seating for 200 and updated restrooms accessible from both inside and outside the restaurant.  Items are Zoo-licious and expand the Zoo's food and beverage offering for all ages and all tastes. Try them all and share with us your favorites. The Tuxedo Grill is also available for evening rentals. 

Join Randy Wisthoff to Discover the Rhine River

Join Zoo Executive Director/CEO, Randy Wisthoff on an enchanting Rhine River Cruise. Explore Europe in style including stops at several European Zoos on this 9 day trip in July 2015. If you would like more information or are interested making your Rhine River Cruise reservations, please email

Day Camps Are A Wild Time 

An adventure awaits your camper as we explore the animal world from A to Z. When the kids are out of school there is no better entertainment than our Safari Day Camps. This one day camp is fast paced and full of hands-on activities. Or spend a day with Zoo staff doing everything from cleaning exhibits to educating visitors about conservation as a Keeper For A Day for ages 7-18. Sign up today! 

Invite ZooED Into Your Clay or Jackson County Classroom 

ZooED is the Kansas City Zoo's exclusive curriculum program for 2nd grade, 4th grade, and secondary schools, incorporating science and nature into the classroom. Teachers in the Zoological District may join the program and receive year-long benefits including teaching materials, a free zoomobile, and a free field trip to the Zoo including transportation! Contact the education department for more details. 816-595-1765. 

Host Your Corporate Event At The Zoo 

Let us plan an exotic evening, memorable meeting, or purr-fect picnic for your company's next outing. Our experienced staff will help you create an event to remember. We can accommodate large and small groups. Start planning your zoo-nique event today! 

Let Us Bring The Zoo To You!

Every event is more fun with a visit from the Zoo! Book a Zoomobile for your special event, festival, or community group! Visits include educational artifacts, activities and live animals. Zoo educators and our "animal ambassadors" along with touchable artifacts, will create a one of a kind experience. Zoomobiles are perfect for all ages and can accommodate groups of up to 300 participants. Just choose your date and pick your theme, booking a Zoomobile is that easy!




Santa Dives with Penguins

Catch our underwater Santa at the following times:

November 28 at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. 

November 29 at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. 

November 30 at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. 

December 6 & 7 at 1 p.m. 

December 13 & 14 at 1 p.m. 

December 20 & 21 at 1 p.m.



Holiday Gift Guide

The Zoo is the answer for all of your holiday shopping needs.

Check out our Holiday Gift Guide. We have something wild for even the most adventurous person on your list!

Animal adoptions are a unique, fun way to help us feed and care for our more than 1,100 animals. Which animal will you adopt?