Des Moines Iowas Blank Park Zoo

Mr. A.H. Blank was a man with a vision in 1963. What Des Moines needed was a children’s zoo. With a nursery rhyme theme, the Des Moines Children’s Zoo officially opened on May 8, 1966. On the verge of closing down in 1981, the zoo underwent some major renovations. Opening on May 17, 1986, the new and improved Blank Park Zoo was born. Now the zoo was not just for children anymore. It became a place of family enjoyment.

The Blank Park Zoo rests on 49 acres of land, with 22 acres occupied by the animal exhibits. Within those 22 acres reside over 1,000 animals from 104 different species. A great way to start your visit is a train ride through the park. What better way to get a feel for the layout than by relaxing on the zoo train?

The Discovery Center begins your adventure through the zoo. With the feel of an indoor rainforest, you are sure to see the red pandas and even a tank full of moon jellyfish. You will even pass through a cabin and a cave on your journey through the center.

If you begin your walk through the African Boardwalk, you’ll have an opportunity to feed the giraffes and watch the zebras frolic. From there, you can meander into the great cats and admire the prowess of the lions, tigers, and snow leopards.

Your children will love Kids’ Kingdom. There is a playground here and plenty of room to run off some energy. In the Kids’ Kingdom, you will find the koi feeding area. Make sure to bring plenty of quarters because this is a favorite of the children.

Round out your stroll through the park with a stop in Australian Trail. Here you are able to admire peacocks, wallabies, and emus. There are plenty of other animals to admire as you are strolling through each main area.

This is not a huge zoo by any means, but it is the perfect size for children. It is easy to circulate through and see all the animals in around two hours. There are plenty of events that are sure to capture your children’s attention. You can plan birthday parties, night safari, and zoo tots. The Blank Park Zoo is a great way to inspire a love of animals and learning all at the same time.

The zoo is open every day from 10:00am until 5:00pm. For an afternoon of non-stop fun, head down to 7401 SW 9th Street in Des Moines. The admission is only $8.00 for adults (ages 13 to 64), $4.00 for children (ages 3 to 12), $6.00 for senior citizens (ages 65 and older), and free for children 2 and under. With the zoo becoming a great afternoon outing for your family, you might consider getting a membership. Family memberships start at $79.00 and can be combined with memberships to the Living History Farms and/or the Science Center of Iowa.